Sunday, June 25, 2017

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Why Yom HaShoah?

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, is a solemn assembly designed to remember the merciless slaughter of approximately 6 Million European Jews (and a host of millions of others too). Each year we subject ourselves to recalling incomprehensible evils: disparaging rhetoric, deceitful tactics, brutal aggression, and outright murder, theft and torture. We have seen the worn bodies of Jews left to die like animals in concentration camps. We relive the deaths with the telling and re-telling of horror after horror. And today we continue to see rallying cries against the Jews that sound a lot like the 1930's from places ranging from UC Irvine to Iran.

But should we recognize a day to remember such an event? After all, should we not be joyful on Shabbat? There isn't a Biblical mandate to remember the holocaust per se (which of course happened after the historical events recorded in Scripture). So why bother?

In the pages of Scripture we see terrible things that happened to the Jewish people: slavery, rape, murder. Ever read the book of Lamentations? Why did God have these tragic events recorded let alone allow these things to occur? We see Yeshua beaten to a pulp for our sins, and we remember this every year at Passover. Given these facts it would seem that God does not want us to forget past horrors.

But what about Yom HaShoah? A few brief points (perhaps can you suggest others . join us on Facebook!):

First of all, Yom HaShoah is an integral part of the Jewish community. The Holocaust forever changed the Jewish people. Messianic Congregations definitely should show solidarity with the Jewish people via Yom HaShoah.

Second, the Holocaust is a great reminder of the evil of men. The Nazi regime is about the clearest example of abject hatred imaginable, and it happened in modern, civilized times after the age of reason. There are billions of people who reject the notion of evil, yet I have not seen any other theory able to explain Hitler and the Nazi regime. Scripture is a great witness to the sinful nature of man (Romans 3:23).

Third, the history of what happened to the Jewish people is a great reminder of the Messiah. In Michael Brown's "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume #1," he draws interesting parallels between the Jews in the Holocaust and Yeshua from Jewish sources and authors. This really was very interesting to me, and although there are limitations of this comparison, I think this idea has significant merit.

Finally, it is a small way for believers in Yeshua/Jesus to remind ourselves of our own failures to avert evil in the Holocaust. Let's face it; the Holocaust was not the Church's proudest moment. While of course individual believers in the Church did noble acts of righteousness, the Church did not as a whole. Today the Church gets more worked up over R-rated movies and gay marriage than the plight of the Jews in the Holocaust or hatred toward Jews today. I believe that the Holocaust is something that every believer in Yeshua/Jesus should do, if at the very least to remember that "evil triumphs when good men do nothing" (paraphrase of Edmund Burke).

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