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July 4-7, 2010
Handle with Care
It was early in the summer of 5583 (1743) and Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar was on his deathbed, in Jerusalem. The best doctors had been called in to treat him, but to no avail. In a short while he would leave this world. His wife approached the bed. With tear-swollen eyes, she cried, "When you leave me, I will be all alone in the world. Who will support me? What will become of me?"
Gathering his last bit of strength, he whispered to her: "Do not fear, I will not allow you to starve. After my passing, a rich man will come to you from Constantinople (Ishtanbul) to buy my tefilin. You may sell them to him, but you must warn him that he should guard their sanctity very carefully. When he puts them on, he should not take his mind off of them, and not speak even the slightest mundane conversation."
After the Shloshim [30-day mourning period], a wealthy merchant from Constantinople appeared in Jerusalem, seeking directions to the home of the Ohr HaChaim, as he was known. "Please sell me the tefilin your saintly husband prayed with," he begged Rabbi Chaim's widow upon his arrival. "I'll give you 300 ducats [golden pounds] for them (an enormous sum in those days, enough to support the widow for life)."
"I can sell them to you," she replied, "only if you will treat them with the utmost sanctity." She then delivered the details of her husband's warning. The man agreed, accepting the tefilin with extreme reverence.
Arriving home, the man indeed treated the tefilin with extreme care and sanctity, never taking his mind off them while he had them on -- even for a moment. And from the time he began to wear these tefilin, he experienced an arousal of holiness he never had before. The prayers left his mouth with fervor and great feeling.
ONE DAY the wealthy man was in the main beit midrash (Study Center) in Constantinople, praying with these special tefilin on. Suddenly, one of his young attendants entered and started pestering him with questions related to his business. At first, the man did not react, but continued to pray. But the lad would not relent, and, unable to restrain himself, the man finally answered the question, sharply.
He immediately returned to his prayers, but the words came out clipped and garbled. The special feelings of holiness that he had previously felt had also disappeared. As soon as he realized this, hew felt greatly disturbed, but could not pinpoint the cause of the loss. He certainly did not attribute the change to that one sharp word he had spoken. He innocently thought that perhaps a problem had arisen with one of the letters in the tefilin, and decided to take them to a professional scribe for an examination.
When the sofer opened the tefilin boxes, he and the wealthy man were astounded at what they saw. The parchment of the tefilin was completely blank all the letters had flown away!
Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from http://heichalhanegina.blogspot.com , a strongly recommended site for chasidic bios and stories, and especially music.
Connection: 267th yahrzeit
From: Story #657 (s5770-42) 15 Tammuz 5770
From the desk of Yerachmiel Tilles firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sefer Chassidim says by saying all the Pesukim that begin and end
with the Letter NUN Is a Segulah to be protected from Ayin
In the city of Zavanitz there were smugglers who would smuggle goods without paying the levied taxes and there was rampant desecration of the Shabbos. The Apta Rav, Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel was greatly upset by their behavior and sharply rebuked them.
Rav Shmelka, the son of Rav Moshe Leib of Sassov wished to travel and visit the Apter however since he hailed from Zavanitz he was worried that the Apter would ask him from where he was from and upon hearing that he was from Zavanitz he would not let him even cross his threshold!
His friends advised him to completely ignore any questions about where he was from and simply to introduce himself as Rav Moshe Leib Sassover's son. And so it was that when the shamash asked him who he was he told him the son of the Sassover. When the Apter heard this he ran over to Reb Shmelka and greeted him warmly shaking his hand with both hands, he lit candles in his honor, donned fner clothes in his honor and seated him in a special chair reserved for honored guests shrugging off all protests saying "Why, but you are my rebbe's son!"
While Rav Shmelka was thus seated the Apter Rav told him, "let me tell you a story about when I was the Rabbi of Kolbesov. I was back then a young man, an avrech and I lived in the house set aside for the Rav. Now this house was vey large and my small family occupied only one wing. The winters were freezing and my salary was barely enough to feed us and certainly not enough to squander on heating such a large home. So though it was furnished we lived in only one wing.
I sat and learned lishma, sincerely for the sake of heaven and I had plenty of free time since it was a small city with few affairs that needed my attention or intervention. I often studied together with my son and as we were immersed in our studies lishma nothing disturbed us. We were not chassidim, and since our primary avodah was Torah study we even looked upon their ways with disdain and counted ourselves as misnagdim or opponents to chassidus.
One day two anonymous travelers passed by and knocked at my window and asked if I had room for lodgers and guests. Why, yes I answered, the entire second wing is at your disposal. They unloaded their luggage and made themselves at home. I noticed that they seemed like holy individuals and whatever conversations they had among themselves always sounded lofty and that they spoke about things pertaining to Avodas Hashem, yet I was too busy with my studies to take their "idle chatter," seriously. I thought that my derech and path was correct and shrugged them off.
They were my guests for some three days and on the third day as they prepared to continue on their way they came to take their customary leave of me. One of them began to engage me in conversation and to tell me some story. I was greatly troubled since they were detracting from my learning and from my sincere Torah study, yet it would have been rude and ill mannered for me to just interrupt him and so I listened politely as I could. When he finished the first story he began to tell me another one! At this point my hair stood on end as I was so disturbed at this waste of my precious time. When he finished the other guest began to tell me a tale as well and the pain I felt was death itself! Finally they finished the third story and left on their way.
Some three months passed and I found that I understood the meaning of the first story and that I had needed it. Some three more months passed and I found that I understood the need I had for the second story, and three months later for the third story. I was shocked to see how they were able to understand what I would need and what would befall me over the course of this entire year, I understood that this must be through ruach hakodesh and I hoped that Hashem would merit me another opportunity to reunite with these two holy individuals. Two years later I looked up out the window and I saw them both travelling in their carriage past my window. I could not miss such an opportunity! I ran outside to catch them and draw their attention. I was in such a rush I did not dress myself in my coat or my spudek (the fur hat worn by important personages such as the town Rabbi) and I ran in my shirt after their coach chasing it across town. When I finally caught up with them near the inn I asked them in between catching my breath as to their destination. "We are headed to Lizhensk, to the Rebbe Reb Elimelech," they explained. "Can I join you?," I asked. They agreed on the condition that I go to the market while they prayed and get some provisions for the journey such as some rolls, bagels and butter. I completely forgot myself, town rabbi or not and in just my shirt I went and bought the bread and the butter. When I returned they had finished their prayers and told me to hurry and get ready. I quickly ran home, got dressed and grabbed my tallis and tefillin and jumped on their carriage. "We are taking you to the Rebbe Elimelech," they explained, "since we can tell that your soul's root is bound to his." And so they did. The Rebbe Elimelech became my mentor and I became a disciple. Those two holy tzadikim were your father, Rav Moshe Leib Sassover and Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.
Afterwards Rav Moshe Leib would say often that he should get shidduch gelt a broker's fee for making the match between the Apter and the Rebbe Elimelech.
To this the Berditchever responded, "and I should get double your fee since I also brought the Rebbe Reb Elimelech and the Rebbe Reb Zisha to the Maggid of Mezritch!" [and that is a story for a different time. . .]
(Kisvei Rav Yoshe #11 p116; Devarim Areivim II #2 p53-54)
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From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi
The Ostrover related how was once together with the Chidushe HaRim (The first Rebbe of the Gerrer dynasty) at a bris. During the festive meal which follows the Chidushei HaRim asked a chassid from Yaraslov who was present to tell a story out loud.
This is the story that he told:
There once was a chassid of the Berditchiver whose trade and occupation was dealing in livestock especially oxen. One time while his herd of oxen was particularly large, the value of the livestock took a deep plunge and he stood to lose a considerable sum of money. He traveled to his Rebbe in Berditchev and explained the grave situation to him.
The Berditchiver answered him with a question, "Do you ever deal with mitzvos? Are there any mitzvos that often come your way?"
"Why yes," answered the livestock dealer, "I happen to be a mohel, and I perform circumcisions."
"Now tell me," queried the Berditchiver, "What do you do if after you perform the bris the child heaven forbid bleeds a lot?"
"Why, then I take the proper medical measures," and the chassid explained how he bandaged and and took care of such an unfortunate infant.
His holy rebbe then said, "Here I am given you a special medicinal herb, if heaven forbid any such child begins to bleed profusely after the bris milah, then grind this up and apply it to the wound and with Hashem's aid it will be healed and the bleeding will stop immediately."
The chassid thanked his rebbe and then again he asked him regarding his issue with the oxen.
"But I have already told you!" exclaimed the tzadik, "If heaven forbid the baby bleeds, apply this medicinal herb and G-d willing he will heal and the bleeding will stop immediately."
At this point in the story the Chiddushei HaRim interrupted the story teller saying "we can see clearly that this livestock dealer was a true chassid, since he did not ask again about the oxen and he understood that his rebbe's answer was relevant to his problem!"
The livestock dealer made his journey home and on the way he stopped at the local inn. Somehow the word reached him that the Jewish innkeeper had a son who was uncircumcised. "Why have you not circumcised your son?" asked the dealer. The innkeeper explained in sorrow that his brothers had died as a result of bleeding to death after the bris, heaven save us!
"Do you have any ideas?" asked the innkeeper. "I would give four hundred rubles to anyone who could safely circumcise my son, and spare him the fate of his poor brothers!" declared the innkeeper. "If so, I am a mohel and I will circumcise your son with my own guarantee," said the dealer. He took four hundred of his own rubles ande gave them as a form of security and as a guarantee that he would forfeit them if anything heaven forbid would happen to the baby. The last condition they made was that as a mohel the livestock dealer would have to care for and watch over his charge for four entire weeks after the bris to make sure he would be okay. After the bris milah, the baby began to bleed profusely. The mohel took out the medicinal herb, and bandaged the wound which stopped bleeding immediately.
Meanwhile the value of livestock began to climb steadily higher. When the dealer heard the news he wanted to leave immediately to return home and sell his oxen. However the innkeeper would not let him leave. He reminded him of his four week promise and held the anxious merchant at bay. After several more days passed the market value rose even higher! Again the dealer wished to leave and once more the innkeeper reminded him of his promise and condition and would not allow him to go under any circumstances. Four weeks passed, the mohel/dealer left with eight hundred rubles to his name, his own four hundred and the additional four hundred he had earned.
By this time the market value had inflated and risen very high and when he returned home he sold his entire flock for many times their original price and his profit was very great.
He then returned to Berditchev and thanked his Rebbe for all his help. "Rebbe these four hundred rubles which I earned for the bris are surely yours, and I am giving you a portion in the profits I made selling my oxen as well since it is all to your credit."
When the chassid concluded his tale, the Chidushei haRim turned to him and asked, "Why tell that part too?" (Source: Siach Sarfei Kodesh #3 p118-119)
The 20th of Sivan is the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Jews of Blois, victims of the first ritual murder accusation in France, more than 800 years ago.
Blois is a city in France, on the river Loire, not far from Orleans. It is not a large city (its present population is about 25,000), but it has the "distinction" of being one of very few cities in France, or for that matter in all of Europe, where there has been no Jewish community for the past 800 years. Jews simply shunned that horrible place, where the Jewish community was so cruelly destroyed as a result of a false ritual murder accusation in 1171.
Many have been the false accusations made by the enemies of the Jews as an excuse for killing and robbing them. But none was more wicked than the accusation that Jews require Christian blood for the Passover matzoth. The first such accusation was made in Norwich, England, in 1144. It was repeated in several other British cities in later years. From there it spread to continental Europe, where the blood libel in Blois was the first of many to follow from time to time, down to the latest times (Beilis case in 1911), in practically all Christian lands. This vicious slander cost the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent Jewish men, women, and children. But the hatred it bred among the Christians towards the Jews was one of the main causes of Jewish suffering and persecution in Christian lands throughout the centuries.
The story of the burning of over thirty Jews (forty, according to some accounts), men and women, at Blois was recorded by Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn, a great Talmudic scholar (he was one of the Tosafists) and paytan (religious poet), who lived at that time. Rabbi Ephraim ben Yaakov (born in 1132 and died about the year 1200) witnessed also the terrible massacres perpetrated against the Jews by the Crusaders. He recorded all those tragedies and the heroism of the martyrs, and composed penitential prayers and lamentations in their memory. The following account of the Martyrs of Blois is taken from his historical work.
It happened in the year 4931 (1171). At that time there lived in Blois about forty Jews. One of them, Isaac ben Eleazar, rode up to the river one Thursday, toward evening, shortly before Pesach. It so happened that a stable servant rode up at the same time to water the horse of his master. The Jew bore on his chest an untanned hide, but one of the corners had become loose and was sticking out of his coat. When, in the gloom, the servant's horse, saw the white side of the hide, it was frightened and sprang back, and it could not be brought to the water.
The Christian servant was a simple peasant, who had often heard the priest preach in church that Jews used Christian blood for their Passover matzoth and wine, warning all his flock to keep a watchful eye over their children during the Passover season. Now, when his horse took fright, he hastened back to his master and said: "Hear, my lord, what a certain Jew did. As I rode behind him toward the river in order to give your horse a drink, I saw him throw a little Christian child, whom the Jews have killed, into the water. When I saw this I was horrified and hastened back quickly for fear he might kill me too. Even the horse under me was so frightened by the splash of water, when he threw the child in it, that it would not drink!"
The servant knew that his master would rejoice at the misfortune of the Jews, because he hated a certain Jewess, influential in the city. He was not mistaken, for his master said, "Now I can have my vengeance on that woman and the rest of the Jews."
The next morning the master rode to the ruler of the city, Theobald, son of Theobald, Count of Blois (son-in-law of King Louis VII of France). The Christians called him "the Good," but he was a wicked, cruel man.
When the ruler heard the accusation he became enraged and had all the Jews of Blois seized and thrown into prison, where they were all put into iron chains. The only exception was that influential Jewish woman, Dame Pulcelina, whom the count admired for her wisdom and beauty. She had often been able to get favors from the ruler for the Jewish merchants of Blois. But now, the Count's wife (Alix, daughter of the king) gave strict orders to the servants not to allow her to speak to her husband for fear she might get him to change his mind.
The ruler had no evidence against the Jews, except for that half-wit stable servant. The Count was ready to make a deal with the Jews and free them for a large sum of ransom money. He sent a Jew to the neighboring communities and asked them how much they would give to free their brethren. The Jews consulted with the imprisoned hostages, and the latter advised offering only one hundred pounds, in addition to their uncollected debts from Christian debtors amounting to the sum of one hundred eighty pounds. The Jews in the dungeon told their brethren in other communities not to pay a high ransom for their lives, lest the Christians should find it profitable to imprison Jews for ransom.
However, nothing came of the negotiations, because the Bishop arrived on the scene and insisted that the Jews should be condemned to die, and that he would "prove" their guilt.
The priest told the Count to have the witness tested by the ordeal of water, to discover if he had told the truth. The test was to be arranged as follows: A huge tank would be filled with water, and the servant who "saw" the Jew throw the child into the river would be put into it. If he floated, his words were true; if he sank, he had lied.
The Count of Blois commanded that the test be carried out forthwith. Now the priest had so arranged in advance that the servant should not sink in the water. Such was justice in those days. The Jews were found guilty on the basis of that water test, and condemned to be burned alive.
At the wicked ruler's command they were taken and put into a wooden house around which were placed thornbushes and faggots. As they were led forth, they were told, "You can save your lives if you will leave your religion and accept ours." The Jews refused. They were beaten and tortured to make them accept the Christian religion, but still they refused. Rather, they encouraged each other to remain steadfast and die for the sanctification of G-d's Name.
At the Count's command two of the leading Jews, both kohanim, Rabbi Yechiel the son of Rabbi David haKohen, and Rabbi Yekuthiel the son of Rabbi Judah haKohen, were taken and tied to a single stake to be burned in front of the others, so as to make the others convert. They were both saintly and pious men of great Torah learning, being the disciples of Rabbeinu Yaakov Tam and Rabbeinu Shmuel ben Meir, the grandson of Rashi. A third prominent Jew, Rabbi Judah the son of Aaron, was also tied with them to the stake. At the ruler's command, fire was set to the faggots. The fire spread to the cords on their hands so that they snapped. The three Jews came out of the fire, and called to the Christians who had assembled to watch them die: "By your own laws you should let us go free, for you see that we came out alive from the ordeal by fire!" They struggled to get out, but they were overpowered and pushed back into the house, and the house was set on fire. They came out again and seized one of the executioners and dragged him along with them towards the fire. When they were right at the fire, the armed soldiers pulled themselves together, rescued the Christian from their hands, killed them with their swords, and then threw their bodies into the fire.
A certain Jew by name of Rabbi Baruch ben David haKohen was there and saw all this at that time with his own eyes. He lived in the territory of that ruler and had come there to arrange terms for the release of the Jews of Blois, but unfortunately did not succeed. However, a settlement was made by him for one thousand pounds to save the other jews of that accursed ruler. He also saved the scrolls of the Torah and other sacred books.
This terrible atrocity happened on Wednesday, 20th of Sivan, in the year 4931 (May 26th, 1171). All the facts were written down by the Jews of Orleans, a city close by to that of the martyrs, and made known to Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Rabbi Meir, Rashi's grandson and greatest Rabbi of his time.
It was also reported in that letter that as the flames mounted high, the martyrs began to sing in unison a melody that began softly but ended with a full voice. "The Christians came and asked us, 'What kind of a song is this, for we have never heard such a sweet melody?' We knew it well, for it was the hymn Oleinu -- "It is our duty to praise the L-rd of all... for He has not made us like the nations of the lands...'"
Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn records the amazing fact, as, witnessed by the said Rabbi Baruch, that the bodies of the martyrs were not consumed by fire; only their souls were released. When the crowd saw it, they were amazed and said to one another, "Truly these are saints." For a long time, the thirty one (or thirty two) martyrs of Blois were not allowed to be buried. They were left at the bottom of the hill on the very spot where they were burnt. It was only later that Jews came and buried their bones.
Rabbi Ephraim adds the anguished lament, "O daughters of Israel, weep for the souls that were burnt for the sanctification of the Name, and let your brothers, the entire House of Israel, bewail the burning."
All the communities of France, England, and the Rhineland took upon themselves to observe the 20th of Sivan as a day of mourning and fasting. This was also confirmed by Rabbeinu Yaakov ben Meir, who wrote letters to them informing them that it was proper to fix that day as a twenty-four hour fast day. (Rabbeinu Yaakov Tam died in the third week after the Kiddush Hashem in Blois.)
The Mesirus Nefesh and Self Sacrifice of the Martyr Rav Shlomo of Karlin
On the Shabbos before Rav Shlomo of Karlin left this world, as he went outside before Kiddush he passed by the stable where the horses are kept. When he entered his home he told those assembled that "I have just heard from the horses that there are ominous black tidings coming upon us."
The next morning the local general gave his soldiers two hours of "free time" to do whatever the pleased in Ludmir. They turned the town into a shooting gallery, firing randomly at the Jews, murdering, pillaging and ransacking the place at will. Bullets flew through the air and whizzed by in all directions. The neighing of horses stampeding about and the crazed yells of the Cossacks mixed with cries and shouts of terrified Jews who ran for their lives seeking cover. Many ran to seek refuge in Rav Shlomo of Karlin's beis midrash.
The Rebbe according to most accounts was in the midst of his prayers seemingly oblivious to the terror and fright of those around him. In fact the Karliner went over to the aron kodesh and opening it, he placed his head inside and continued to daven at a lengthy and leisurely pace. The Rebbitzen who was greatly frightened saw what her husband, the Rebbe had done, ran over to him, thinking that he must have fainted since he did not take his head out from the aron kodesh. She grabbed unto his coat and tugged gently to awaken him. Roused from his devotions the Rebbe removed his head from the holy ark, and just then a bullet fired through the window from one of the rifles struck the Karliner in his foot.
According to many at the very same moment that the Rebbe was shot, the wild two hour shooting spree ended as well. The doctors claimed that they could operate but the Karliner would not let them touch him.
The entire week he lay in tremendous suffering with the holy Zohar open before him till finally on Thursday the twenty second of Tammuz his pure and holy soul left this world.
The story of how the Karliner met his end as a martyr begins beforehand. It was originally Rav Nachum of Czernoble who was imprisoned on a false charge of murder during one of the blood libels that some wicked goyim had concocted against him. When the Karliner together with others tried to free him through the usual means, they found tremendous opposition that was so uncharacteristic they realized it must be supernatural. They realized that it was Rav Nachum himself who did not wish to be freed. Surely he was sitting in prison willfully as a sacrifice to nullify some harsh decree against Klal Yisroel. Rav Shlomo of Karlin convinced him to agree to allow himself to be released. When the Czernobler saw that the Karliner had discovered his 'secret' he said, "A hidden thought I had which not even the angels discerned yet this holy Jew has seen it!" And he agreed to allow for his release. The Karliner later remarked, "He dropped that intention [to be a martyr and sacrifice himself for Klal Yisroel] and I picked it up!"
After the Karliner passed away, no one wanted to reveal it to Rav Nachum of Czernoble since the two had been so close. However when Rav Nachum closeted himself, hidden from the world for three days straight they realized that somehow he must have found out. To try and appease and comfort the embittered bereaving Tzadik his followers told him that had the Karliner lived, in his place thousands of Jews would have been killed, yet he was not appeased. "Tens and tens of thousands!" they told him. Yet Rav Nachum remained inconsolable, "he alone is equal to them!" he cried bitterly. Finally when they told him that a forth of Klal Yisroel would have been lost if the Karliner had not taken their place, he was consoled.
Before the decree had already been sealed and the fate of Rav Shlomo of Karlin decided, the matter was revealed from Heaven to the holy tzadik Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the advocate and defender of the Jewish people. The Berditchever stood against the decision and sought to nullify the decree.
When Rav Levi Yitzchak was told that if the Karliner would live a great calamity would befall the people, he paid it no heed nor attention, instead he continued to fight the decree; so great was the Karliner in his eyes.
Yet, when from Heaven the description of the destruction was told to him, and compared to the deaths and destruction of thousands upon thousands, similar to the terrible decrees known as Gezeiros Tach Ve'Tat (1648-1649 C.E., which began on 20 Sivan) during the horrible pogroms that stretched across Eastern Europe. Finally the holy Berditchever gave up and stopped trying to annul and cancel it. He was left with no choice but to accept the harsh decree.
The Tzadikim said that Rav Shlomo Karliner was the Moshiach Ben Yosef of his generation and that his martyrdom sanctified G-d's name and atoned for their sins (just as Moshiach Ben Yosef is martyred and dies for the sins of Klal Yisroel.)
(Kisvei Rav Yoshe #22 p289, #36 p294, #38 p295 and #65 p303; Toldos Shema Shlomo Chapter 10 p141-143;)
More on Kaf Sivan - 20 Sivan:
The 20th of Sivan is a day that was twice designated as a fast day for massacres against European Jewry; once by Rabbeinu Tam and once by the Shach. Special Selichos were said on this day.
Question submitted by Chaim: Why were chazal mesaken [decree] chof [20th] Sivan as a day of mourning for ta'ch v'ta't [massacres during Bogdan Chmielnicki's Cossak uprising] and yet there is so much controversy over Yom Hashoah? Additionally, why has chof sivan, the day of morning for ta'ch v'ta't, fallen out of favor?
Answer by Rav Peretz Moncharsh: I think that a little background information will put things in their proper perspective.
The 20th of Sivan was first designated as a fast day by Rabbeinu Tam after the first Jews were executed because of the accusations of a blood libel. Observation of the fast gradually faded over the ensuing years as that tragedy was overshadowed by the 150 years of the Crusades.
After the [Chmielnicki] massacres of Tach v'Tat when approximately a third of European Jewry was killed, the fast of the 20th of Sivan was reinstituted, as on that date the glorious Jewish community of Nemirov was destroyed by the Cossacks. This decision was made by the Shach and the Vaad Arba Aratzos, and was confirmed by the Shela HaKadosh, Tosafos Yom Tov, Magen Avraham and many other Gedolim.
I'm not sure why it has faded, but probably the following 300 years provided more than their fair share of tragedies to eclipse Tach v'Tat. Also, the enactment seems to have been made specifically for the Jews living in the Polish kingdom.
Yom HaShoah never had the support of a wide array of Gedolim, and in fact the Rabbanut even designated the 10th of Teves as the most appropriate day to commemorate the Holocaust. Furthermore, the date of Yom HaShoah was chosen to commemorate the valor of those who participated in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, and not the tragedy of the 6 million who were murdered. Additionally, Yom HaShoah is in Nissan, a month during which according to halacha we do not engage in public mourning.