In wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, I want to share this story with you.
It’s not an easy story to take in, but it serves as a reminder of unbreakable faith and is a reminder why we should never allow our faith to be denigrated.
This story is about Rabbi Israel Shapiro and his small congregation.
The Rabbi and his people didn’t have much to celebrate, but they were determined to carry out the traditions of Hanukkah.
Women pulled threads from their tattered clothes and twisted them with scraps of fat to make candles. Raw potatoes were used as candle holders to form a menorah.
It was 1943 and Rabbi Shapiro and his people were confined in Bergen-Belsen.
50,000 Jews were killed in Bergen-Belsen including 15 year-old Anne Frank.
Despite the setting, the Jewish inmates of the concentration camp quietly made their way into one of the barracks and began the Hanukkah ceremony which starts with the Three Blessings.
If you’re not familiar with Jewish traditions, the first two blessings we say every night.
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His Commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
Rabbi Shapiro paused and his voice began to break before he said the third blessing which is for the first night of Hanukkah:
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
As the Rabbi finished the third blessing, he began to cry. Israel Shapiro stood alone in front of the congregation, thanking God for enabling them to reach that night.
He stood alone because his beloved wife, his only daughter, his only grandchild and his son-in-law were dead. They didn’t survive to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.
Despite his unimaginable sorrow, Rabbi Shapiro thanked God.
And as he lit a makeshift candle, the Rabbi composed himself and told the weeping survivors in the freezing barracks, “By kindling this Chanukah candle, we are symbolically identifying ourselves with the Jewish people everywhere. Our long history records many bloody horrors our people have endured and survived. We may be certain that no matter what may befall us as individuals, the Jews as a people – with the help of God – outlive their cruel foes and emerge triumphant in the end.”
Rabbi Shapiro’s story is fitting as Hanukkah is about re-dedication to faith and overcoming our most trying times.
Jesus celebrated Hanukkah.
If you feel it’s appropriate in your household, light a candle in the remaining days of Hanukkah as a reminder that there is nothing evil people can do that will ever succeed in separating families from faith and God from His people.
In the coming year, our political adversaries will attempt to divide us.
We experienced a glimpse of that last week when liberal Christians attempted to create a rift among Evangelicals.
We also saw it on Saturday when 25 Jewish House Democrats called for the firing of Jewish senior White House staffer Stephen Miller.
They are creating a façade that pits Jews against Jews and Christians against Christians. We can expect them to take it further by trying to turn Christians against Jews and vice versa.
You and I know that our faith and our values are stronger than that.
The Nazis, despite their horrendous efforts, couldn’t get Rabbi Shapiro to turn against God.
Using his strength as our guide, the Left stands NO CHANCE of getting us to turn against each other.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you so much for your continued support.
To you and your family, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.
— Laura Loomer
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