By Dr. Jeffrey Gutterman
Yom HaShoah (the day of destruction), is a day of remembering the victims of the Holocaust. The pages of the history of the Jewish people are filled with times of trials, tribulations, and persecutions. As a nation the Jews can trace their national and ethnic persecution back to the Egyptian period of slavery. Other significant Jewish persecutions include the Assyrian conquest and dispersion of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and subsequently the Babylonian conquest and dispersion of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Persecution by the Hellenists provoked the Maccabean Revolt. The Roman occupation of Israel incited two revolts in 70 AD and 135 AD. From that point forward the history of the Jews in the Dispersion has been one of hope, acceptance and ultimately, persecution. The Holocaust stands out because it was the most dangerous attempt to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth. If Hitler and his allies had won the war, there is no doubt that he would have brought the Final Solution to every corner of the world.
Yom HaShoah is observed on the 27th day in the month of Nisan— a week after the seventh day of Passover, and seven days before Yom Hazikaron which is Memorial Day for all Israeli military who were killed in battle. Additionally, it marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. This uprising began on April 19, 1943 which corresponded to the 14th of Nisan which is the day before Passover. The 14th was rejected by those planning this solemn day because of its proximity to Passover. The 27th day of Nisan was more acceptable since it occurs after Passover but is still within the time frame of the Warsaw Uprising. On April 12, 1951, the Israeli Parliament, the Kinesset, chose the 27th day of Nisan to commemorate the Jewish people killed in the Holocaust. This became Israeli law on August 19, 1953. In 1959 the Kinesset voted to make Yom HaShoah an Israeli national day of remembrance and in 1961 a law was instituted that prohibited any public entertainment on that day. Although this is an Israeli law, it is observed by Jews all over the world. There are no set rituals for this day. Many remember this day by lighting six candles to represent the six million who were systematically murdered under the Nazi Third Reich.
It is only by the Grace of God that the Jewish people still exist. It is God’s plan for the Chosen People to endure and ultimately call back their Messiah, Yeshua as we read in Matthew 23:37-39
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
On Yom HaShoah, we remember the Chosen People who perished in the Holocaust, and we pray, “Come Lord Yeshua.”
You may read the extended version of Dr. Gutterman’s article about Yom HaShoah in our Spring issue of Ariel Magazine.
Please visit our home page to view the commemorative images in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust.