Newsletter Article - 11/23 -- Posted by hazzanmenes
November is a month to remember and honor those who have died. On November 9th and 10th we remember Kristallnacht. On November 13th we remember the heroes of WWI. On November 28th we remember those at Louis Brier and Weinberg Residence who died this last year. Memory is important in Judaism, and it is particularly difficult at Louis Brier.
The phrase, "Never Forget," has been the rallying cry for those who survived the Holocaust. What does that mean? In the Torah, we are told not to simply remember the Sabbath, but to keep it (Zachor v'shamor). Remembering is not enough. That is what we learn today as Jews around the world must once again proclaim that we will not go away, we cannot be swept into the sea, we will survive and thrive. Remembering means keeping something alive. Will we only remember Louis Brier Home and Hospital, or will we do something to keep it alive?
This week we read Vayeira, a parasha filled with lessons and ethical conduct. In this parasha, God tells Sarah she will have a child, and she gives birth to Isaac. That passage begins, Adonai pakad et Sarah, usually translated as God remembered Sarah.... - but the word pakad is used, not zachor. God didn't only remember, he/she acknowledged, noted, recorded her. It was an active remembrance. This was the first act of keeping the people alive, it was the first act of survival and succession.
I often talk about Israel, in my services or in my orientation programs, as a spiritual place. I say that it has always existed whether we lived there and whether we governed the area. It has always been in our hearts as a cornerstone of the religion. But there is a time when the spiritual must coalesce with the physical. Just as people cannot exist as purely spiritual entities, so Israel must exist as reality. Israel is more than an idea. Am Yisrael is more than a hope, more than something to remember. Once again, Jews and Judaism are under attack around the world. The Holocaust is not only something to remember, it is a reality that we must actively prevent. And, because Louis Brier is a Jewish facility, we are all involved in that imperative.
This November, I challenge each of us to meld the spiritual and the physical. This month. this year - let us not only remember those who have died, but let us do something about ensuring that their deaths have meant something, that the memory of their deaths propels us to keep this Jewish Home for the Aged alive.
Adonai oz l'amo yitein
Adonai y'vareich et amo bashalom