Yehuda Kurtzer on the history-memory dynamic
in Jewish life.
Jerome A. Chanes
Special To The Jewish Week
We Jews, traditionally, are an ahistoric people. That’s not to say that we don’t have a history; praise the Lord, we have plenty! But the rabbis of the Talmud did not see their job as doing history. For the rabbinic leaders and decisors of old, history was not front and center; the rabbinic leadership asked not “What happened?” but rather “How can we set a context, a chronological order, for the events in the Hebrew Bible and by extension for the halacha, the normative system that governs the life of the individual and the community?”