• Gabbai

Tazria/Metzora – The Voice of Jacob

At the March of the Living ceremony earlier this month Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, child survivor and former Chief Rabbi of Israel, addressed the participants, raising the question that troubles so many of us: Will the next generation still remember?

So many of us are haunted by this question. The survivors among us today are all child survivors, and a time will come when that generation will no longer be among us. Organizations, museums and outreach centers are working hard to preserve the memories through survivor testimonies, through educational programs and through publicity in the form of human rights issues. But will this be enough? Polls show significant proportions of the American public are unfamiliar with the Holocaust, although this is still a minority. What will the polls show 20 years from now?

Rabbi Lau assures us that we, at least, will not forget. Jews will continue to remember. Not because of our dedication to this cause, but because the world will not allow us to forget.

Anti-Antisemitism waxes and wanes, but it is ever-present. The Talmud states that the way of the world is for Esau to hate Jacob, and that has unfortunately been proven an accurate prediction throughout our tumultuous history. The Torah rarely presents judgments of character, but it does offer narratives that shed some light on Biblical characters. We can speculate a great deal about Jacob’s character based on the stories the Torah shares with us, but one particular narrative is very telling. When Isaac instructed Esau to hunt some game to inspire his blessing Jacob was pressured by his mother to “intercept” this blessing, bringing meat and bread his mother had prepared. Jacob impersonated Esau, but his voice caused Isaac to hesitate. Isaac, who had lost his eyesight, relied on his senses of hearing, touch and smell. Upon feeling Jacob’s arms and neck, which were wrapped in goatskins, Isaac exclaim