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Section: Galus & Geula   Category: Galus
The Very Last Martyr
I used to think that the biggest "Nebach" in the Holocaust were those died moments before being liberated.  To come so far and suffer so much, only to end up with the same fate as those who were relieved of their agony long ago, and just before it was all over.  They knew freedom was at the doorstep.  Their liberators were within earshot.  But no, it was not to be.

Rav Shmuel Hominer, in Olas Tamid asks the famous question, why after not seeing Yosef for 22 years did Yaakov feel the need to say Krias Shema and the moment of their emotional reunion?  He explains that the pasuk says "V'Ahavta Es HashemElokecha... Bichol Nafshicha ", you must love Hashem even if he takes your life.  There is nothing more precious to a person than life itself even for someone whose life is full of pain and suffering.  Certainly for someone whose life is full of happiness and joy, giving up his life is that much more difficult.  Nevertheless the torah demands Ahavas Hashem to the point where you willforego all this for the sake of Hashem.

Yaakov Avinu suffered terribly for 22 years, grieving for his beloved son.  Now at the time of his reunion, he teaches his children, who are all watching his every action very carefully at this moving ceremony, that even on the cusp the greatest moment of his life, he is willing toforego his own pleasure and give it to Hashem.  He declares "Amusa HaPa'am", even now I am prepared to die for Hashem and give up the warm embrace of my long lost son.

Every Jew murdered in the Holocaust Hy"d was a holy martyr, Al Kiddush Hashem.  But surely a special place is reserved in Gan Eden for those who lived long enough to see a glimpse of the future and then give up their neshamos Al Kiddush Hashem.  It was Ahavas Hashem at its most selfless.

Today we hear the footsteps of Moshiach louder and louder as he gets closer.  Surely we all want to survive to see the bright light that we have waited and suffered for, for so long.  The great light never seen before in history.  The humbling of the nations, the slaughter of the Malach HaMaves, the Nissim and Niflaos that will dwarf Yetzias Mitzrayim.  We have heard and read so much about those sacred times and now we ourselves are within reach of living through something more grandiose.  Does anybody want to be the last martyr?  Not really.  But oh what a lesson in Ahavas Hashem it would be.
RELATED ARTICLES:Ahavas Hashem  galus  Holocaust  krias shema  mesiras nefesh  Moshiach  Parshas Vayigash  Rav Shmuel Hominer

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