The Jewish people have a quality no one else in the world seems to have. Having gone through the Holocaust, they have an understanding of grief beyond what most of us can ever begin to fathom. Yet, having survived the Holocaust (as a people group), the Jews have an incredible zest for life and the ability to celebrate in extreme joy. That zest for life goes far beyond our understanding, and their ability to equally grieve and celebrate is astounding.
Those depths of sorrow and joy are exquisitely demonstrated in back-to-back days of commemoration, beginning tonight at sundown. Yom HaZikaron is Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers. All Israel mourns when they lose a soldier to war or terrorism, and the nation mourns as one every year on Yom HaZikaron. It begins tonight at sundown.
Then, as they come out of deep sorrow, the Jewish people enter immediately into overwhelming joy! The rebirth of Israel was a miracle, and the entire nation rejoices in great celebration of Israel’s Independence Day. It is called Yom Ha’Atzmaut, and it commences at sundown tomorrow! Back-to-back days of remembrance. Though filled with much greater emotion, it would be similar to celebrating Memorial Day and 4th of July on consecutive days in America.
“But wait,” you say! “I thought Israel was re-born on May 14, 1948!” You are correct…and very astute! The difference lies in calendars. The Hebrew calendar is a lunar (moon-based) calendar, as opposed to our modern-day Gregorian calendar, based on the sun. So, while we will celebrate Israel’s independence and re-birth on May 14, Israelis celebrate according to the Hebrew calendar.
With that as background, I want to share a very touching video that demonstrates the Israeli ability to both grieve and rejoice as they commemorate Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Enjoy!