I have met many Holocaust survivors and am constantly amazed, not by the scars and stories that they bear, but by how normal they seem. I have never been able to fathom the strength and courage that would allow one to recover from the shattering of an entire way of life and to go on living. How did that pitiful remnant manage to recover, remarry and redeem Judaism for a new generation? How did they have the bravery to bring new children into a world that they knew could be so evil?

It takes a special brand of resilience to begin again against such odds and to raise one's children in hope and not horror.

It takes a special brand of resilience to begin again against such oddsTowards the conclusion of the Book of Leviticus, the Torah discusses the unfortunate circumstance of a Jew so weighed down by poverty and problems that he can find no other recourse to service his debts than to sell himself as a slave to a local non-Jew.

We have a religious obligation to redeem our fellow Jews from slavery. The Torah commands:

One of his brothers should redeem him. Or his uncle, or his uncle's son, or any other relative should redeem him. (Leviticus 25:48-9)

Family has the first responsibility, followed by the rest of the nation.

It's a beautiful commandment that reflects our universal obligation to our brethren and the fact that all Jews bear responsibility for each other. Your pain is mine, and you, in turn, would do anything in your power to relieve my distress.

However, look at the examples the Torah brings of the family members who are expected to step forward in support: brothers, uncles, cousins. Surely there is a closer relative who is not even mentioned! What about a father? Why isn't he expected to redeem his own son? What about a parent's responsibility to his own child?

Obviously the Torah is demonstrating the practical difference between a parent and a friend or relative. We're discussing someone who has sold himself to a non-Jew. Everyone else might be there for you when things go wrong, solving the problem and freeing you from prison, but a parent would have made sure that you never fell into such desperate circumstances in the first place.

A father or mother cares for their own child absolutely. Just like we can never separate ourselves from our Father in Heaven, so long as our physical parents are alive they stand by our side and protect us from prison. The fact that this slave felt so desperate and abandoned that he sold himself in the first place is proof that his parents were no longer alive.

They couldn't afford to degenerate into bitterness and despair; they had to live for their children and bring them securityWhen Holocaust survivors crawled out of Europe and into the future, they made a commitment to their forthcoming children: to live for them and protect them under all circumstances and in all times. They couldn't afford to degenerate into bitterness and despair because they had to live for those children and bring them security.

As long as we have our parents, they will save us from danger and loss; and, by making that commitment to us they, in turn, find the courage and reason to live.

And we, the children and grandchildren of the Holocaust generation make a reciprocal commitment to our children. We will not delay, falter or despair. We will pass on that spirit of faith and courage that we inherited from the greatest of all generations to our children and ensure that they, in turn, accept their responsibilities for our collective future.