In this week’s Parsha, we learn the tragic story of Nadav and Avihu, the two sons of Aharon who died after offering a “strange fire” to Hashem. Moshe gives Aharon and his remaining sons special instructions: “do not grow your hair and do not tear your garments, that you will not die and He will be angry with the whole congregation, and your brothers, all the house of Israel, will mourn the fire that Hashem burned” [Lev. 10:6].

Because Aharon and his sons were those who did the inaugural services in the Tabernacle, with none to replace them, they were told not to follow standard practices of mourning. In fact, it is from this verse that we learn that to tear an outer garment and to not get a haircut (or shave) are Jewish mourning practices. But it was critical that the services in the Tabernacle continue, and that the Jewish People go forward—the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, was never to observe these mourning practices, and with no other Kohanim, neither could Aharon’s sons. The Jewish People are eternal.

When the Nazis came to Lublin, Poland, they set up a “Jewish area” and demanded the Jews assemble. The commander insisted they sing to celebrate being herded into a ghetto.

Early in the 20th Century, the famous cantor Yossele Rosenblatt recorded a Yiddish tune, “Lomir zich eberbetin, Ovinu shebashomayim” [Let us make up (and be friends again), our Father in Heaven]. One of the Jews started singing this song, but few joined him, and the German soldiers began beating the Jews for not singing.

Then, someone started singing loudly, the same tune but with new lyrics: “Mir veln zey iberlebn,” we will outlive them. The crowd joined in with genuine joy and enthusiasm, dancing and singing until the commander was screaming at them to stop.

Today the Jewish People flourish again, while Germans are repulsed when they learn who their ancestors were. The Jews of Lublin were not singing a tune of wishful thinking; they were expressing a simple truth. They knew the Jewish Nation would outlive its oppressors.

Since October 7, we have seen Jews doing more Judaism, not less. That is true both in Israel and even around the world. Those who demonize Israel are doing more than anyone to promote Aliyah, Jews moving to their Holy Land.

The Jewish People are eternal, and neither tragedy nor hatred will change that. We will outlive them, too.

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