Thursday, March 22, 2007

History and its Importance

Chana has posted her notes from R' Jacob J. Schachter's speech on Jewish history; R' Schachter even took out the time to look them over and make some edits. I haven't even finished it yet, but it's a very worthwhile read... and I still can't understand how anyone can take such copious notes. One great point which I always was taught as well:
There is an attitude of “Who cares? There is no wisdom to [history], etc.”

R’ Jacob Emden writes on this, and takes issue with this and says there IS a value to the study of history and someone engaged in Torah should have an understanding of history, even secular history. There is an obligation to know history. You have to know at least Jewish history. In order to understand Chazal, halakha, etc, you need to understand history.