April 4, 2002
In parshat Shemini, this week's portion, a very sad thing happens. The two older sons of Aaron, Nadav and Avihu, die. No one is quite sure why God chooses to kill them. The only clue the Torah gives us is that they have brought "strange fire" before God. Even though we never really get an answer, the Torah is very clear on something else: Aaron's grief. His grief silences him.
This coming Tuesday, we will observe Yom HaShoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day. No one will ever know why 11 million victims, among them, 6 million Jews, were sent to their death by Hitler. But we will continue to grieve for them. We will observe moments of silence, and we will allow their memory to move us to be better friends, better sons and daughters, better Jews.
The Holocaust is a sad subject, but we cannot close our eyes to it.