It has become “tradition” to light yellow candles on Yom HaShoah, honoring the memories of those that perished in the Holocaust. What is the purpose in lighting these candles year after year?
The Midrash asks a similar question regarding the lighting of the Menorah. If God is the creator of light, does God really need more light? How can human beings possibly offer a light that is comparable to the light provided by our Creator? The rabbinic text admonishingly suggests that we are missing the point. The light of the Menorah isn’t for God. Rather, God wants the Menorah to be lit in order to elevate our souls.
Monise Neumann, Holocaust Educator and National Consultant for International March of the Living teaches that it is impossible to grapple with the number 6 million Jews. Who can possibly fathom the sheer magnitude of 6 million murderous deaths? Instead, she asks us to focus on one name. One story. One life. This week, as we light the yellow candles, we are elevated through our accountability. Reminding ourselves of our obligation to remember this soul and ensure that their memory continues to be a blessing.
Choose one person. Like the Menorah, you will be elevated as you learn their story and carry on their name.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.