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Thursday, Nissan 27, 5778 / April 12, 2018


Today has been designated as Yom HaShoa - Holocaust Remembrance Day. Jews all over the world remember their 6,000,000 brothers and sisters, men, women and children, who were brutally murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators just over seventy years ago.


At the Pesach Seder, which we celebrated last week, we raised our cup of wine and recited the "Vehi She’amda" in which we are reminded that, "in every generation there are those who want to annihilate us, but G-d saves us from their hands."


“Yom HaShoah” carries even greater significance today as our brethren in Israel have to deal with their Arab neighbors who want to annihilate them, G-d forbid.


We pray that G-d grant victory to the soldiers of the I.D.F. who are risking their lives on the front lines of battle.  May G-d protect them, their families and all who live in Israel.


One of the survivors of the Holocaust was Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Halbershtam, of blessed memory. His wife and 11 children were murdered in the Holocaust. He miraculasly survived the labor camps and later settled in Israel, where he established the Kloizenberg Chassidic dynesty. He built the Laniado Hospital in Netaneya.


Yet, during all his time in the camps and after losing his entire family, he never lost hope. He would encourage other Jews not to lose hope, for the day will come when they will be liberated.


One time after one of the SS Nazis beat him mercilessly, another inmate asked him, “Rabbi, are you still going to be saying that you belong to the chosen people?”


“Yes. I will say it with more fervent and meaning,” replied the rabbi. “I will be thanking G-d for choosing me to be a Jew.. and not a murderer, a barbaric, cruel and inhumane, Nazi!”


Q.  What is the significance of the Kaddish, which we recite after those who passed away?


A.  The "Kaddish" in which we praise, glorify and sanctify G-d's name, serves two functions: It benefits the soul of the deceased to rest in peace in Gan Eden. It also shows that the mourners accept G-d's judgment and proclaim His justice. This, too, benefits the soul of the deceased.


Q.  Why is the Kaddish recited in Aramaic, not in Hebrew?


A.  At the time the Kaddish was introduced the majority of the people spoke Aramaic and didn't understand Hebrew. In order that everyone in the congregation will understand the meaning of these words, it was established in Aramaic.


Our greatest tribute to the victims of the “Shoah” is doing whatever we can to assure Jewish survival and continuity - physically and spiritually. May we merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days. Amen.