Monday, May 2, 2011

Psalm 102 - The Holocaust and the Redemption

Last night was Yom HaShoa, an evening when we remember those Jews who were lost to us in the Holocaust when hatred for the Jewish people led to the extermination of Six Million of our people – family, friends, children, adults.
My next door neighbor Batya Yaniger and I made a siyum (a celebration of the completion of a Torah book) on Sefer Tehillim (psalms).

Perhaps it was a strange time to make a siyum, but in addition to the Psalms that we discussed last night, we also discussed Psalm 102, which an American journalist David Dolan suggested foretold the Holocaust and the Final Redemption.

My son Mati and I studied the perek (chapter) together to see if that might indeed be true.

Here are some excerpts of Perek 102:
The Singer calls it "Tefilla l'ani" – a prayer of the afflicted man.
"O' L-rd, hear my prayer and let my cry come before You…For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned like a hearth."
With these words, we remember our brethren who in the face of death still called out with faith and prayer to Hashem, despite the round-the-clock evil annihilation in the Nazi crematoria.
"My heart is smitten like grass, and withered; for I have forgotten to eat my bread." Me'am Lo'ez offers an alternative explanation, "For lack of bread, I have already forgotten how bread is eaten. Because of much affliction, I forget to eat."
We are reminded how the Jews in the ghettos and concentration camps were starved for real food, how they picked through garbage and thanked Hashem for a stale piece of crust or a rotten potato.
"From the sound of my sighing, my bones cleave to my flesh." Who can forget the pictures of our brethren who died or lived as starved-tortured-skeletons?
"My enemies vilify me all day; those who are in a frenzy against me swear (or curse) by me."
Me'am Lo'ez says "All day long my enemies would revile and taunt me, until maddened to a frenzy against me." We bitterly recall the taunts of the Nazis against our people, "Schweinehund," (dog). We were dirty Jews, less than human.
David Dolan said that they took the name Jew itself and made it into a curse. Every Jew had to wear a yellow Magen David with the word Jude (Jew) inside. There could be nothing lower or more contemptible in their eyes.
"For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mixed my drink with tears."
If we cannot understand what this means, Dolan suggested that we should try to remember the movie "Schindler's List". Ashes of cremated bodies wafted from the camp chimneys and then rained on the camp when the winds dragged them down. "Thus," he says, "inmates were sometimes forced to breathe in, and even taste, the sooty remains of their fellow Jews."
These images are so heart-wrenching, but B"H, Psalm 102 then consoles us and gives us hope for the future.
Hashem - "You will arise, and have compassion upon Zion, for it is time to favor her with grace, for the appointed time has come. For Your servants take delight in her stones, and cherish her dust."
We are living in that time. Hashem has brought us back to Zion, He has made miracles for us, He has blessed us in countless ways. And we, His servants, especially those of us who live in Yehuda and Shomron (who once lived in Gaza), and all our supporters take delight in the stones of Eretz Yisrael and cherish its dust. We kiss the ground beneath us – whether rock or earth or sand – and we thank Hashem for the opportunity to fulfill the dreams of those who perished in the Holocaust and all those who came before us, who prayed that one day truly the "L-rd will build up Zion and appear in His glory."
The psalm assures us that we will see this. It will be a time when "the nations are gathered together and the kingdoms, to serve Hashem."
And "the children of Your servants will dwell securely, and their seed with be established before You."

No comments:

Post a Comment