We have recently celebrated the holiday of Pesach. I hope that you had an enjoyable and meaningful Pesach holiday. On Purim, we celebrated miracles that were hidden. God's name is mysteriously absent from the Purim story. On Pesach we remember public, almost exaggerated, miracles that the Almighty performed for us on a grandiose scale. Both holidays' stories are recanted in the Hebrew Bible. Pesach is a Mide'Oraita holiday whose roots are the miraculous events told of in the Pentateuch's book of Exodus. Purim's origins are in the much later scroll of Esther, it is not Mide'Oraita, but rather Midivrei Sofrim.
In the month of May, we will mark several days on the calendar whose significance is of a much more recent genesis. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge these days on the civil and religious calendar:
Thursday, May 2nd is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. On this day we remember the countless victims who perished in the Holocaust. I will recite a special memorial prayer for the victims of the Holocaust following Shacharit services on that morning.
Wednesday, May 8th is Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day. On this day we remember the heroic soldiers who gave their lives at the time of the creation of the Jewish state, as well as those who were killed in action during subsequent decades while ensuring Israel's security. This day is followed by Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, on Thursday the 9th. Special celebratory prayers will be recited in shul to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.
A holiday of a different nature will be marked on Sunday, May 12th: Mother's Day. In the spirit of the ten commandments' injunction to honor one's father and mother, it would be appropriate on this day to pause and to appreciate all that our mothers have done for us.
Lag Ba'Omer falls on Thursday, May 23rd. Jewish tradition ascribes this joyous minor holiday as the day when the terrible plague that afflicted the myriad students of Rabbi Akiva ceased. It is also the day that is traditionally recognized as the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
Finally, Monday May 27th is Memorial Day. On this day we will recognize all those members of the United States armed forces who gave their lives so that we may continue to enjoy the freedom and liberty which we so easily take for granted in this country.
Wishing you a spiritually meaningful month of May,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson