Yom HaShoah is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, April 7, 2013. The day will begin (10 am) with an air-raid siren sounding throughout the nation of Israel. It is tradition that when this air-raid is heard, that everyone and everything stops. Traffic comes to a complete stop and people walking come to a stop for a full two minutes. They will remember in silence, the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. We must remember and teach the next generations about the Holocaust so that we prevent a similar situation from happening.
The Hebrew word for remember is “Zachar” זכר. Many times in the Bible, God tells us to remember…zachar. One of those times is found in Joshua 4:19-24 where we find the Israelites leaving Egypt where they had been enslaved by the Pharoah for several hundred years. God heard the cries of the people, raised up Moses to deliver them and now the only thing keeping them from the Promised Land is the Jordan River.
As the priests carried the ark of the covenant into the flooded river, the waters stopped flowing. The people crossed easily. After they had all crossed, on dry land, the river began to flow. God had again entered history and had brought a wonderful deliverance to His people!
Of course, the crossing of the river is the main point here. But throughout the story there is something else that catches our attention. “Stones” are an important part of this story. The people take stones from the river and place them in a heap. The end of the story is not the crossing of the river, but the pile of stones and their significance.
The story itself tells us the purpose of the heap of stones. They are to be a memorial of this event. When those who come later, those who have not experienced this great revelation of God, see the stones and ask about them, then the story of God’s great act for the people is to be remembered.
Today, as Israel mourns the Holocaust, many visit the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. God wants us to remember history. Not only the history carefully recorded in the Bible, but the significant history since the Bible was written. Take a moment and remember the Holocaust and vow to never let it happen again! Zachar!