Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who Will Say Kaddish for Us?

As much as I love the week of Passover, I think sometimes that I love the week after Passover more. I seem to reconnect with people that prior to the holiday, I had not seen in a while (usually since the High Holidays). They seem to be happier than in the fall; full of excitement for the arrival Spring and all that Spring and Summer offer in matters of renewal and relaxation, much of this, I believe to be due to the warmth of sunshine.

The one not so pleasant happening that comes the week after Passover, however, is the arrival of Yom haShoah. Holocaust Remembrance Day. A day that in it's name alone, brings us back to the reality that this abominable tragedy not only happened, but the realization that should we fail to remember our not so distant past; should we fail to stand up and shout "NEVER AGAIN", and mean it, we could once again be facing extinction. IF we forget. IF we don't stand up, and stand up now.

A theme was selected for remembrance this year. The theme, "Who will say Kaddish for me?" Who will recite the memorial prayers for me?

A website has been designed,, where each of us, especially Bar and Bat Mitzvah students can make a small donation and receive the name of a child who perished under Hitler's thumb, and dedicate their studies to these children who were not able to complete their own studies due to the Holocaust.

One such Bat Mitzvah student, Simcha from Ohio has dedicated her studies and Bat Mitzvah to a girl named Sima Ring.. Simcha wears Sima's name in a locket and recites her prayers in Sima's name. I have never met her, but am proud of her nonetheless. It is my understanding that she has had a difficult time of it lately. Not only am I proud of Simcha, but I also know that her mother will never have to ask the question of, "Who will say Kaddish for me?". For me, Simcha in Ohio stands out above most Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids. She cares; she is not afraid to show it; and she is proud to be a member of our proud people. To Simcha and her family, even though I cannot be in Columbus on this coming Wednesday, when she will rise to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah, I will raise a glass of grape juice in "LeChayim " to Simcha.

Who will say Kaddish for me? Who will say Kaddish for you? Who will say Kaddish for us?

My children will, I am certain. Hopefully your children will stand for you. Will their children stand for them?

This past week, I was asked if in my opinion, the economy would return to what it once was. I promise you that anyone believing that I am qualified to answer this question as an expert economist needs some serious inter-cranial examination, as do I were I to pretend to answer with economic expertise. What I did reply, however, was that in my opinion, as long as we continue to worry about it, and continue to worry about what we no longer have, rather than being happy and thankful for what we do have, the economy will remain in the exact position that it currently resides. As long as we care about what our neighbor has, or what he drives, or how much money he makes, we deserve to remain wanting. This may sound cruel and uncaring, but in reality, I feel it to be the most caring answer that I can give.

Pirkei Avot states that a "person is as happy as he makes up his mind to be". As soon as we can be happy with what we have, and grateful for what we have, we too will be rich.

For a moment, I must flash back to last week and bring you an update. Should you remember the man who sent me that nasty anti-Semitic e-mail a few weeks ago, he has sent me another in response to reading last week's column. This week he wrote:

Thank you for your consideration, Maybe you are right but, I got cheated so bad by this guy that it was difficult to deal with, I was being cheated big time and I have to say that made me sick at my stomach. I am sure all Jewish folks are not like that but this guy is horrible. Like some of our people.

Sir: You have just made Teshuvah. Doesn't it feel better?

On a side note, I remind you that today is day 1,384 of captivity for Gilad Shalit. Please join in praying for his speedy safe return from what was once Egypt.

While we pray for the return of Gilad to his parents, I ask you to please join in praying for my Colleague and friend Rabbi Bramly and his family, as well as the families of all involved in their own tragedies. May G-d be with them all and bring them strength to overcome these terrible times in their lives. May G-d soon return them to their lives and their children and to all things good.

On Tuesday of this coming week we remember the Six Million who were senselessly murdered by a man in the position of power. May we all not only remember, but realize that should we fail to shout NEVER AGAIN; should we continue to go through life with blinders on, following a Self-Appointed Pied Piper of Hamlin, we could be next.

From the Emek in the Midbar of Arizona, I wish you a Shavuah Tov. b'Ahavah u'Vrachot, with love and blessings, I remain...

Yours in Torah...

--Rabbi Alan Abrams

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