The World is Filled with Remembering and Forgetting

In the world of the Bible, memory is prized.  There are many commands to “remember,” and some, “not to forget” along with the resigned admission that you likely will forget.  The need to remember and remind is a theme that runs throughout the Days of Awe:  The shofar unlocks memory and reminds God of our ancestors’ loyalty—as though God needs reminding.  For, even as we remind, we name God as “The One Who Remembers All Forgotten Things.”

In the world of the holidays, memory is prized, forgetfulness is not useful.  But is it really so—in the world?  Yehuda Amichai offers a world in which remembering and forgetting, just like sea and land are the elements of existence.   Each is in the world and each is of value.  Is memory always a life giving drink while forgetting is dry and parched?  What of the flood, the torrent, the torment of memory?   The truth is that sometimes—and we know it to be so—it is forgetting that saves us.

The world is filled with remembering and forgetting
As it is with sea and dry land. Sometimes memory
Is the dry land that is firm and founded
And sometimes memory is the sea that covers everything
Like in the flood. And it is forgetting that is the dry land like Arrarat.

Click here for Amichai poem in Hebrew and English.

This entry was posted in Days of Awe, Holidays, Memory, Names, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

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