The Modern High Holy Days: The Week's End, Friday April 21, 2023
Apr 21st 2023

The 27th of Nisan to the 5th of Iyar are what Donniel Hartman calls the modern High Holy Days.  It is in this time period we commemorate Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 Nisan), Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Memorial Day (4 Iyar) and Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day (5 Iyar).

This is a time in which we remember those who were murdered for simply being born of a Jewish grandparent, and who lived in a time in which Jewish refugees had no refuge.

This is a time in which we remember those who 75 years ago and up to this very day, fought for and fell for the establishment of the State of Israel. 

And this is a time in which we transition from tzaar (sadness) to simhah (joy).  We remember that the cost of Freedom is high and paid for in blood, yet we celebrate fully the existence and Independence of Israel – miraculous as it at times is, and the miraculous potential it still holds.

And, this is a time in which the exuberance of Yom Ha'atzmaut seems muted by internal strife and external enemies. 

That’s also why it is at this time the Prayer for Peace attributed to Rabbi Nachman of Breslov calls to me.  (Excerpted below)

May it be Your will to put an end to war and bloodshed on earth, and to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world, “so that nation shall not lift up sward against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

And may it be that all people love peace and pursue peace, always in truth and with wholeheartedness, without holding on to any disputes ever again which would divide us against each other.

And let it come to pass in our time as it is written, “And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down and none shall terrify you.  I will drive vicious beasts from the land, and neither shall the sward go through your land.” (Leviticus 26:6)

Hashem who is Peace, bless us with peace!