and no force can abolish memory..."
to the American Booksellers Association, April 23, 1942)
In commemoration of
Yom ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and in celebration of the Jubilee
Anniversary of the State of Israel, this issue of JHOM focuses on the
topic of MEMORY. We begin with the Bible, where remembrance is pivotal
and the injunction to remember unconditional; the verb zakhor (remember)
appears 169 times in the Bible, usually with Israel and God as the subjects.
The biblical injunction
not to forget is the obverse of the command to remember; Prof.
Jeffrey Tigay discusses the dual commandement in Exodus: "remember
what [the wicked nation] Amalek did to you on your journey" and also
"blot out the memory of Amalek". Eli Wiesel
(in a selection from his Nobel lecture in 1986) addresses this tension
as well, speaking of both the supreme duty toward memory and the need
to forget after the Holocaust. In a personal tribute, a young man who
spent the war years in Terezin remembers the
beautiful girl whom he loved and who is now gone.
Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (from a Stroum lecture at Washington University,1980)
discusses the decay of the collective Jewish memory and the role of the
Jewish historian in its restoration. Dr. David
Roskies follows the link between memory and covenant as it evolved
through history, and the function of archetypal thinking in shaping group
memory. And as regards individual retentive memory, the Talmud
teaches us curious magical tricks to make our way to the head of the
In a moving poem entitled
"The man who stepped out of his shoes," Israeli poet Uri
Zvi Greenberg writes of a man of manly stature who walks empty-handed
into the distance, leaving behind not only his shoes, but the memory of
his shoes. While he has forgotten his shoes, his shoes do not forget him;
they wait for him. We ask our readers to share their thoughts and insights.
Table of Contents