Yom HaShoah: The World We are Given

by Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser

A few weeks ago, I had this conversation with my 13-year-old daughter who was reading Elie Wiesel’s Night for a school assignment. I was driving her home with her in the back seat.

I said, “You know, it’s not a subject I like to talk about.”

And she said, “I know.”

“It’s hard for me not to take it personally, especially when I think about my grandfather and how his sisters were murdered.”

There is a long pause.

“But, you know, if it had not been, neither you nor I would ever have been born. My mother would have stayed in France. She would have grown up there and my parents would never have met. And there is no knowing what the world today would be like. Is it possible to wish for one’s own non-existence?”

She doesn’t answer.

“You bet it is.”

I think about this as we drive over the South Branch of the St. Lucie River, almost home.
“But we live in the world we are given, not the world we wish for.”

In the rearview mirror, I see her reading her book.

Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser is the rabbi of Temple Beit HaYam in in Stuart, FL.

Originally posted at Reb Jeff.

Learn more about Holocaust Remembrance Day by visiting the URJ’s Yom HaShoah page.

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One Response to “Yom HaShoah: The World We are Given”

  1. avatar

    I have no words to describe how I feel when I think about the horrors of the holocaust, when I walk in the fields of Birkenau, bunker 11… What was the point of all that killing and suffering?

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