It pains me to write the following, but due to the present situation in Eretz Yisroel, it is incumbent to make this message public at this time.
Our gedolim have reiterated that we must continue to daven and do teshuvah, but one avenue remains to be addressed.
Almost seventy years have passed since the Holocaust ended in 1945. Our gedolim have told us that we cannot understand Hashem’s ways and why more than 6 million Jews died al kiddush Hashem. We have to accept this with true emunah and believe that, ultimately, it was
for our good.
However, we can still ask the following question: What lessons can be learned from the Holocaust and how can we transmit these lessons to future generations?”
When we look at the stories in Nach, especially in the Neviim Rishonim, we find that when the Bnei Yisroel sinned, Hashem brought an enemy to attack. The Jewish response would always be to cry out to Hashem, so that Hashem would bring them a yeshuah. When King Sancheirev besieged Yerushalayim with 185,000 thousand troops, the Yidden woke up
the next morning to find that all the troops had died. This happened because King Chezkial cried out to Hashem and made all the Yidden do teshuvah.
The Yidden never said, “Never again.” They realized that the reason Hashem brought the enemy to inflict harm on them was to wake them up to their duty to serve Hashem properly and follow the Torah’s ways. In other words, the Yidden themselves had to change in order to
prevent more calamities from happening.
Unfortunately, today, when the Jew says, “Never again,” he stays the same and doesn’t feel the need to change. We are not utilizing the lessons from Nach.
So what lesson can we learn from the Holocaust?
Rav Moshe Wolfson stated, “The leader in Iran says clearly that he wants to kill every Jew in the world like Haman wanted to, and if he will be successful in getting a nuclear bomb, it will be a great danger to Klal Yisroel.”
Clearly, we haven’t learned from our own history how to correct our mistakes. If this were not the case, the current danger would not be happening.
So what teshuvah do we need to do to prevent this catastrophe?
I propose that if we work on the following as a community, Moshiach will come and peace will prevail.
In a word, it is simcha. What do I mean by this? We must serve Hashem with simcha, teaching our precious children besimcha. In Parshas Terumah (26:13), Rashi comments on the fact that the yerios draped down until they covered the silver adanim. Rashi quotes Chazal, who say that “the Torah is teaching us derech eretz that a person should care for and protect (chas) that which is beautiful and precious.” What could be more beautiful and precious than our own children?
Due to lack of simcha, in and out of the classroom, children drop out of school and
out of Yiddishkeit. Whenever a child gets thrown out of school, there is a kitrug in Shomayim.
My rebbi, Rav Matisyahu Salomon, said, “Many of the children whom we call ‘drop outs’ have not become like that because they have a bigger yeitzer hara than other people, but because they feel less cared for than other people. Those children who fall through the cracks of our educational system have, very often, lost out on those fundamental skills that they should have acquired earlier in life. If we could only give them a little more care, a little extra understanding or a little more help, an invaluable chizuk can be achieved, giving these people a feeling of self-esteem. Instead of, chas veshalom, dropping out altogether, they will now want to achieve and stay within the fold, carrying on to reach high madreigos, which otherwise they would never have dreamt of.”
Never again should a student be expelled from any Jewish institution.
Never again should a student be refused to any Jewish institution they wish to attend.
Never again should a student say, “I hate Torah,” because of their school experience.
I fully believe that once we have taking full responsibility for our actions regarding the above situations, it will be a tremendous zechus for us all and will bring Moshiach, bimeheriah beyomeinu.
Rabbi Dovid Abenson