This year more than most, I did some serious introspection on Yom Kippur. Like anyone else I have my moments of introspection throughout the year, but as it is for many, on Yom Kippur it’s a priority, and on this Yom Kippur it was more of a priority than usual. As I regularly put my opinions out there for people to read, and I may have some influence on those who take the time to read them, I needed to come to a personal conclusion as to whether or not I am taking the correct approach. As I was doing this, 2 words kept popping into my head. Those 2 words were Never Again.
Unless someone is supremely egotistical there is no way they can be 100% sure their methods are always correct. However, often they can be sure their motivation is pure. My personal motivation, one ingrained in me by my personal background as the son of Holocaust survivors, is to do my part, however small it may be, to fight against evil, be it blatant or deceptive. For me that is the meaning of Never Again. I believe it is critical to the survivor of the Jewish people and to all of all civilization to be aggressive instead of passive when confronted with threats. We must always try to do what is right, but as my father of blessed memory taught me, that sometimes means not being very nice. But when the words Never Again reverberate through my very soul, I am far more concerned about our safety than I am about whether or not I am being nice.
The 18 year old soldiers fighting in the IDF or the American military are more heroic than I will ever be, but we all have our war. To me Never Again means exposing and damaging threats within my own personal capabilities, to whatever extent my efforts have an impact. If that impact is merely galvanizing others than it’s already a worthy fight.
We all must do what we think is right. What is important is that we at the very least do something, for apathy and inaction can and ultimately will be our worst enemy. I have no doubt that the concept of Never Again is as important to those reading it as it is to me. That doesn’t mean it has the same meaning. Which leaves me with the question, what does Never Again mean to you?
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