Yesterday was Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and today is Yom
Haatzmaut (Independence Day) in Israel. Yom Hazikaron is a day dedicated to
remembering and honoring the fallen soldiers of the IDF and victims of terror.
By nature, this is an unbelievably somber day. Because Israel is a small
country with mandatory army service, every Israeli is affected. If you don’t
personally know someone who has given their life, you know someone who does.
Yom Hazikaron is marked by a siren that is blasted at two
different times. It is heard throughout the country and when it sounds,
everyone and everything comes to a stop. Cars on the highway pull over,
conversations in the street stop, schools and businesses come to a halt. People
stop, stand, and reflect. TV channels broadcast the names and pictures of all
who have fallen defending the State of Israel. Click this link to see for
Today, I remember my friend Tuvia Yanai Weissman. Yanai and
I served together in the Point Company of our Battalion. While off-duty,
21-year-old Yanai, was fatally injured when he fought, unarmed, against two
Palestinian terrorists who attacked shoppers in a supermarket. He was shopping
with his wife and newly born daughter, making sure they had a full fridge as he
prepared to leave for another few weeks in the army. With no time to think,
Yanai left his wife and daughter and ran into the unknown with only courage as
his weapon. After Yanai was killed, we lit a candle every day in his memory,
and no matter what base we were at, continued to have a vigil with his picture
and a candle. His memory and legacy will continue to shine.
Pictured: Staff Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21.
Immediately following Yom Hazikaron is Yom Haatzmaut, a day
where we celebrate the independence of the modern State of Israel. In contrast
to the somberness of the preceding day, Yom Haatzmaut is filled with massive
parties, concerts, and events all throughout the country, like 4th
of July Celebrations here in America. From the outside looking in, having the
saddest day of the year followed by the happiest may seem puzzling. How is it
that one can mourn a son, daughter, or sibling’s death one day, and the next be
celebrating in the streets with friends?
The answer is simple: there is no other choice.
Throughout our history suffering, sacrifice, loss and
hardship has led to experiences of joy and elation. One perspective is that we
need the periods of “bad” to recognize “good”. This perspective, and the belief
that we need to be able to move past difficult periods, is the definition of
resiliency. To be a Jew or an Israeli is to be resilient. When we fall, we get
back up. When others say impossible, we say possible. When we experience
hardship and loss, we carry it with us forever, but continue to move forward.
When we think of loss, we know that life is around the corner. There is no Yom
Haatzmaut celebration without Yom Hazikaron. The joy of Yom Haatzmaut is not
possible without the pain Yom Hazikaron. Let us celebrate the State of Israel
while remembering the price paid to get here.
Thanks to you we are here - בזכותכם אנחנו פה