October 10, 2019 / 11 Tishrei, 5790 • Parshat Ha'azinu
Issue 583
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Recall the olden days, contemplate the years, generation and generation. Ask your father and he will tell you; inquire of your elders and they will recount to you.

Deuteronomy 32:7


Generation and generation

The phrase "generation and generation" idiomatically means "all generations."

The simplest way to understand this verse is that when anyone is confronted with that extraordinary phenomenon known as a Jew--a historical and social anomaly by any standard--the first thing he or she must do in order to have any hope of understanding this phenomenon is to inquire how it all started.

The result of such an inquiry will be the patriarchs and matriarchs, who to this day are referred to by the Jewish people as their fathers and mothers: "Abraham, our father," "Sarah, our mother," and so on. Thus, it is readily apparent that every Jew intuitively considers the patriarchs and matriarchs his or her personal parents, virtually no different from his or her biological parents, who lovingly raise, educate, and provide for their children. For us, our forefathers are not merely ancestors from the distant past but living entities who accompany us throughout our entire lives.

Knowing that these loving and concerned parents are always there to assist us enhances our dedication to their ideals, as reflected in the study of the Torah and the performance of its commandments.

From Kehot's

Chumash Devarim