“It was once said that history teaches us that history teaches us nothing.”
On February 5, 1967 Rabbi Olan spoke in somber tones about a problem facing individuals, families, our nation, and even religious bodies. That problem was forgetting or neglecting the practical wisdom gained by the real-life experiences of past generations. To Olan, it seemed that many modern Americans were so obsessed with pushing forward in the quest for success and personal gain that they had no time or energy to focus on the lessons of the past. If we had only listened to our mothers and fathers, we might have been spared much avoidable pain. If we forget the goals and ideals of our nation’s founders, we are likely to veer off course from the path set for us. If we neglect the hard-gained wisdom of the elders of our faith communities, the strength and meaning of religion will diminish.
Rabbi Olan spoke to a generation of people who were tempted to wander aimlessly in self-absorption, finding fulfillment in over-consumption. Is our generation any different? What can help to ground us in matters beyond ourselves? Olan recommended honoring our fathers and mothers by gleaning their wisdom, and always remembering- “Re-member when ye came out of Egypt.” For “Somewhere in the forgotten yesterdays we lost a very precious treasure….”
*Written by Tim Binkley*