In Our Virtual Mishkan, Reflections: Rabbi Zachary Goodman

Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

(For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon)

Lest we forget, on this Remembrance Day, we give our heartfelt thanks to all the women and men who have served and continue to serve the Canadian Armed Forces. The freedom and security that we enjoy each day as citizens of this great nation are made possible by the sacrifices of our brave service people. As is true with almost every event since March, this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies have looked and felt different due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we have not allowed our necessity to remain physically distant hinder our commitments to honouring our fallen heroes. One of the most powerful tributes I witnessed was a video published by The Royal Canadian Legion. I hope you will join me in watching this video and taking part in a moment of silence.

I would also like to share with you, the stirring words of Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, who wrote this prayer for the members of the armed forces:

Our God and God of our ancestors, watch over those who defend our nation. Shield them from harm and guide them in all their pursuits. Grant their commanders’ wisdom and discernment in their time of preparation and on the battlefield. May the loss of life for any of Your creations be avoided. Grant healing to those who are wounded and safe redemption to those who fall into enemy hands. For those who have lost their lives, grant consolation and Your presence to those who were close to them. We also ask that You stand with our Prime Minister and all our military leaders. Guide them in their decision making so that Your will is implanted within their minds. May it be Your will that world hostilities come to a rapid end and that those in service are returned safely to their families. We pray that freedom will dawn for the oppressed and fervently we hope that the vision of Your prophet will come to be: “Let nation not lift up sword against nation nor learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) May this vision come to pass speedily and in our day. Together we say: Amen.[1]

Holy Blossom has within its fold many members, past and present, who served our country faithfully. Today we honour each of them and make a commitment to remembering their stories. This Remembrance Day, we call to mind the service of Rabbi Jacob Eisen (z”l), who before serving as an Associate Rabbi at Holy Blossom in 1954-1961, served as Senior Chaplin in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.  We remember Rabbi Eisen with gratitude and admiration.

Et ta valeur, de foi trempée, protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Your valour, steeped in faith, will protect our homes and our rights. . . .

God keep our land glorious and free!


[1] For Members of the Armed Forces, by Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, adapted. Used by permission.

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