Israel Forever

For the week ending 4 June 2005 / 26 Iyyar 5765

Counting the Survivors

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

With all due credit to those who erect memorials to the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and who try to educate the world regarding the dangers of anti-Semitism which can cause such a tragedy, perhaps not enough attention is being paid to those who survived.

In his opening commentary on the Torah portion which will be read this week in the synagogue, Rashi calls attention to the three times when G-d counted His people. The first was when they left Egyptian bondage and were about to receive the Torah. After the sin of the Golden Calf the Torah mentions the number who died because of that betrayal in order to know how many survived. The third counting was the one mentioned here at the beginning of the fourth of the five chumashim (books) of the Torah and which took place when G-d caused His Presence to rest in the Mishkan which His is people had built.Guas O\oeippeople had built.

The lesson which emerges from this sequence of counting is that the purpose of survival is to function as a people who long for the Divine Presence to dwell within their community. This cannot be accomplished by a society which does not respect Jewish tradition and whose highest secular court issues judgments which make a mockery of how one can become a Jew and benefit from the privileges offered by the Jewish State.

This State, which is a living refutation of Hitlers "final solution", can only pay true honor to that evil mans victims by assuring that we, the survivors, create a society in which the Divine Presence is welcome. Only thus can we see Israel as the symbol of Jewish survival forever.

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