Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Is Yom HaShoah on the Wrong Day?

Is Yom HaShoah observed on an inappropriate day?

In the previous post, I explained the mistake in the charedi position that saying Tehillim, rather than standing in silence, is a more traditionally Jewish way of commemorating the dead. In a future post, I will explain the fundamental reason why charedim do not participate in Yom HaShoah. In this post, I want to address a particular objection, voiced by charedi leadership, to the day picked to commemorate the Shoah. It is an objection with a certain degree of merit.

There are a number of possible days to commemorate the Holocaust, which fall into several categories. One could choose a day which denotes the beginning of the Holocaust. This itself is open to a range of possibilities. In a course on Holocaust Studies that I took at Bar-Ilan, by Dr. Judy Baumel-Schwartz, she noted that historians dispute the date that should be said to begin the Holocaust - the rise of the Nazi Party in 1920, the German elections in July 1932, the election of Hitler as chancellor in January 1933, the passing of the Nuremberg laws in 1935, Kristallnacht and the accompanying race laws in November 1938, the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the launch of the Final Solution in 1941, or the Wannsee Conference of 1942.

Another option is to choose a date of religious significance. The first Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel was on Asarah B'Tevet 1949, following a decision by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that it should be observed on a traditional day of mourning in the Jewish calendar. Others commemorate it on Tisha B'Av, when they add extra Kinnot.

When the Knesset decided in 1951 to establish a day to commemorate the Holocaust, however, they decided to choose a very different type of day: One relating to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This began on the 14th of Nissan, but this date was rejected since it would be impractical to observe Yom HaShoah on erev Pesach. So instead, they picked the date of the end of the uprising, the 27th of Nissan.

Why did the Knesset choose a day relating to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising? This relates to the full name of Yom HaShoah: Yom Hazikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah, "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day." It is a day of commemorating not only the tragedy of those who died, but also the heroism of those who fought back. The incredible events of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when the few drove out the many, were a psychological victory, demonstrating that Jews could be fighters and heroes.

Herein lies the problem, as articulated well by several authors in A Path Through the Ashes: Penetrating Analyses and Inspiring Stories of the Holocaust from a Torah Perspective, Collected from the Pages of the Jewish Observer (ArtScroll 1986). Defining the day in terms of the heroes, and designating the heroes as those who physically fought back, fits well with the Zionist ethos. However, it can also be seen as deeply offensive. Those who went to their deaths "like sheep to the slaughter" should not be criticized in any way. As Auschwitz survivor Joseph Friedenson wrote,
My late father, Reb Eliezer Gershon Friedenson, who gave away his last morsel of bread to the weeping children of the ghetto, was no less a hero for not having ever shot a gun... And what of the thousands of young men and women who did not part with their elderly fathers or mothers, although they could have saved themselves, and accompanied them right into the gas-chambers? And those who sacrificed themselves in order that others should live? They were all heroes. Yes, we find this new segregation of heroism at the commemoration reprehensible to our whole hashkafah, philosophy, on the Holocaust.

In my humble opinion, this objection to the date chosen for Yom HaShoah has much merit.

So why do I believe in observing Yom HaShoah on the 27th of Nissan?

Because if you define yourself as part of a group, then you should be open to compromise for the sake of achdus. Consider the response of one of the leading halachic authorities of the 18th century, R. Yaakov Reischer, when he was asked about a move to reject the kosher status of meat that was slaughtered in outlying villages by Jews that were insufficiently learned or pious. R. Reischer strongly condemned this approach (Shevut Yaakov II:58). He argued that the Jewish community must be united and not splinter into groups with different standards. And this was for a halachic matter!

The fact is that Friedenson himself notes that in 1975, he requested of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah to define a way of commemorating the Holocaust, and that while they agreed that this must be done, it never happened. Meanwhile, the Government of Israel, and the majority of the population of Israel, selected the 27th of Nissan. And so whatever inappropriate subtle messages are contained in the selection of that date (and to be honest, the "VeHaGevurah" part of Yom HaShoah is rarely even mentioned, let alone dwelt upon), the fact is that this is the date which the nation has picked.

The choice of which day to designate for Yom HaShoah was perhaps inappropriate. But the day on which it is appropriate to commemorate the Holocaust is the day that now exists for this purpose.

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים, הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה עַל כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה, בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וטְהוֹרִים כְּזוֹהַר הָרָקִיע מַזְהִירִים אֶת כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת שֶׁל שֵׁשֶׁת מִילְיוֹנֵי הַיְּהוּדִים, חַלְלֵי הַשּׁוֹאָה בְּאֵירוֹפָּה, שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ, שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטוּ, שֶׁנִּשְׂרְפוּ וְשֶׁנִּסְפּוּ עַל קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵׁם, בִּידֵי הַמְרַצְּחִים הַגֶּרְמָנִים הָנַאצִים וְעוֹזְרֵיהֶם מִשְּׁאָר הֶעַמִּים. לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים, וְיִצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם, ה' הוּא נַחֲלָתָם, בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְּהֵא מְנוּחָתָם, וְיַעֶמְדוּ לְגוֹרָלָם לְקֵץ הַיָּמִין, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.


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58 comments:

  1. "Those who went to their deaths "like sheep to the slaughter" should not be criticized in any way. "

    The truth is that Jews in Europe DID fight Hitler in large numbers. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were in the Polish Army in 1939; tens of thousands of Jews fought in the French Army in 1940. And Jewish participation in partisan and underground units was very high. The fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto were not alone. Unfortunately it took the combined resources of multiple large countries to defeat the Nazis.

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    1. Not to mention the many more who fought in the Soviet, American, and British and Commonwealth militaries. The latter two included many German Jews, whose language skills were invaluable in a number of ways, and the last included the Jewish Brigade of Palestinian Jews.

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  2. Not only does it appear, however unintended, to criticize the millions who died, but it also misunderstands the historical Jewish attitude to persecution. A recent article in the OU magazine, focusing on a new, orthodox Holocaust museum in New York, makes the point well. The historical approach has always focused on how Jews lived and carried on with their Jewishness in the face of the enemy. That's not at all to say that resistance fighters like those in the Warsaw ghetto shouldn't also be recognized. But they are just one piece of it, and not the only piece.

    The point of subsuming all days of national remembrance into the three-week period has a lot of weight to it. One can debate it, but one cannot so easily dismiss it.

    Finally, one might agree that in the spirit of compromise, in addition to common courtesy and sense, one should not openly scoff at the secular Yom Hazikaron, or walk about while others are standing still respectfully. Anything more than blurs the line between compromise and acquiescence.

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    1. The Jewish Action piece rubbed me the wrong way because it (or at least its subject) seemed to go too far in the other direction. They pretty much have to force him to admit (or at least, mention) that the fighters were heroes, and even then he keeps qualifying with bizarre statements about how they may have been "risking lives" (!) and how some rabbanim were opposed (so?). The famous line from R' Ziemba, about hoe the old model of Kiddush Hashem and spiritual resistance no longer applied in the face of an enemy who *wanted* you dead, and how thus "Kiddush Hashem" *meant* fighting, is mentioned almost offhand, partially and again with equivocation, toward the end.

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  3. the blog moderator said:

    “...the majority of the population of Israel,
    selected the 27th of Nissan.”

    my personal response:

    With all due respect, the concept of “majority” does not mean much when that majority knows little-or-nothing about Torah, and even worse, does not even believe in Torah.

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    1. The vast majority of Israeli Jews do, in fact, believe in the Torah, not that it matters here.

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  4. Had the majority of rabbis backed the Chief Rabbinate's decision of 10 Teves, it would have been established and the state would have followed along. The problem here is that frum Judaism has become a reactive movement.

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  5. First, I don't understand what is a merit to accompany others right into the gas-chambers. Please explain.

    Second, Torah forbids for Jews to sacrifice themselves in order that others should live. The exception is when the risk is obvious part of the "good deal", such as giving a birth or fighting in a war to protect Jewish people. But the author of the citation explicitly means those not having ever shot a gun. So??

    Finally. There is a mistake that "mizrokhniks" constatntly repeat. There is a huge difference between being apart from other religious Jews, i.e. those who follow the Jewish laws in general, yet less learned and less pious, from one side, and being apart from those who reject the Torah and do not follow Jewish laws, from other side. (I realize that the Hebrew word "rasha" does not sound nice, so I suggest to call those latter "outlaws". That is not insult, that simply reflects the reality: they put themselves out of the Jewish law.)

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    1. Very few Israeli Jews reject the Torah. The percentage is somewhere in the low single digits.

      Oh, and no one uses the word "Mizrachi" any more.

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  6. Personally, Tisha B'Av is my "Yom Hashoa". It's more than enough that we have THAT national day of mourning.

    I ask: Is there a halachic matter NOT to add days of tragedy and sadness to the Jewish calendar, especially when an appropriate fast day already exists to cover such national catastrophes?

    Also, in my 35+ years of living in Israel, I have never felt that the emphasis was on "heroes". The two words "Shoa" and "Gevura" imply honoring all victims of the Nazis and their collaborators, whether they did anything or not, before succumbing to the German extermination machine.

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    1. No, it's not a halakhic issue. Jews have always added days. We just either don't observe them anymore or have forgotten their original meaning.

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    2. My recollection is that the Va'ad Arba Aratzot instituted a special fast day to commemorate the Chmielnicki massacres, separate from existing fast days. In Sivan if memory serves. It was observed for some time and then the practice petered out.

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    3. Yes, the twentieth of Sivan. You can still find the kinnot in some siddurim.

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  7. There is another issue concerning the timing. In Israel at least, Yom HaShoah is "packaged" together with Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. The implicit (and often explicit) linkage between them, that the establishment of the state is the guarantee that there will never be another holocaust.

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    1. Apocalyptic prophecies in Nevi'im warn that this is not necessarily so, לא עלינו.

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    2. that is the real reason that yom hashoah is rejected--- it's part of the package of "in constrast to the weak europe jew , there is now the zionist entity" . the unadmitted reality that only a few haredi thinkers express is the opposite- godless nationalism caused a Divine Decree. so the state is Forbidden Fruit, product of a crime against g-d and his torah....

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    3. Kind of odd, if that's the case, that davka virtually all the Jews killed were *outside* of Israel.

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    4. Exactly.
      Read Eim Habanim Smeicha and get a different point of view.

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    5. But I thought a real problem was establishing it in the month of Nissan, when by halacha it's completely
      inappropriate to do public memorials and mourning, etc.

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    6. You added the words "public memorials." It's not nearly as forbidden as claimed.

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  8. Rabbi Slifkin, a subject you may want to write an article about: the minhag of lighting Nerot Neshama for the departed, i.e., Yahrzeit candles.

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    1. Definitely Christian origin. Not even most Protestants.

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  9. There's a lot at play in terms of the Haredi world's ocerall rejection of Zionism as an ideology that explains why they have not accepted Yom Ha'shoa. In my opinion, the date is not related to their rejection of Yom Ha'shoa, but rather the fact that it was established aart of a Zionist ideology. Yom Ha'shoa does not come out 1 week before Yom Ha'atzmaut by chance,but rather it firmly it establishes it as a day that focuses on 'From Holocaust to rebirth (משואה לתקומה) This is understood as a very Zionist theme. The Halachic argument that there's no 'aveilut' in Nissan is ridiculous, because the theme of Yom Ha'shoa isn't at all 'aveilut' in the traditional sense. That's why 'ha'gvura' is part of the official name of the day, and I would argue that it's not just a technicality.

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    1. Exactly right.

      By the way, there was discussion also about when to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. 5th Iyar was chosen. Yom Hazikaron on the 4th Iyar was chosen as it marked the day of the fall of Gush Etziyon when 151 souls were murdered by the Jordanian Legion after having surrendered and put down their arms. It was not simply chosen because it was the day before Yom Haatzmaut. Yom Hashoa VeHagevurah therefore became the third link in the chain.

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  10. There's a lot at play in terms of the Haredi world's ocerall rejection of Zionism as an ideology that explains why they have not accepted Yom Ha'shoa. In my opinion, the date is not related to their rejection of Yom Ha'shoa, but rather the fact that it was established aart of a Zionist ideology. Yom Ha'shoa does not come out 1 week before Yom Ha'atzmaut by chance,but rather it firmly it establishes it as a day that focuses on 'From Holocaust to rebirth (משואה לתקומה) This is understood as a very Zionist theme. The Halachic argument that there's no 'aveilut' in Nissan is ridiculous, because the theme of Yom Ha'shoa isn't at all 'aveilut' in the traditional sense. That's why 'ha'gvura' is part of the official name of the day, and I would argue that it's not just a technicality.

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  11. A further reason for selecting 27 Nissan was it being 7 days before Yom Hazikaron with the obvious inference of "meshoah letkuma". It now behooves us all to adhere to these important days because the Moetzet Gedolei haTorah never weighed in on the subject. Sadly, as we know, the Rabbanut Harashit has little authority then and now. We have no alternative other than to follow the State decision.

    Doing the rounds today: "We have two memorial days in Israel every year: One to remind us the cost of having a State; One to remind us the cost of not".

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  12. Jews are evil and are the cause of everything evil in this world. Here's a few quick facts about Jews for you:

    -Jews created feminism
    -Jews own the media
    -Jews start all the wars, the neo-con politicians and advisors are mostly jewish
    -Jews control Hollywood
    -Jews are the ones pushing for mass immigration of 3rd worlder subhumans into the West
    -Jews own the global banking system
    -Jews created pornography
    -95% of all "terrorism" attacks worldwide are FALSE FLAG attacks that are carried out by undercover Mossad agents
    -Jews created and/or control all the major social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc.
    -Jews were the ones responsible for slavery (the ships which brought African slaves to America were owned by jews)
    -Jews did 9-11 (google Masters of Deception PDF)
    -Jews created the bogus science of psychiatry, which creates fake diseases like ADHD in order to justify selling billions of dollars worth of drugs like Ritalin to "treat" these fake diseases
    -Jews are the ones pushing all of the pro-transexual, pro-homosexual propaganda
    -Jews turned the religion of Christianity into a jew-worshipping cult that promotes Jews as the "Chosen Race"
    -Jews are trying to destroy free speech (the ADL and SPLC are both run by jews)
    -Jews are trying to take away our guns (Jewish politicians are leading the fight to take away our guns)
    -Jews are 6 times more likely to be mentally ill than non-jews (Jews are a disease)
    -the educational system is overwhelmingly run by Jews and this explains why modern universities have become communist Marxist indoctrination institutions
    -Jews are 10 times more likely to be homosexual then non-jews
    -Jews lied about the HOLOCAUST and claimed 6 MILLION jews were killed when in reality there were no gas chambers or death camps. The holocaust didn't happen but it should have.

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    1. Wow! I never realized that we are so powerful! (And if we are so perverted, how did we ever become so powerful?) BTW, when you rebel against the ZOG, you won't do it with guns. The US Army has you hopelessly outgunned. Your weapons of choice will be IEDs and computer viruses.

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    2. PSA: Please don't feed the trolls. :)

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    3. Thanks for visiting. I always wanted to know, if 6 million didn't die, where are they? Are they hiding somewhere underground, reproducing and propagating and they will soon take over the world, if the aliens don't get there first? Are they gnawing at the core of the earth, like rodents in a cellar, eventually causing the crust of the earth to collapse? Have they inhabited some other planet with their own inventions and business models? Or what?

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    4. Rabbi Slifkin, must this piece of trash post be allowed to stay up?

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  13. With regard to the approach in Israel to "Heroes" of the Holocaust, the approach that we should idolize the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto, as opposed to those who went like sheep to the slaughter may have been true in the early years of the state, and is certainly the reason the chose this date and name for Yom hashoa UGVURA.

    However I think the attitude has completely changed today. The main ceremony at Yad Vashem takes place in "Warsaw Ghetto Square" which is the main open area in Yad vashem. This square has a copy of the monument by Rappaport which has 2 images, one of the "Uprising" who look almost like Greek gods, and one of the "Last March"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Ghetto_Heroes

    However, when modern tour guides explain the picture, they would point out that there are heroes on both parts of the monument. The pregnant woman who wants to bring new life into the world, the man holding a Torah Scroll whose faith us unbroken, or the people protecting or comforting children are as much Heroes as Mordecai Anielewicz who is depicted on the Uprising side of the monument

    That said, the date of Yom Hoshoah is now so ingrained into the Israeli Calendar as the beginning of the "עשרת ימי התשועה" that it would not be easy to change, even if the original reason for this date is less relevant today

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  14. The Brisker Rav famously quoted from one of the Kinnos of Tisha B'Av that one should not add any new days of mourning to the calendar but rather should mourn all tragedies of the Galus on Tisha B'Av. However this has not been followed throughout Jewish history, as many European Kehillos observed the Shabbos(!) before Shavuos as "Schwartz Shabbos", reciting Kinnos mourning the destruction of the Jewish Communities of Speyer, Mainz and Worms during the Crusades, 20th Sivan was observed as a Fast Day mourning the Cossack massacres of 1648, Friday of Parshas Chukas was observed as a Fast Day mourning the public burning of 24 wagonloads of manuscripts of the Talmud in Paris during the 13th century, etc.

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    1. I'm wondering if all of these fasts disappeared because eventually some rabbanim or communities said that we have no lack of צרות and that all/many of these tragedies should instead be recalled on 9 B'Av with specially added קינות.

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    2. They disappeared because people forgot about them. No one cited that line as having actual meaning until Zionism came along- like other supposed "eternal" traditions like the Three Oaths.

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    3. But they didn't exactly disappear. They turned into 9 B'Av kinot. So perhaps they disappeared because they were transferred to the existing day of national morning. That is my question.

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    4. Nu, so get back to me in, oh, three hundred years. :-)

      Some days didn't disappear, by the way. We still say Av Harachamim this Shabbat, for example.

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    5. They didn't disappear! 20th Sivan is still observed in some communities (Hungarian, possibly German as well). The Selichos for 20th Sivan are printed in the Miller Siddur Beis Tefillah (among other siddurim).

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    6. Disappeared, as did those dates listed in megillah taanit and masechet taanit

      Most if not all of these slichot are listed in any decent siddur that has any of the slichot.

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  15. Hmm. The reason I was taught as to why there is even a question about picking 27 Nissan to be a day of remembrance that nobody in this thread has yet mentioned is that we have a halacha (strong minhag? It's in Shulchan Aruch...) to not mourn during Nissan. Therefore, while even if "they" were to choose a date other than Tisha B'av, it would be OK - and agreed to, even among the right-wing/chareidi/pick your label crowd - as long as there are no limitations from preexisting halacha!

    This is the flipside of one of the problems with the date of Yom HaAtzmaut: even for those of the more right-wing/chareidi-esque etc. who accept and celebrate the existence of modern Israel, there are those cannot technically celebrate it with music and dancing simply because of Sefirah! These people are more comfortable with Yom Yerushalayim, falling as it does after Lag Ba'Omer. (The fact that there are shiurim and discussions and justifications why it's OK to celebrate on 5 Iyar [or 4 or 6, as Chillul Shabbos avoidance requires] is besides the point. Helpful, yes, to those of us almost in that group, but the fact that such shiurim are needed is already a ding.)

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    1. Mourning tzaddikim and kedoshim is completely allowed in Nissan. Though it is interesting to note that those who claim it's a problem are usually the ones who follow the mourning customs if sefirat haomer in Nissan (as opposed to Yekkim, who start on RH Iyar.)
      As for You HaAtzmaut andYom Yerushalaim being in Iyar, side from the fact that the GRA sweetie that those two days will be days of geula (yes, he wrote that - the 20th and 42nd days off the Omer, so actually it's the day that Givat Zeev was liberated, the day before Yerushalaim), Rav Hayim David HaLevi, ZTL, explained that the days of the Omer used to be a long hol hamoed- type period, between Pessah and Shavuot. With the destruction of the Mikdash and the country, they became a period of mourning. And with the rebuilding of the country and its many places of Torah, these days are returning gradually to the happy times they are meant to be.

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    2. Chapter and verse please?

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    3. Interesting. There are those who would say to refrain from hespedim regardless (particularly yekkes, whom you referenced), preferring in such a case to wait until Shloshim.

      Anyway, you provide answers to the issues - they may be satisfactory answers to many people, for sure - but they do not REMOVE the issue(s). They may even be considered apologetic answers. As I said, the very fact that such justifications are necessary is a feature against the position.

      One specific objection:
      On the Omer issue, the fact that there are rabbanim who point out that this pseudo-Chol-Hamoed was once happy and shall be again is irrelevant, as the counterargument would be that Sefirah is still today a sad period. We still don't shave, don't have weddings, etc. Having Yom HaAtzmaut on a single day does not suddenly render all of the mourning of the Omer period moot.

      Anyway anyway, I was merely reporting what I had been taught as an objection. This is not my opinion.

      Also, your autocorrect seems to interpret Zatzal as a term of endearment.

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    4. Most people keep Sefirah mourning in Nissan. That's more, halakhically, than standing still for two minutes.

      On the other hand, Lag B'Omer is never mentioned by Chazal. Someone added it...

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    5. And then there's every single funeral in Nissan, which includes the line, "We're not supposed to give hespedim, so..."

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    6. Except of course that we do mourn in Nisan during Sefira. The minhag in Israel is to mourn from the beginning of sefira until Lag Baomer so there is no music, no weddings, no shaving on the day of Yom Hashoah

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  16. I agree the Charedi position has stronger legs to stand on, but it would be a little easier to accept if Charedim actually did commemorate the Holocaust on Tisha B'Av. As it happens, rubo k'kulo of all black-hat shuls do not say any piyutim over the Shoah. The kinos are full of piyutim that were added for the Crusades and later tragedies and pogroms, but for some reason no one wants to spend five more minutes at the very end for two piyutim about the worst human catastrophe of all. It's enough to make one wonder if the debate over the date for Yom Hashoa is even being had in good faith or is just a cover for refusing to acknowledge the Holocaust at all.

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    1. Dealing with the Holocaust is very, very difficult. It's probably easier to gloss over it.

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    2. I think that this has less to do with the holocaust and more to do with the extreme conservatism rooted in "Chadash Asur Min Hatorah". The Reformers are changing so we will not change anything (obviously things have changed, but this is still the ideology).

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    3. This is completely untrue. The Bobover Rebbe and Rav Schwab, both clearly charedi, actually composed kinnus for the Holocaust. In every charedi shul I have davened in, they have said one or both of the kinus. Your comment is straight-up defamation.

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    4. I think the "Chadash Assur Min HaTorah" concept is probably really at root of this - we can go round and round talking about Nissan, or Sefirah, or mixed company, or Israel being too secular, or whatever excuse/reason is given for not permitting/participating in a new practice like Yom HaShoah, but really the issue is like the old lightbulb question. "How many [insert very conservative group here] does it take to change a lightbulb?"

      "CHANGE!?!?!"

      The presence in the Artscroll of the two kinos mentioned by Milton is permitted exactly because there IS precedent for expanding Tisha B'av (adding the Crusade kinos, and for the Talmud burning of 1242, etc). But creating a new day? Never.

      In a way, that makes Neturei Karta, I guess, intellectually honest in one direction: they won't acknowledge that anything can change unless it is a clear neis min hashamayim indicating a New Era. Neis Nistar for the creation of the State of Israel is irrelevant; only the Beis HaMikdash dropping out of the sky on fire is enough to warrant a shift in thinking.

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    5. We spend hours saying kinnos on Tisha Bav morning and then at the end we say 1 kinna for the holocaust which was teh greatest tragedy since teh churban. If people really considered Tisha B'av the day to mourn the holocaust, it would be given more time then 1 kinna at the very end.

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  17. Everybody knows, Charedim are closet holocaust deniers. In fact, anonymous 12:17 is really the charedi in chief. Everyone who wants to buy a black hat, has to kiss his ring first.

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  18. The Chareidim have trouble dealing with the Holocaust because
    1) They've built a whole mythology around "Everyone in the alte heim was frum except for a handful of Haskal'niks and Zionists". Too many pictures exist that contradict that
    2) They've built a whole ideology around "Torah study is the real protection and we are the real army of Israel". Except that it was the frummest that got wiped out first
    3) They've convinced themselves that Zionism in all its forms is an evil rebellion against God but it was because of the Zionists that Judaism had a chance to be reborn after the war and they can't explain it.
    4) They can't visit Yad VaShem because, well, pictures of women and mixed mingling at the exhibits.

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    1. 5) The Satmar position that the Holocaust was God's revenge for Zionism (and, hand-in-glove with anti-Semites, that the Zionists helped it along) is at least not too vehemently rejected by the charedi world as a whole. R' Hutner made the point too, and was defended by "mainstream" charedim.

      And yet the only Jews actually living in Israel killed by the Axis were a relative handful killed in an Italian air raid of Tel Aviv. Sure, "kiven shenitein reshut lamashkhit" and all that. But in this case, Israel wasn't even touched, and davka all the people who were killed were those that *hadn't* made aliyah. (The Zionist movement had been around at least fifty years by that point.)

      6) I think this is the most important issue: You can't really deal with the Holocaust without confronting some very, very serious theological issues. Growing up, we were told that Elie Wiesel's "Night" was treyf because he (or so we were told) rejects God. Of course, Wiesel does nothing of the sort and remained religious for the rest of his life. But he *asks questions* about God in that book (and elsewhere) that charedim would prefer no one ask. So better not to think about it too much.

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    2. There is one more major reason that Charedim have trouble dealing with the holocause. It destorys the premise of Daas Torah. Theose who listened to Daas Torah and stayed in Europe, died. Those who defied Daas Torah and went to "trief" America or Israel survived. See this fascinating letter that R' Aharon Kotler sent in the summer of 1939 to his talmid http://jewishworker.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-did-r-aharon-kotler-advise.html

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  19. 10 Tevet was set as "yom kaddish clalli" general day of kaddish, for those who don't have a day to say kaddish. Not particularly as a commemoration of the shoah.

    It was also set to be a nonpolitical day, but charedim still avoid it as such. Can't satisfy them either way.

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