Parshas Matos Masei

AV, 5779

 Interpreting Artifacts

As in the gift of Manna, so it is in the memory of artifacts

After the exodus from Egypt, Hashem gifted the Jews with manna, ’heavenly bread’, to consume during their travels in the wilderness.

Hashem furthermore commanded Moshe:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֗ה זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה הֹ' מְלֹ֤א הָעֹ֨מֶר֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לְמִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת לְדֹרֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן יִרְא֣וּ אֶת־הַלֶּ֗חֶם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶֽאֱכַ֤לְתִּי אֶתְכֶם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בְּהֽוֹצִיאִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם

“Moses said, This is the thing that the Lord commanded: Let one omerful of it be preserved for your generations, in order that they see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I took you out of the land of Egypt.”

Like the saved Manna, the Torah is providing us with a template to preserve the meaning of the Holocaust artifact.



Dear Friend,

Aish Kodesh was written by Rabbi Klonimos Kalman Shapira, the Piaseczna Rebbe, during the darkest years of the Warsaw Ghetto. Despite his own personal tragedies, Rabbi Shapira continued to be a bastion of faith and inspiration for his fellow Jews as the Nazi persecution ravaged the Ghetto population.


It is impossible for one to experience ruach hakodesh when he is in pain and anguish. Rabbi Chaim Vital writes that one of the requirements for a prophet [to communicate with Hashem] is that even when he is suffering, he must be joyful. It is for this reason that [the prophet] Elisha requested that a musical instrument be played to bring him to happiness, because although he always strove to be b'simcha, during times of suffering, he needed the help of music.

It is possible that this is why Yirmiyahu HaNavi wrote Megillas Eichah before the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. Yirmiyahu wrote Eichah with ruach hakodesh, and after the Destruction, he was in great anguish to the point where he could not have this uplifting experience. This is because it is impossible to cry and wail with ruach hakodesh unless there is at least a bit of happiness, which was why the writing of Eichah preceded the Destruction.

How can we possibly find any consolation under the present circumstances? Even if we can withstand our own torturous suffering, but how can we live with the unbearable loss of so many loved ones who have been murdered?

It is only possible through prayer, and a strong belief in Hashem. The knowledge that He, too, suffers with us can possibly give us some solace.

How do we know that the present suffering is not simply for our own sins? The answer is that the enemy is not satisfied with simply killing us, his goal is to destroy the Torah. In the times of Haman, the Gemara assumes that the Jews were guilty of some sin, because Haman did not target the Torah, only the Jewish people. But during the oppression of the Greeks and the Chanukah miracle, the Gemara does not make this assumption because the Greeks waged a war against the Torah, which is essentially against Hashem.

In these times [World War II], our suffering is not due to our sins, because the enemy is waging a war against Hashem, and by extension, His people.


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