These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

דברים, devarim

Posted on August 4, 2011 by Avi Strausberg

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tell Your Story

in this week’s parshat devarim, moshe becomes a master of words.  his new-found verbosity is notable given how lacking he was in the words department forty years back.  but, a lot has changed both with the jewish people and with moshe.  and now, as the people are finally about to enter the promised land, moshe takes this opportunity to recount the narrative of the jewish people and in so doing, recounts his own personal narrative as well.

i once heard on a radiolab podcast entitled “memories” that the most accurate memories are those that have not been recalled.  if somehow it were possible to leave a memory be, to even forget the memory for awhile, only to remember it fifty years later, that that recalled memory would be more “true” than the favorite childhood story told and retold.

needless to say, in moshe’s retelling of both his and the jewish people’s story throughout the “כל המדבר הגדול והנורא, great and terrible wilderness” (devarim 1:19), many details have been omitted, reshaped, or even completely fabricated.  and understandably so.  we all continously rewrite our own histories depending on where we find ourselves in the moment of their retelling.  the past, and its retelling, seems not to be a fixed truth but rather something of a more fluid nature, that shifts as we shift, that integrates itself to flow seemlessly into the details of our present.

we tell and retell,
rewriting our histories
till fiction remains.

in retelling our histories, may we remember their origin,