Day of Remembrance

Today is the day on which the Holocaust is remembered. For those who are Jewish by birth, as I am, it is an important and very personal reminder that our very lives may be taken away by modern-day Amaleks. From the address given by Israel’s President Moshe Katsav:

The horrifying events of the Holocaust, and the acts of mass murder were a part of everyday life. In a reality were Jews where being gassed and cremated, shot to death and starved, frozen to death and buried alive, many of them managed to rise above the basic human survival instinct, and did not lose their human spirit, despite the inherent dangers. They drew strength from their Jewish faith, from their Jewish history, from the voice of their conscience – these gave them the power to overcome the dangers and humiliation.

It is clear to me that the strength shown by my people during the Holocaust was a clear gift from God. Many might say, “what strength?” Jews went to their deaths, for the most part, without resistance. True enough. But strength is not always shown by physical force. During the Holocaust, strength, from God, was manifested in the form of character, in love of neighbor. Again from President Katsav:

many of them managed to rise above the basic human survival instinct, and did not lose their human spirit, despite the inherent dangers. They drew strength from their Jewish faith, from their Jewish history, from the voice of their conscience – these gave them the power to overcome the dangers and humiliation.

Unanswered is the great question: What was God’s purpose in allowing 6 million of His chosen people to die? What eternal purpose could be served by this tragedy?

I don’t know the answer; I can only guess. As a Reformed Christian by belief, I am reasonably certain that the Holocaust wasn’t some sort of payback for the betrayal of Jesus Christ. God does not deal in worldly revenge, for starters. His judgments will be carried out at the end of time. More importantly, all of Jesus’ disciples were Jews, as was Jesus Himself.

Further, Jesus died for all of us sinners. Romans. Jews. Greeks. All. As Paul reminds us in Romans 3:10, “None is righteous, no, not one.”

_____
Deuteronomy 25:

17″Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19Therefore when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.

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