Word for the Herd: Torah from your favorite teacher
What an amazing parallel the Jewish world has for this week's Torah Portion and historical events. This week, we read BeShalach from the Torah, the part of the Exodus story when we were delivered out of Egypt and HaShem via Moshe split the Red Sea. What a joyous and iconic miracle--- that with an out-stretched arm Moshe could part the sea for long enough to allow the Jewish People to the other side and then close it back on the evil Egyptians chasing after us. In fact, part of our daily prayers include recounting this story when we sing "Shirat HaYam," The Song of the Sea. Nearly everyone on earth knows that Jews were once slaves in Egypt and delivered to freedom by Moses.
History repeats itself.
The Jewish people became numerous and prosperous in Europe in the 1900s and were persecuted and eventually enslaved and murdered during WWII/The Holocaust. This week, on January 27, the world marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the deadliest concentration camp, Aushwitz-Birkenau. You can read more about the atrocities committed against Jews, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Homosexuals and more on THIS wikipedia page. This time there was no great parting of the Red Sea, but I am certain after reading many accounts provided by the Shoah Foundation, that the survivors of Aushwitz felt as if they were experiencing a joyous miracle of freedom when the allies (British and Soviets) freed them from slavery and their impending death.
There are many lessons to be learned, but we must as modern Jews and Human beings strive to never let history repeat itself against our people or others. Jews are obligated to have daily reminders of freedom. We remember HaShems miracles by hanging a mezuzah on our doors. We remember our liberation by reading Parashat BeShalach, honoring the various anniversaries of the Holocaust, but continuing to improve the world and protect ourselves so that we may never again be enslaved. And never give up hope--- because we learn time and time again: When the Jewish people fall under hard times, HaShem always sends help and we will survive.