This week is called “Shabbos Nachamu,” the Sabbath of Consolation, as “Nachamu” is the first word (and second, as G-d tells His prophets to “console, console My nation”) of the Haftorah. It is a prophecy that Jerusalem will one day be rebuilt — that even the most horrific chapters of our history are all pieces of a Divine Plan for the world.
One of the greatest miracles of Jewish history is the simple fact that we are still here. None of the nations that conquered and dispersed us remains true to its beliefs of millennia ago, if they even remain a distinct people. Yet despite being a minority scattered around the globe, the Jews of Yemen, Azerbaijan and Morocco honor the same G-d and same Torah as those in Russia, Hungary, Germany and now the Americas.
To add to the miracle, the Torah predicted with complete confidence that all of this would happen. Rabbi Ezriel Tauber, himself a Holocaust survivor, described lecturing on faith, perseverance and rebirth during those terrible years. Afterwards, another survivor approached him, simply unable to believe that the Torah and its commentaries could possibly have been written prior to 1940!
In this Parsha itself, we find the portion of “Shema Yisrael,” the fundamental declaration of the Jewish faith. “Hear Oh Israel, HaShem our G-d, HaShem is One.” The seeds of consolation are found within it, reminding us that we are commanded to serve G-d “with all our souls, all our might, and all our resources.” Even the loss of our lives, strength and money, when they honor G-d’s Holy Name, are a great Mitzvah, and we know those who lost their lives in this fashion are honored as martyrs in the World of Truth.
May we all speedily see the fulfillment of the prophecies of a rebuilt Temple, and a united Jewish people living in peace in its land.