Rav Avigdor Miller on Why He didn’t Observe Yom Hashoah


Q: Can you explain to me why some some synagogues do not observe the Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) observance for the Holocaust victims?

A: I certainly will be happy to explain it. If the gedolei Yisroel, the great Torah leaders, will come together and declare a certain day for a certain purpose, then we are certainly, bli neder, going to do so. But if atheists get together and decree a day of observance, so the only way to treat that is to ignore it completely. Any synagogue that makes a Yom Hashoah observance is a synagogue of fools. And there are no exceptions! Any synagogue that is going to celebrate the Holocaust Memorial Day, a day that was founded by atheists, is a place of fools. Bareheaded men who don’t believe in Hakodosh Boruch Hu, people who eat tarfus; reform rabbis, and leaders of the State of Israel who are atheists – I’m not talking about Begin, but others before him who started it – people who don’t believe in a Borei Olam, and they get together and they decree a certain holiday, either a festival or a day of mourning, there is no question that any Jew with any guts has to fight back and see to it that it’s not observed. When it comes to making laws for the Jewish people, we observe only the edict of the Torah leaders, not the edicts of Reform rabbis.

I’m going to quote to you what Balfour Brickner, a famous reform rabbi said a few weeks ago. Somebody asked him: If a reform rabbi become involved in Jews for J, should he be expelled from the rabbinate? So he said, “Where are we going to start? There are reform rabbis who are homosexuals, reform rabbis who are atheists and agnostics. So where are we going to start and where are we going to end?” What that means is that they would have to expel all the reform rabbis.

So if such low characters are proclaiming a day of mourning – and there are homosexual reform rabbis, no question about it. If Balfour Brickner says it publicly, then you can believe him. And it’s not just ten or fifteen of them! And therefore, if these perverts get together and declare a Yom Hashoah, so somebody is going to ask me: Rabbi Miller, why don’t you observe it?!

TAPE # 215 (April 1978)

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  1. I love Rabbi Millers speeches but…

    No matter how low these people are who started it but if we are fighting it just for the principle of it then its also wrong.
    How many Orthodox Rabbis came up with such an idea? Dont they agree that its a good idea? So why are they acting like back seat drivers?

    The point is not to blame one side or the other side the point is to have achdus and to find 1 thing to agree on. I dont think we’ll agree about any halacha but how about remembering the holocaust?
    Is that too much to ask to just ignore the differences for 1 day a year and to focus on what unites us not what separates us???

    • Unless you are on the level of Rav Miller ZTL how dare you say what you said. Your comment is horrific. Of course we love every Yid and of course we remember the Kedoshim of the Shoah and of course we have Achdus. That is NOT the point here at all.

      Rabbi Miller is sharing with us the Torah approach to participating in celebrating as a Klal things not established by our Chachomim – or in this case even worse – things established by atheists.

      I love every yid – reform, conservative or orthodox. As a Yid I love them but I would never ever agree to their methodology. I absolutely disagree with them and will fight everything they stand for but its not personal. As a person I love them and hope to show them the true light.

      We don’t designate 1 day a year for thanksgiving, we give thanks every day of the year.
      We don’t remember the Holocaust Kedoshim 1 day a year we remember them everyday
      We say Yizkor for them, we say Kaddish for them, we make yartzeit Siyumim and Seudos for them all the time.
      Simply put, we do NOT participate in things established by people who are not mameenim bnei mameenim

      • the commenter is on a higher level than r’ Miller.

        Especially if R’ Miller actuallly said the silly comments attributed to him

    • Who said you cant remember the holocaust? Do we need a Jewish ” mothers fathers day” to remember our parents?

  2. i learned much from the rav zatzl . most of rav miller teachings were universal concepts accepted in sifrei machshovoh the rav was a ” goan in pshat” .however specifically in regards to the holocaust most gedolim did not share this pshat or at least chose not to discuss this most painful topic in these terms. ask yourself did you ever hear any gedolim of the previous dor speak about the hashgacha..elyona and the kashkavta derachmana, i think not at all or very rarely they chose a derech of shtika yafeh & not to be mekatreg chas veshalom

  3. I once saw a “not so charadi” newspaper which published a book question and answer from Rabbi Miller. It was about the length of time someone should learn in kollel, and finding a parnasa. I understood immediately why this newspaper was so eager to print it. At that point I thought to myself, would they print Rabbi Miller’s views on Zionism and Yom Hashoah?! Of course not! We can not pick and choose, cut and paste, and “shtup” our Gedolim’s views into our agenda. Rabbi Miller was a person who lived his life with total consistency, and to only respect some of his views and not others- is just not Rabbi Miller; It’s totally inappropriate to use him as the “das Torah” of our views, it is an all or nothing.

  4. Opinion & Comment
    Gedolei Yisroel on Holocaust Day — Yom Hashoa
    by Yated Ne’eman Staff
    The Chazon Ish wrote a letter on this subject as follows: “Halocho matters are established by the Torah, the main part of which is the Written Torah and its commentary, the Oral Torah. Even a novi is not allowed to establish a new interpretation without finding support in the Torah to do so, and as much as a deficit is an aberration from the Torah, so too is an addition to the mitzvos of the Torah an aberration.

    “Based on this, one must consult a scholar [i.e. it is an halachic sheilah — Ed.] on whether or not we are obligated to keep seven days of mourning for the dreadful calamities that we have undergone [referring to the terrible events known as the Holocaust — Ed.]. If we are obligated, then there is no need for any haskomos. If we are free of obligation, then we are already warned to hold by this exemption because the Torah has freed us of any obligation. Velishmo’a mizevach tov (obedience is more precious to Hashem than any sacrifice).

    “So the proposal to come in, establish and implement, decree and fulfill is as if treating lightly (hakolas rosh) chas vecholiloh, the foundation of the halochoh must be wiped off the agenda before it is even brought up.

    “In fact, the establishment of a fast for generations is in the category of a mitzvah derabbonon. Whatever [fasts — Ed.] we have today derive from the time when prophecy still existed. So how can we, this generation, for whom silence is the best policy, be so insolent as to even consider establishing matters for generations? Does not the suggestion itself prove that we are denying the fact of our sins and our low state, at a time when we are soiled with sins and transgressions, impoverished, empty of Torah, and stripped of mitzvos? Let us not overreach ourselves. We should rather search our ways and do teshuvoh. This is our obligation, as it is said, `Is this not a fast . . . etc.’ (Yeshayohu 58:6) Sincerely, A. Y. S.”

    HaRav Y. Z. Soloveitchik (the Brisker Rov) was also consulted on this subject. A delegation of rabbis came to his home with the proposal to establish a fast to mark the events of the Holocaust. The Brisker Rov instantly expressed his total objection, basing it on what is said during the kinnos of Tisha B’Av. He referred those present to a kinnah compiled following the Crusades in the year 4856 (1096) (beginning “Mi yitein roshi mayim . . . “):

    “Take to your hearts now a bitter mourning to bind it, put on mourning and soil with dust, since their slaughter is equivalent to the burning of the House of our G-d, the Ulam and the Biroh, for no moed for the destruction or conflagration may be added, nor may we move up mourning but should postpone it. In place of that today, my cry of woe. I will awaken myself. I will mourn, and I will bitterly lament.”

    Rabbi Tzvi Weinman added that HaRav Eliashiv, in his letter of response to the Admor of Calev (the letter was brought down in the Kovetz Teshuvos, 18, “To the Admor of Calev”), relied for his ruling on the Chazon Ish’s letter.

    The Admor of Calev, who was saved through chasdei Shomayim from the horrors of the Holocaust, proposed that: “The whole Jewish people should accept upon themselves the yoke of Heaven by saying the pesukim pertaining to ol malchus Shomayim, namely Shema Yisroel, every day after the tefilloh of Oleinu leshabei’ach, and they should have the kavonoh to unite themselves (lehisyacheid) with the six million martyrs who were sacrificed in the years of the Holocaust, may the L-rd avenge their blood!”

    HaRav Eliashiv answered him in a letter dated the 13th of Sivan, 5745, 40 years after the teshuvoh of the Chazon Ish, as follows, showing that the principle of the Chazon Ish has remained the same to this very day:

    “To Kvod Toroso, Honorable Rov, who has seen affliction and cannot find tranquility for he is unable to forget the evil that the cursed wicked ones yemach shemom perpetrated, nor can he take his mind off the blood of the martyrs which cries out from the ground. The Honorable Rov has entreated me to give an opinion on the matter.

    “Now we see that when the subject came up, following the Holocaust, of establishing a public fast for generations for the destruction of the Jewish people, the Chazon Ish vehemently opposed it, saying that our generation, a generation for which silence is the best policy, is not worthy of establishing matters for generations. As for the notion of `being united with the martyrs’ (lehisyacheid im hakedoshim) — I know no source for this in Chazal.

    “In my opinion, it is preferable to strengthen what is already being done by the people of Israel after davening: to learn mishnayos for the illui neshomos of those martyrs who left behind them no children or descendants who could raise up their memory (before the Master of All). May the Master of Mercy shelter them in the shelter of His wings for eternity and bring retribution upon His foes and avenge their blood.”


  5. Most gedolim viewed the Holocaust as one more part of our history of Galus away from the Shechinah. Thus, the Jewish day of mourning for it is Tisha Ba’av. Some even composed Kinnos for it. The declaration of a sepaarte Yom HaShoah is primarily for those who have deliberately severed themselves from our nation’s story. The joke goes: Little David askd his Hbrew School teacher “Were there any Jews before the Holocaust?” It is thus important to realize that Rav Miller and other Gedolim had much more sensitivity to Klal Yisroel than the atheists who have their own political goals in mind by focusing only on this great trouble of ours

  6. Thanjk you MATZAV for posting true DAAS TORAH (after yesterday posting the ANTI DAAS TORAH)
    To the comment that we should all get together BACHDUS one day a year the answer is that we do already on Tisha bav and that has been the MINHAG IN KLAL YOSROEL from the MERAGLIM to the CHRBANOS, CRUSADES, COSSACKS, AND THROUGH THE holocaust, where the GEDOLIM of the last generation wrote KINNOS for Tisha bav, we do not make new days of mourning and definitely not in nissan where it is assur al pi halacha to do any form of hesped.
    To the mistaken commentator who said that the Gedolim did not agree with Rabbi Miller that is WRONG. That argument was in terms of if our reaction to How could Hashen do this is A We don’t knoew the ways of Hashem or B The Torah tells ud that when the nation is going in a very bad direction Hashem brings Churban, However there were never any Gedolim that advocated making a made uop day for “HOLOCAUST REMEMBERANCE” in the middle of Nissan.

  7. Orthodox Jews don’t commemorate Yom Hashoah merely once a year, actually they commemorate it nearly every Shabbos in Shul with a special prayer – Av Harachamim – right before Ashrei of the Mussaf Shabbos Tefillah.
    May I suggest that you pay more attention to this special Tefillah?

  8. The obvious issue is, why didn’t the gedolim agree on a commemoration. Sure, Tisha ba’av is good enough, but the holocaust wasn’t just another pogrom. I think the answer is that the holocaust was such a pirtzah against emunah that they decided it’s best to just not talk about it at all. As the Chazon Ish, and Eliahu haNavi, and many others, said, after the Holocaust, a kofer b’ikar has a pischon peh. For apikorsim, that’s not a problem, since they feel that the Holocaust should remind us to take our fate into our own hands.

  9. I respect the readership of Matzav.com, and therefore am taking the time to respond.
    Rather than go into detail, I refer the Matzav readership to “A Path Through the Ashes”, a compendium of articles first published in The Jewish Observer. It is still available through ArtScroll/Mesorah.
    The articles found there are all written under the leadership and guidance of Da’as Torah.
    Some of the authors include Rav Hutner, Rav Yaakov, Rav Gifter, Zichronom Tzaddikim L’vrocho, and YBDL”CH the Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Nosson Scherman, and Rabbi Feitman.
    If someone TRULY wants to understand, to the best of our abilities, this book is the address.
    We can’t just decide, on our own, by what we think is right.
    I remember my late father-in-law, Reb Yosef Friedenson, one who suffered thru 6 “universities of Nazi atrocity”, lamenting those secularists who made the Holocaust into their religion, while abandoning everything else.
    The original wording for Yom Hashoah also had the words V’lGevurah; thus they were extolling those who fought, physically, and ignored the millions who fought, spiritually.
    Additionally, the day was chosen because of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, at a time in Nisan that prohibits Hespedim.
    Our Gedolim have told us that Tisha B’Av is the day we take note of the 6,000,000 Kedoshim.
    Yes, I would stand still when the sirens wail; it is not for us to cause animosity…but we should understand the truth.
    Hoping and awaiting for the true Redemption,

  10. Let’s get something very clear these people come up with these great ideas and if you don’t agree with him the furious buffet will eat on passover what is totally prohibited And we should keep quiet The only rules that seem to matter are the ones they come up with

  11. Rabbi Miller, ztzl is reasonable. Does Hashem miss our kiss? Get in and daven.

    You might as well hear daily the memorial for any martyr. With the holocaust how could you select a day of remembrance? The murders were every day of the year.

    Rewarding to hear about tarfus. Maybe the word works better than saying treif. The treif eaters can frankly harden their blood hate day. We are not half breed animals. They fit no grade to remember the fallen when thank hits dreaming hate.

    A dead war.

  12. We observe a day for the “Holocaust” but we do it on a day set aside for mourning…. TISHA B’AV!


  14. I just love these comments above …. just this shabbos the “Baal Korah” in shul read …. ואהבת לרעך כמך
    If Jews who are not yet frum, want to celebrate “Yom Ha”shoah” then Kol Ha’Kovod … maybe this is a way to be Me’kareiv them ..
    R’ Yechiel Weinberg who himself had survived the horrors of the Holocaust, actually defends the establishment of Yom HasShoah in a preface to one his teshuvois (Seridei Eish, new edition 1:31) he writes:
    “In my opinion it is proper to establish a special day of mourning & rememberence to remember the rabbis and Kedoshei Yisrael who were murdered, butchered, and burned Al Kiddush Hashem, and to remember on this day the souls of these Kedoshim. We must do so not just because of the honor due these Kedoshim alone, but because of future generations that they not forget what our people lost when the evil, murderous darkness covered over Europe”

    Another reason to establish a special day is that there are now frum Jews and a popular “Rabbi” who is a Holocaust denier …and even though he supposedly apologized … he never recanted and continues to this day to say that the number 6 million Jews is not true, since a lot of the murdered were assimilated……
    For this reason alone we need that day ….

    And as a child of survivors …. Rabbi Avigdar Miller is not one to quote when talking about the Holocaust, most survivors thought that because he was in America while his brothers and sisters were getting slaughtered like sheep, his prospective wasn’t correct and one should not forget that R’ Avigdar Miller was the one who translated into English the ads against the State of Israel in the New York Times etc …

    • Are you serious or are you dripping with sarcasm? Either way, you’re playing with fire. Yesh din viyesh dayan

  15. the zionist picked a day in the month of nissan which we are not supposed to mourn because it is a week before yom haatzmout as if a week of shiva and then the state which defies torah like the rav said. if someone is looking for a day there is tisha bav which gedolim made kinus or 10th of teves which some rabbis designated


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