I’m going to digress from my usual topics of writing. A voice within me burns to escape.
The establishment of the State of Israel is nothing short of a miracle. Built on the ruins of the destruction of the Jewish people, a land for the Jews was voted on by the UN. 33 countries voted in favour of a Jewish State. A war erupted as 5 Arab armies attacked and miraculously the small state was not annihilated. 63 years later, Jews in the State of Israel must still fight for their right to live here.
Despite that most rabbis would agree that the establishment of the Jewish State was a miraculous occurrence, not all agree that the traditional Hallel prayer should be said. I won’t review here the different opinions you can view an outline of the subject here.
Nevertheless some rabbis had the courage to state not only that Hallel should be said, but that it should be said with a bracha. This view is today among the mainstream modern Orthodox opinions.
What gets me is how a fast day was not instituted from Yom HaShoah. Every year as Yom HaShoah is commemorated in the State of Israel, I find myself wondering why the rabbis did not find it suitable to institute a fast day. In my mind it’s so obvious that the Holocaust is unique. Yes, I know that throughout the ages there have always been attempts out to wipe out the Jews. And yet the Holocaust is different. The systematic destruction of the Jews coupled with the desire to make them into sub-humans are among the reasons the Holocaust is a unique historical event, if one can call it that.
But if so, why haven’t the rabbis found it necessary to make Yom Hashoah a fast day? If anything it would be the most relevant of fast days. A day to ponder our continued existence, a day of introspection, a day of longing for Hashem to return to us as he was before the destruction of the temple.
The tenth of Tevet doesn’t cut it. The events that took place during the Holocaust warrant that it should have its own day. It shouldn’t be piggy backing on another fast day.
Moreover, on Tisha B’Av, currently the most somber day of the Jewish calendar, we learn that Hashem took out his wrath on sticks and stones and not on his people. Should then a fast day on Yom Hashoah not be instituted when in fact 6,000,000 of Hashem’s flock perished?
I don’t know the halachic sources that would permit or otherwise prohibit the institution of another fast. But I imagine there are sources that would certainly favour the institution of such a fast day.
In the mean time, this Yom Ha’atzmaut, I pray that our modern Orthodox leaders to develop more courage. The halachic courage required to carry us into the future without forgetting our past.