Monday, September 10, 2007

Ha'azinu: studying history

Parshat Ha'Azinu

In 32:7 the "song" says "
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will tell you."

You have to study history and understand the events of the earlier generations. Contemplate the miracles. And the passuk adds to ask your father, ask the elders.

You can study history from the books and still get all the technical details of your history. The major events will be transmitted fine like that.

But that is not enough. You have to also ask your father for his stories. Ask the elders what they know and what they have seen. They will give you a picture of our history that the books are not able to give.

If you want to learn, for example, about the holocaust, by all means, get a few good books and read up on the Holocaust. But that will still not give you the full picture. Speak to your grandmother. Find other survivors. Ask the children of a survivor. You will get the stories and the small details you just cannot get in the books. They will transmit what really happened. What life was really like.

The same is true with any historic event. Study the history. Learn your roots. And speak to the elders. Find out everything, from the greater picture to the smaller details and stories.

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