Home Digital Content Library “Posthumous,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings
Blog post

“Posthumous,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

April 22, 2022 | 21 Nisan 5782

Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we make our way to Shabbat. You can listen to it as a podcast here.

I have often wondered what it was like during the late 1930’s and 40’s. Propaganda newsreels flourished in Germany. So did lies and deceit. While some pictures and stories surfaced, I imagine it was hard to know exactly what the Final Solution truly meant. And then, it became known. The world discovered that the Nazis planned, strategized, organized, manipulated, and implemented their genocidal intent to eliminate the Jewish people. It didn’t mean that others didn’t die in the wake of their heinous crimes. The Nazi wickedness extended to millions. We mourn them all.

This coming week, with Yom Hashoah upon us, we focus our attention on the Six Million Jews whose death came as the manifestation of the Final Solution, an evil plot to rid the world of us.

Emil Fackenheim, 20th century philosopher and Reform Rabbi, who survived the Nazis, declared an additional commandment, calling it the 614th Commandment — that Jews are obligated not to give Hitler a posthumous victory. The early rabbis declared that there were 613 commandments found in the Torah. This one, the 614th, coming after the Holocaust, would serve to guide and inspire all the ones that preceded it. Writing in the negative, it was meant to foster a positive approach to secure and guarantee that Judaism would flourish. At the same time, he conveyed that we must always remember that Hitler, appointed as chancellor by the President in a democracy, corrupted the position and the ideal of a democracy into a hate filled, murderous regime. We must never forget his deviant and aberrant behavior, aided and abetted by the sycophants who surrounded him.

Yet, there is another posthumous action that must persevere, especially as we prepare for Temple Israel’s Yom Hashoah commemoration on Monday, April 25th at 6:30pm online via Zoom and onsite. All those who died, those whose lives were cut short by hate and whose existence was attempted to be purged, their memory, their breaths breathed into the universe remain into eternity. We remember them as a blessing that continues even beyond all of us. We also remember those who survived. Their testimony remains vital.

So, let us enter Shabbat, as the victory that belongs to us to celebrate and to relish in a beautiful tradition that endured and endures. And, at the same time, we say Kaddish for all those lost as we honor their memories with our lives.

Connect with me here. I look forward to corresponding with you and to hearing your thoughts.

  • We join together for a Qabbalat Shabbat of Environmental Justice with with special guest Akaya Windwood of Th!rd Act., onsite and online at 6:00 p.m. Join on Zoom, on Facebook Live, or stream on our website.
  • Tot Rock Shabbat gathers online at 5:00 p.m.
  • Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. To join the conversation interactively, access Zoom. You can also watch on Temple Israel’s website or Facebook page.
  • 10:00 a.m. Thank Goodness It’s Shabbat at home. Register to join us on Zoom.
  • Gather for Havdalah and spiritual connection as we say goodbye to Shabbat and welcome the new week! Join on Zoom, or Facebook Live,or stream on our website.
  • If you’d like to provide financial assistance to Ukaine, please consider visiting the WUPJ / EUPJ Ukraine Emergency Support page to donate.