The decision last year by some of the Jewish residents in Gaza to wear orange stars as a symbol of their protest against the policy of disengagement caused a stir in the Jewish community. Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti Defamation League, said that, "The honor of the Holocaust is being de-legitimized." Israel President Moshe Katzav called the use of these stars "Unlawful." The BBC reported that many see this protest as "trivializing Nazi Genocide." In response, Moshe Freiman of Gush Katif was widely quoted, "I feel I am a victim of a new expulsion... a Shoah is being visited upon my home."

Speaking to Israel Television, Channel Two, Major General Elazar Stern labeled the use of the evocative emblem, "Madness. If what was done in the holocaust resembles what we are doing to them," he said, "It means the holocaust was not so terrible or unique." He went on to declare that "These are not our people."

Personally, I feel that use of the star was inappropriate because of its inaccurate symbolic application. Nazism was not about expulsion, it was about extermination. If Gush Katif residents adopted a symbol of the Spanish Expulsion I would have been more sympathetic.

I would also support the symbolic use of the star if its symbol were directed against terrorists who destroy Jewish lives.

Many view comparisons between the holocaust and other tragedies as trivializing the holocaust. To my view, invoking the holocaust for the purpose of saving lives enhances its memory.

The "Zachor" Doctrine

I believe that this common perception is rooted in the centrality of the "Zachor" ("Remember!") doctrine to holocaust education. Holocaust educators, for more than half a century, have worked to enshrine its legacy. They built monuments, museums and educational curricula to perpetuate the memory of holocaust victims and to capture their unimaginable suffering.

To solidify its horrible memory, the holocaust has been placed on a pedestal that towers way above the pyramid of world suffering. Holocaust educators have insisted that, for its systematic extermination, and sheer volume, the holocaust must stand alone.

From this perspective, holocaust exclusivity is indeed indispensable. Comparisons between it and other genocides de-legitimize its justly earned pedestal.

"Zachor" Must Lead to "Shamor"

In the fourth of the Ten Commandments the Torah uses the word Zachor, remember the Shabbat. Our sages taught that Shabbat must be remembered throughout the week. Delicacies and new garments should be saved for Shabbat, days of the week should be counted in reference to Shabbat, (i.e., "One day left to Shabbat," "Two days left to Shabbat," etc.). In short, nurturing the memory of Shabbat is a virtue in and of itself.1

But the Ten Commandments are recorded twice in the Torah. In the second recording (Deuteronomy 5:12) the Torah replaces the word Zachor with Shamor, which means safeguard the Shabbat. This tells us that remembering should lead to safeguarding.

The Shamor Doctrine

The Zachor doctrine in holocaust education is virtuous. But to my view, holocaust education should also contain a Shamor doctrine. This component must lead to concrete steps that would safeguard our future against similar threats.

Viewed through the Shamor prism, the holocaust is never trivialized when compared to other tragedies for the purpose of saving lives. On the contrary, the more lives it saves, the more hallowed is its memory.

Zachor = Love; Shamor = Fear

In addressing the Shabbat Zachor/Shamor dichotomy, Nachmanidies cites the rabbinic dictum that Zachor instructs us to observe the Shabbos rituals while Shamor instructs us to abide by its laws.2

Nachmanidies argues that Zachor is achieved through love but Shamor is achieved through fear. Love for G‑d inspires us to remember him on Shabbat and observe its rituals. Fear of G‑d deters us from violating his will through transgression of the Shabbat laws.3

I would argue that, similarly, the Zachor component of holocaust education inspires a loving memory of its victims while the Shamor component deters us from complacency. It demands that we heed its fearful lessons and take necessary steps to safeguard against them.

Both must be taught, but emphasis must shift according to the safety concerns of the day.

Time Sensitive

The Zachor requirement to remember Shabbat applies to the weekdays leading up to Shabbat, but the Shamor requirement to safeguard Shabbat commences with the onset of Shabbat.4 In a similar vein, the holocaust Zachor doctrine must be emphasized during times of safety and security. But when Jewish lives are at stake the Shamor doctrine must be amplified.

Internal and External

G‑d carefully chose the first text of the Ten Commandments according to the audience in attendance. Before the Ten Commandments were offered to the Jews G‑d offered them to other nations. Each, for their own reasons, refused to accept.

For the sake of fairness, G‑d made the same offer to each nation. The text of the Ten Commandments that was offered to the Jewish nation was verbatim to what the others were offered. Wanting to make the commandments relatively easy to accept, G‑d didn't include a requirement to safeguard the Shabbat in the initial text, only a requirement to remember it. Remembering Shabbat is far easier then safeguarding it.

The second text, which was written exclusively for the Jewish nation, was slightly amended. Certain that Jews would accept the safeguarding requirement of Shabbat, G‑d included it in the later text.5

In application to holocaust education, one might infer that when amplifying the holocaust lessons to the world at large it is appropriate to focus exclusively on the Zachor. But when teaching it to our own children we must view the Shamor doctrine as equal to that of the Zachor, if not more so.6