Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance day, begins this evening. When the sun falls below the horizon, we enter this solemn day of remembrance.
Zachor, the Hebrew word for Remember. Of course it is beyond challenging to remember the unspeakable evil that is the Holocaust. Of course we remember by speaking the unspeakable. There is so much cognitive dissonance wrapped up in this observance. The survivalist in us may conclude that not giving attention to something traumatic and horrifying is the way to heal.
However, speaking and remembering is the active ingredient in our healing. And we add to that the power of sharing this observance in community, with the whole world. We support each other, collectively holding each other up, as we mark the truth of the Holocaust. To shy away from the details is to clear the way for evil and hatred, giving them a foothold.
The full, formal name of this day is Yom HaShoah v’HaGevurah. The literal translation means “Day of the Remembrance (of the Holocaust) and the Heroism.” We learn from this the full spectrum of what humans are capable of: dark acts of evil and inspiring acts of courage and heroism. It is important that we remember and speak about all of this. For it is in this act of remembering that we have the tools and the agency to declare, “Never Again.”
Together we remember and say never again.