This week, millions across the world paused to remember and honor the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. This year those memories were augmented by the somber reality that the hate which led to the Holocaust still exists, as we were so harshly reminded on October 7.

The calamities which befell the Jewish people over the centuries, and the hate which drives them, can make us question our world and our future in it. Yet the Jewish response to hate has always been remarkable and unconventional.

The tragedies which befell the Jewish people, and specifically those who went through those tragedies, have a place of the highest honor and veneration in our people's consciousness. We are eternally humbled by, and grateful for, the tremendous sacrifice of millions of Jews throughout history to keep the Jewish people and Judaism alive.

Yet in a testament to the eternal Jewish spirit, these tragedies have never been used to define our people. They certainly did not become the reason for legitimizing the Jewish people, our faith or our eternal connection to the Land of Israel.

The most profound reality which resulted from all these hardships has been the miraculous Jewish ability to not only emerge stronger than before, but to convert those very calamities into miraculous energy. 

Let's move away from this for a few moments, and wind the clock back over a century to one of history's most famous bus rides. It was 1905, and a young, still unknown physicist named Albert Einstein was riding the bus in Berne, Switzerland. 

He turned around to look at the large clock in the city square, and was hit with an impossible idea that would change history. If he could travel at the speed of light, and ride right alongside the light beams from the clock, the time on the clock would not advance. Time itself, trailblazed Einstein, was actually a creation and could be stopped or warped. Furthermore, went Einstein, space/time could be pierced by tremendous force, thereby releasing untold amounts of energy buried within the very matter of the universe. Thus was born the Theory of Relativity. 

Across Europe, in 1905, the very same year that the Theory of Relativity was born, another theory of relativity was born. This theory was a breakthrough in the world of Torah, and Chassidic philosophy in particular. In 1905 the fifth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Sholom Dovber known as the Rebbe Rashab, started a 500 page long discourse that spelled out his 'Theory of Relativity'. All of reality - time and space in particular - were G‑d’s creations and could be pierced, with the result being unprecedented releases of spiritual energy.

How was this fabric of our spiritual universe pierced? Through the ups and downs of life, especially the difficulties of Jewish history. All that pain was not for naught. Just like piercing the very fabric of the universe produces nuclear fission and unimaginable quantities of energy, so too did the hardships and antisemitism in Jewish history pierce our reality, puncturing our universe. And just like nuclear power which is unleashed from the puncturing of reality, the Jewish people have managed to transform eons of unbearable, unimaginable pain into unprecedented energy for the good.

Einstein's theory of relativity could not be proven, however, until it was actually observed in the universe. In 1919 this proof was found in a solar eclipse in Africa (the gravity of the sun was seen to bend the light around it). In that same year, 1919, the Rebbe Rashab was concluding another very long (over 1000 page) essay essentially proving that his theory of relativity directed all facets of G‑d’s creation and could be found everywhere.

But nuclear fission, i.e. piercing the universe with force, was not the end of the story. In 1951, years of scientific research produced a new way to unleash the power of the universe. Scientists discovered that you did not have to split atoms to unleash power. There was another way. Fusion. You could produce even greater energy, by fusing atoms together. 

Nuclear fusion, which fuses atoms together to produce incomprehensible quantities of energy, is much more powerful than nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion is what powers the sun and stars.

The Jewish ‘theory of relativity’ also had a major advance in 1951. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who inherited the leadership of Chabad in 1951, began to teach that the greatest spiritual power which G‑d placed in the universe did not have to be unleashed (only) by fission, i.e. by transforming tremendous pain which 'punctures our reality' into goodness. The Rebbe taught that this could be accomplished by 'fusion' as well. By fusing the many facets of our personal lives, and the Jewish people as a whole, into a single, positive unit. This is accomplished by living in such an uplifted, positive state that reality itself is changed. Pain was not necessary anymore.

While this new Jewish 'fusion' involved far less pain than 'fission', it was also very challenging in its own way. It’s hard to remain relentlessly upbeat and caring. It’s hard to trust that G‑d is meticulously managing every detail in the world, to the extent that we have nothing to worry about. Jewish ‘fusion’ - adopting a worldview where everything in the word is fused together into one , positive entity, cared for by one Creator - is tough. But it works.

So as we move forward in Jewish history, we bow our heads in awe and gratitude to the countless Jews whose sacrifice, whether in Egyptian slavery, Spanish Inquisitions, the Holocaust, pogroms in Israel or in the IDF, brought us to where we are. And we can take it up from this point onwards. With every smile, every Mitzvah, every act of caring for our fellow Jews we can add light, faith and love to our world. We can prove, once again, that the Jewish people, the Torah and the G‑d-given Jewish connection to the land of Israel are here to stay.

As Albert would say, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Rabbi Avrohom