From Holocaust to rebirth is a yearly theme for our people. This is especially strongly felt in the State of Israel, where one week we observe Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the next week we celebrate Independence Day.This proximity raises an old question about the relationship between the Holocaust and the State of Israel. Was it the Holocaust that enabled the establishment of the state? If this theory is valid, it leads to a very painful question. Did six million Jews have to die in order for the Jewish people to be allowed to have its own independent Jewish state in the Land of Israel?I believe that it is wrong to try to explain why the Holocaust happened. The ways of God are hidden. Any theological explanation that we give for the Holocaust does not satisfactorily resolve the question. All answers are insufficient.It is impossible, even wrong, for us to say that the Holocaust is what led to the establishment of the state.On the other hand, one cannot deny the proximity of the two events. I would imagine that there was some sympathy for our people after the Shoah. But, as a religious person, I believe that the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was part of a divine plan. The time had come to bring the remnants of Israel back to the Land of Israel. That is why I celebrate Israel Independence Day. That is why I say Hallel on that day. I see the hand of God in history.I HAVE long chosen not to be a deep philosophical thinker as to the whys of the Holocaust. But I have chosen to be a religious thinker as to the whys of the State of Israel.The consequence of that is that we must learn the importance of the State of Israel and, even more so, the importance of appreciating the fact that we have it in our time.The Rav, Rabbi Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, wrote what for me is the most powerful essay on religious Zionism. He called it “Kol Dodi Dofek.”The launching pad for his essay was the story in Song of Songs. The beloved of the young lady knocks on her door when she is in bed. She tarries in answering and in opening the door. When she finally gets there and opens the door, he is gone. And she can no longer find him, despite going out of the house to search for him.By analogy, this is the case with the establishment of the State of Israel. We have to hear our beloved, God, knocking on our door and giving us a unique opportunity. We should not blow it! We must open the door quickly.The Rav describes six knocks of God on the door of the Jewish people that invite us to see the hand of God in the establishment of the State of Israel:1. A vital, unprecedented political statement made by the United Nations, including the former Soviet Union and the US, which rarely agreed on anything at that time. The nations of the world came together on behalf of the Jewish people and voted to establish Israel as an independent Jewish state. This ended 2,000 years of Diaspora.2. The fledgling army of the Jewish people won a miraculous battle over an invasion of well-armed regular Arab armies attacking from all of its borders and over Palestinian irregulars from within the country.3. The establishment of the Jewish State of Israel is a convincing theological victory over those who have said that the Jewish people was rejected by God and replaced by a new “Israel” centered in the Vatican in Rome.4. The establishment of Israel is an opportunity to reawaken the hearts, the souls, the minds, and the pride of lost and wayward Jews, especially young people. It can be a vital battle ground against acculturation, integration and assimilation5. The existence of the IDF, a Jewish army that stands up for the survival of the Jewish people the world over, makes a powerful argument that Jewish blood is no longer cheap, to be trampled on by anyone who wishes to do that.6. The Jewish people is no longer stateless. We have a place to go, a safe haven from antisemitism and hatred. Had there been a State of Israel before the Holocaust, how many Jews would have been saved! They would have had a place to go instead of being denied entrance by the nations of the world, including the US.The basic theme is that we have to appreciate the gifts that have been given to us. We have to be appreciative of even the simplest things that we always take for granted. When we wake up daily, we thank God for returning our souls to us. Often we say it by rote, without even thinking about how profound an emotion of gratitude we are expressingIn addition to the horrors of the Holocaust and appreciation for the establishment of the State of Israel, there is one other important point. And that is to have hope. There is always hope, even in the darkest moments.Rabbi Soloveitchik once gave a talk that he called “Holiness and Kingship.” In that lecture he described the despair of Moses when he had to shatter the tablets of the Ten Commandments. In that lecture, he stated that "Moses descended into the lonely dark night of the soul, the bottomless abyss.” All that he had strived for was destroyed.And then God said to him, “Climb the mountain and carve 10 new commandments and bring them to the Jewish people.” And so Moses reclimbed the mountain that he had descended in despair. And he discovered a mountain of hope.Rabbi Soloveitchik concluded that when Moses got to the top of the mountain and rewrote the Ten Commandments and then delivered them to Israelites, he achieved the apex of his life. He was crowned with holiness and kingship. Only after one experiences despair and failure and then recovers and finds hope, can one reach the pinnacle of holiness and kingship.THESE DAYS have been days of horror for all of us. Families have lost loved ones. Many have been terribly sick. It is very frightening.Maybe we have learned to be more appreciative of what we have in terms of our lives, our families, our friends, our community and the many gifts that have been bestowed upon us throughout our lives. Perhaps we will learn to be more appreciative of simple things going forward, things that we have always taken for granted.When we are able to return to a more normal existence, we will be grateful for things that we never realized we had.And finally, we must never give up hope. There is a lot to look forward to. After all of our fears and despair, we will emerge as better people than we were in the past. Please join me in sharing the hope for a better tomorrow.The writer is the rabbi of Young Israel of Woodmere, New York.