At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Sarah dies and Abraham sets out on a quest to find the perfect way to honor her memory. He finds a very special cave, called the Cave of Machpelah. In purchasing this family burial cave, Abraham creates a monument for eternity to honor the memory of most of the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith.
This Torah portion coincides with two sacred memorial days which were observed this week. Veterans Day and Kristallnacht are dates set aside to find meaning and value in the sacred act of remembering.
As Americans, the sacred act of remembrance took place on Tuesday, November 11 through the observance of Veteran’s Day. While Veterans Day was originally designed to commemorate the anniversary of the singing of the armistice, which ended WWI, today Americans seek to honor and thank all military personnel who have served the United States in all wars.
As Jews, the 76th Anniversary of Kristallnact, “The Night of Broken Glass”, represents a moment in the history of our people that marked the beginning of the Holocaust. On November 9, 1938, the Nazis unleashed a wave of pogroms against Germany’s Jews. In the space of a few hours, thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses and homes were damaged and destroyed. This event came to be called Kristallnacht ,”Night of Broken Glass,” because of the shattered store windowpanes that carpeted German streets.
This Friday night part of our Shabbat worship together will be devoted to the sacred remembrance as we will collectively reflect on how these two events in history have shaped our understanding of the human responsibility for the future. Through music, meditation and message, we will dedicate ourselves to humbly appreciate the times in which we live and the fact that we live in a nation where tolerance and understanding sit at the foundation of our democracy.
L’Shalom – Steve