Looking back and looking forward


This week we commemorated Yom HaZikaron and celebrated Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day. These days encourage us to look back at Israel’s past and remember both the tragedies and the triumphs that have been part of Israel’s history. But they also encourage us to look forward. How can the difficult moments we remember spur us to change the future for the better? And how can the blessings we celebrate give us the confidence and optimism to look toward tomorrow with hope? This strikes me as a very Jewish project. Through our experiences of the Jewish holidays, through the rituals we use to mark the cycles of our lives, and through our studies of ancient texts, we continually look to the past and try to comprehend its sorrows and its joys. Individually and as a community, we mine those experiences for meaning as we shape the future that lies ahead of us. In a society that sometimes focuses too much on the “now” and can be obsessed with what happened in the last 24 hours, living in Jewish time helps us to take a longer view and to gain the wisdom that only comes from a more expansive perspective. May we always seek and find that wisdom and feel it buoying us up as turn our faces forward.