Let us remember and not forget – B. Michael
Let us remember and not forget
This year, like every year, we should remember everything that is worth remembering.
Let us remember our fathers, who were persecuted and humiliated and exploited from generation to generation.
Let us remember the parents of our parents, who were confined to a “pale of settlement” and were not permitted to live where they wanted, like other people.
Let us remember our grandfathers’ grandfathers, who were commanded to go only on the paths permitted to them, and not to go on the paths of the King and the Gentiles.
Let is remember our fathers, who were forbidden by special laws to marry whom they wanted, and to live with them where they wanted.
Let us remember the abuse and the humiliation that were the lot of those who, in spite of everything, followed their hearts and married whom they wanted.
Let us remember those of our people who were uprooted again and again, and dispossessed of all their property.
Let us remember the laws and rules and regulations that forbade them to acquire land, to own assets or to practice professions like other people.
Let us remember the poor among our people, who having no other choice were forced to eke out meagre livings and live lives of bitterness as prisoners in the courts of aristocrats and landlords.
Let us remember the haters, who hated them only because they were members of our people.
Let us remember the explicit or implicit permission given by the rulers to mobs to abuse our fathers as much as they wanted, and sometimes even to kill them with impunity.
Let us remember the wicked regulations that fenced our fathers in, and forbade them to pass through the gates without a permit written by the soldiers of the Emperor and his policemen.
Let us remember the supply cities* that they built for their oppressors
Let us remember the libel that they flung at them, to the effect that they were lascivious and lusted after their neighbours’ daughters “in order to poison and contaminate their pure blood”.
Let us remember the wicked ones who sought to deprive our fathers of their rights and their freedom and their citizenship in the countries where they lived, only because of their religion and their ethnicity. And let us also remember the evil laws and the evil legislators who created them.
Let us remember the wicked ones of the nations of the world who made overt appeals not to buy from our fathers, not to do business with them and not to rent them apartments.
Let us remember all the idolatrous priests, worshippers of trees and stones, who ignited fires of hatred in their simple flocks, and incited them against their neighbours and their neighbours’ property.
Let us remember all our fathers and mothers who were insulted and humiliated and tortured and beaten and shamed and disgraced at the hands of the mobs that were sent by the rulers as well as those who attacked them on their own initiative.
And let us remember that we and our fathers and our fathers’ fathers in every generation and in every place, were the “demographic problem” that needed solving.
All those things will I remember, and not only the dark pit** that came afterwards. Because not only is the abyss important, but also the slippery slope that led to it.
Remembrance of all those things may deprive Jews of their sleep, but it is of vital importance for their souls.
* Exodus 1:11 – trans.
** i.e. the Holocaust – trans.