Tonight is the evening of the Tenth of Tevet, a fast day commemorating long ago sorrows that have since been superseded by newer ones. Originally created to commemorate the siege of Jerusalem that led to its fall, the day was chosen soon after the creation of the State of Israel as the day to say Kaddish for those lost in the Shoah.
The way we choose to commemorate communal sorrows is indicative of the peculiar relationship between the Jewish People and time. For most cultures, a memorial day is a day for transcending sadness. Pomp and ceremony keep the events in mind, while rising above them.
Our way is different. We intentionally relive. We fast as if we could still alter the outcome. We refuse to come to terms.
This is as it should be. We should not “come to terms”. We should not accept what has been done to us, whether as individuals or as a people. To do so would be to excuse these things, and so pave the way for them to happen again. Yes, we are more than our losses. We have lived on, and we will continue to do so. But that does not diminish the losses, nor does it make them any easier to bear. If we are to come to terms at all, let us come to terms with the fact that there are things we will never recover, things we will never understand.
Let us come to terms with the fact that we can live despite our losses, but never in negation of them.