May 3, 2012
Carrying the burden because the Commanding Officer said so
This week, in America, you will read the double portion of Acharei-Mot-Kedoshim which, translated literally, means “after the death of the holy ones,” a meaning that was all too appropriate last week when we were reading the same double portion, as it fell on the Shabbat immediately following Israel’s Memorial and Independence days: Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
Memorial day followed by Yom ha’Atzmaut (Independence day) in Israel evokes so many emotions all coming together in a whirlwind of intense, meaningful, powerful and even joy filled moments that have no equal the rest of the year and perhaps even in the rest of the world.
At precisely 11 A.M., standing over the graves of Dani Moshitz and Chaim Avner who both fell in Lebanon in 1982, time stopped, as the sirens all over the country went off. The entire country came to a standstill as Israel remembered all those who fell in defense of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. If you have never been in Israel on this day, and never experienced this moment, you owe it to yourselves, to your children and even to those who fell and to their families, to be here in Israel one year on this day and at this moment, when time stops, and we all, with all of our differences, become one.
For most of us, even with all the painful memories of that day and the tears that often flow freely as we think of close friends who will remain 19 or 20 forever, eventually, Memorial Day gives way to Yom Ha’Atzmaut or Independence Day, and we tuck those memories and tears away to celebrate, dance and sing with abandon in celebration of what many call Chag Atzmaut or Independence Holiday.