web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

In The Past We See Our Future

Safran-052512

The three reasons given by Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev as to why Shavuot is referred to as Atzeret correspond powerfully to three explanations of that great expression of remembering, the recitation of Yizkor.

There are those who view the past merely as history, as dead. To them, the past has no valuable lessons or implications to impart for the present or future. For them, the past is not merely past, but it is valueless for the here and now. Jews who cling to this sense of the past find no meaning in rituals of mourning. For them, tearing k’riah, sitting shiva, and observing the halachic and historical modes of mourning are archaic. For them, the past is ancient history that has no meaningful or practical expression. Their Jewish past is over and gone, it ceased with the passing of parents or grandparents. It is abstract, it has no practical methods of contemporary expression.

Then there are those Jews who are able to find a more meaningful yet incomplete method of reciting Yizkor, of remembering the past. For them, recalling the past evokes warm and tender feelings and sentiments, but those emotions affect them only to a point. They are willing to “visit” the past, but they will not allow the past to “visit” the present. They refuse to allow the past to affect their present or future. These are Jews who respect the past, study and analyze it, do research and issue studies and journals about the world of our fathers, the shtetl, , the world of yesteryear.

These are Jews who are unable to proclaim Hadran halach. The passing of grandparents and parents is an abrupt end, without anxieties of kasheh alai pertdatchem – without the inducement to continue the legacy of those who taught us.

Then there is the third way, the only genuine and authentic method of reciting Yizkor. This way is to be able to translate and transform memories, emotions, and past love into new realities. Solomon exclaimed, “Why awaken or rouse the love, unless you are willing to create a new vessel to contain it?”

Recalling the past is meaningful only when one is able to transfer the ahavah into a new chefetz. Genuine and credible tears, memories, and emotions are an acknowledgment that the present has only been made possible because of its connection with the past, and that any future must likewise be connected with the present. Mourning and recalling those who preceded us, with their love and dedication, must include an acknowledgment that our present is not only their past but also the future of the next generation.

The past, then, is the key to our future.

Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is OU Kosher’s vice president of communications and marketing.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In The Past We See Our Future”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Indepth Stories
Keeping-Jerusalem

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty


n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Jonah and the Whale (2012) 23 x 23, bronze relief by Lynda Caspe.

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Eisenstock-082914

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

One who may leave his wife an agunah is not included in the general rule that we may not imprison on Shabbos.

“Fulfill my requests for good, grant my request, be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion…remember us for a good, long life…give us bread to eat, clothes to wear…”

Too often, as parents and teachers, we think it means talking at our children, delivering to them good and worthy content that they should simply hear and assimilate into their minds and hearts.

I was singing, dancing, jumping and, sweating. Just joy and happiness. One child on my shoulders after another. What happiness! And then, the little boy on my shoulders – he could not have been older than six – began to cry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-the-past-we-see-our-future/2012/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: