Post Tisha B'Av Musings
Today, I was among over 80 attendees from many countries listening to Rabbi Brovender on webyeshiva.org. He elucidated a couple of kinot (liturgical poems of lamentation) and gave the following insight. When the Prophet Jeremiah in the fifth chapter of Lamentations, asks that God should "Remember what we once had", what is the Prophet assuming? That God can forget? What does it mean for God to remember, and what does that teach us about Jewish memory?
Going back to Noah, memory is also invoked. It says after the flood that "God remembered Noah". It wasn't like there were that many people around for Noah to get lost in the shuffle. So, what does memory mean in a Divine context. Rabbi Brovender then said, when the Prophet enjoins God to remember what we once had, he doesn't imply that God has forgotten. He is asking God to activate the dynamic of what once was that has presently been put on hold.
Similarly, in one of the kinot when it says that "God didn't remember the covenant with Avraham", it's not that God forgot, but rather that the process has been halted, and he petitions that the process be renewed.
As Faulkner once said: Not only is the past important, it's not even past.
The class was given in memory of my teacher and Rabbi Brovender's colleague and friend Rabbi Jay Miller. I think Rabbi Miller would have liked it.