A Torah Minute: Anonymous Greatness

By Rabbi Moshe Katz

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Last Sunday was International Holocaust Memorial Day.

This sounds like a cliché, but it’s not.

We need to remember the Holocaust every day.  

And we need to stand in awe of all Holocaust survivors.
How they rebuilt their lives and raised wonderful families.
… A friend sent me a beautiful note about her father.
And I wanted to share it with you.
He was arrested on Kristalnacht and sent to Buchenwald.
Just a few weeks after his liberation, he had a picture taken.
We’ve probably all seen such pictures.
His head was shaved and his face was gaunt and emaciated.
And he carried it in his wallet his entire life.
Why?
I couldn’t believe what she went on to tell me.
Whenever someone needed financial assistance?
He wanted to look at that picture.
And he wanted to be reminded…
How quickly we can all have everything taken away!
And he would respond generously!
What a powerful lesson!
That picture symbolized what the Nazis wanted to do to him.
They wanted to destroy his humanity.
To have him, like an animal, think only of self-preservation.
But he wouldn’t let them.
And used that picture…
To become a better person!

His life is testimony to an idea that the Nazis wanted to destroy.
That every human being has a neshama, a soul.
It gives a person the ability to do G-dly things.
And it can not be destroyed.
… One more thing.
What was his name?
Sorry.
I asked his daughter for his full name.
Her response?
“It must be without his name!
He wouldn’t want anything written about him.
And I feel that I need to respect that.”
That’s the finishing touch to an amazing person!

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