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Seeing more clearly in retrospect

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Amidst politics, the coronavirus, and summer vacation, my brother-in-law Yisrael Meir enlightened me with this thought:

We are accustomed to examining events as they happen in the here and now. It seems to us that the closer we are to what is happening, the better we understand it. A competent commentator, after all, must respond online immediately. If you blinked instead of sending a tweet right away - you missed the boat.

One of the beautiful aspects of the book of Deuteronomy, which we started reading this week, is that the Torah itself shows us the correct way to examine reality. We must look at everything from a historical perspective. It could be said that in the book of Deuteronomy nothing happens. Moshe Rabbeinu talks, yet his long speech is nothing other than a sober look at the events that took place over the last 40 years, since the journey through the desert began. Everything is familiar. The places, the stops along the way, the complaints, and the punishments. But everything is presented differently, in moderation, now that it is clear who erred and who acted properly in retrospect.

What agitates us at the present moment is likely to disappear tomorrow, and there is a huge gap between how what is reported in today's headlines will be written about in tomorrow's history books. Don't be in a hurry to jump to conclusions.

Take a deep breath, wait a little, and try to imagine how what you do today will be written about in your life's "book of Deuteronomy" many years from now.


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