Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tisha B'Av 2010

Tisha B'Av 2010 - Why Mourning AND Recovery are Sacred
I appreciate Brad Hirschfield's take on the video of a survivor dancing at a concentration camp to the tune of "I Will Survive."  (You can find the video at the below link.)  Rabbi Hirschfield writes:
In that spirit, I found this video of Holocaust survivor Adolk Korman dancing with his family in the very places where he was victimized 65 years ago to be truly beautiful. I appreciate that others may find sacrilegious what I find to be sacred, but how different is that than those early rabbis who were busy creating Judaism 65 years after the collapse of the Temple in Jerusalem? Like Mr. Korman and his family, they chose to celebrate life even in those places where they had suffered. Like Mr. Korman and his family, they sang and danced in the shadow of those places where they had seen their loved ones perish and their spiritual center burned. I am sure that then as now, some people felt that such behavior was tasteless, inappropriate, disrespectful, insensitive, etc. But were it not for people whose love of life triumphs over their sadness in the face of past death, we would never create a future. We need not forget the past in order to move beyond it. And that is a truth which Adolk Korman, his film-maker daughter and the sages of the Talmud all appreciated. I am grateful to them all.
His point is well taken.  The ability to dance and celebrate, despite tragedy and near destruction, is what has enabled the Jewish people to survive.  I hesitate to criticize a survivor, yet it seems to me that it does matter where you dance (and perhaps even when).  A concentration camp can only be a cemetery.  I think I would only be able to cry there.  I am thankful that Adolk Korman has survived and found the courage to sing and dance.  And so given that he is a survivor he can dance wherever he wants.  Like him I am not much for mourning, even on this day of Tisha B'Av.  I see not destruction and past tragedies but only celebration and dancing.  That is the only mindset that will carry us forward.  

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