Crying in Silence

I write these words on Erev Yom HaShoa after having just studied the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu after they brought a strange fire on the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan. In VaYikra 10:3 we witness Aharon's response- Vayidom Aharon - silence, shattering silence. Rabbi Yedidya Frankel (1913-1986), the former chief rabbi of Tel Aviv explains why the mourning period for the death of a child is only 30 days while the mourning period for the death of a parent is 12 months. One would think that it should be the other way around. While any death is sad, the death of a child is most often much more painful than the death of a parent. Since the pain is greater shouldnt the mourning period be longer? No! The parent that loses a child will experience intense pain for the rest of his/her life and therefore the "official" mourning period does not have to be that long.  Many suffer intense pain over the loss of children. On Yom HaShoah we experience this national pain over the cruel deaths of millions of children. While some attempt to rationalize the Holocaust - silence, shattering silence is the  optimal response. It demonstrates that we as human beings have a limited understanding of the world and have no way of explaining how it functions.

But one can cry as well. One can cry in silence. Some say that Aharon did not cry because he was content in knowing that the will of G-d was being fulfilled  One can be content and still shed a silent tear.  Crying does not (necessarily)contradict bitachon in Hashem. Was Aharon not a father who loved his children. Can a human being possibly not shed a tear upon the death of not one, but two of his children?  Just a few pesukim later, The Torah tells us that Hashem directs Moshe, Aharon, Elazar and Ittamar not to  "leave your heads unshorn and do not rend your garments.....and your brothers, the entire House of Israel shall bewail that Conflagration that Hashem ignited." This would seem to indicate that the rest of the people were to cry but  the family was not to cry. But does it mean that they didn't actually cry before this command? I don't believe so.

Daily Action Item: Spend a few moments this Yom HaShoa in silence shedding a tear for the martyrs of the Holocaust..

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