Yom HaShoah 5782 – In Memory of

“Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore, prophecy, and say to them: Thus saith the L-rd G-D: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.” – Ezekiel 37:11-12. JPS 1917 Tanach

Bolechov martyrs from my family:

Chaim ben Yaakov (Schnee):

Elka Schnee (nee Fasberg)

Gitel bas Chaim

Isaac ben Chaim

Sarah bas Chaim

Sason ben Chaim

Yaakov ben Chaim


Sosie bas Chaim

Joseph ben Melamed

Chaje Ruchel bas Chaim

~~~~~ ~~~~~

Yehoshua Mordechai ben Yaakov (Schnee):

Ziona Schnee (nee Weisbard)

Moses ben Yehoshua Mordechai

Chana Schnee (nee Turkel)

Yaakov ben Moses

Celina bas Moses

Tzila bas Moses

Israel ben Yehoshua Mordechai (Schnee)

Sorke Schnee (nee Goldfischer)

Aryeh ben Israel

Tzinah bas Israel

Basia bas Yehoshua Mordechai (Kornblitz, nee Schnee)

Gotshalk ben Basia

Hirsch Ber Tzvi Dov ben Yehoshua Mordechai

Kalman ben Yehoshua Mordechai

Esther bas Yehoshua Mordechai

Reisel bas Yehoshua Mordechai

note: Certain genealogical information set forth herein is based upon research performed on the website of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland, Inc. (www.jri-poland.org).

Yahrzeit: Yaakov ben Dovid

erev 29 Kislev 5782 (December 3, 2021)

in memorial: 29 Kislev 5779

on the occasion of my father’s third yahrzeit:

“This world is like a lobby for Olam Haba, the World-to-Come;

prepare yourself in the lobby, so that you may enter the Banquet Hall.”

– Pirkei Avos 4:21

The Jewish Sages envision the reward for a righteous life as a Great Banquet, where at the end of history we will partake of a great feast, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be present. In other words, this life is a test, how we live this life, determines the quality of our place in Olam Haba, the World-to-Come.

My father lived his life with a profound sense of emunah in H’Shem (belief in G-d). This can be demonstrated by a few examples: Years ago, my father would walk six miles to synagogue on Yom Kippur, and he would stay there for the entire day. Many years prior, when he was in the Korean War, on a particular night of fierce fighting in the trenches, he prayed to G-d, that if lived, he would stop smoking on the Sabbath. He lived, and he kept his commitment; he eventually stopped smoking altogether.

My father passed away towards the end of the month of Kislev, when the light reflected from the moon is barely visible. Yet, that day was also the fifth day of Chanukah. If you envision a menorah with the shamosh, the servant candle in the middle, there are four places for candles to the left of the shamash, and four to the right. On the eve of the fifth day of Chanukah, we light five candles. Therefore, that is the first day of Chanukah, in a sense, when there is more light than darkness.

In parashas Vayechi, the narrative begins “vayechi Yaakov” – “and Jacob lived.” Although the passage speaks of his death, the word “vayechi,” meaning “life,” implies “something that exists permanently” – that is the soul that continues to live. As the Sages say, “Jacob lives.” I believe that my father lives, and that after the Tehillas HaMeisim, the Resurrection of the Dead, he will partake of the Great Banquet, that marks the beginning of Olam Haba, the World-to-Come. May we all merit, to also partake of the Great Banquet.

Tradition & Remembrance

Halloween, traditionally known as All Hallow’s Eve was originally a solemn vigil that preceded All Hallow’s Day (All Saints Day) on November 1st. Although, apparently, there were pagan origins to the day itself, before the Church’s innovation, for Western civilization in Europe, the day connoted respect for the dead, within a traditional Christian framework. Therefore, having superseded the pagan origins, the intent was to prepare for the remembrance of the saints the next day, as well as all of the departed souls, remembered on All Soul’s Day (November 2nd). It was believed that prayers could be offered on behalf of the dead who were in purgatory, that they might eventually be freed in order to make their ascent to Heaven.

In the Jewish tradition, we have nothing of the sort on this day that is reckoned according to the Gregorian calendar. Rather, we have Yizkor, and other traditions to commemorate our loved ones who have passed away. Yet, there are some striking similarities, if I dare to mention some of them. When we say the kaddish prayer, in particular, this is a prayer that specifically praises G-d, and does not mention death at all. Because the dead can no longer perform mitzvoth (good deeds), we say prayers on their behalf, so to speak, to bring them closer to G-d; thus, I believe that even if they are in Gehenna, their souls may benefit for the good. When lighting a yahrzeit (memorial) candle, on the anniversary of the death of a loved one, a traditional prayer requests an aliyah (ascent) for the soul of the one who has passed away. Respect for the dead is of the utmost importance in Judaism.