Tell the Story!


Humanity is really very good at putting the past behind us. “Sure, you saved my life last week. But what have you done for me lately?!”

It is amazing how many blessings a person receives, but forgets. This is sometimes given as the reason “Thanksgiving Offerings” must be eaten within a day, because we forget the things we should be thankful for. I suspect this is a reason that G-d gives people so much suffering: bad events stick better than blessings do. For example, we take good health for granted – until we get sick. Being healthy is like running water: entirely unmemorable, until you don’t have it.

In the Torah, G-d tells the people, no fewer than three times, how to tell the story of the Exodus – even before the event takes place! And I think the reason is simple and necessary: stories that are not told become events that never happened. After all, we only know what we think. And if a story has not been told, then it passes into the mists of time.

In my family, we write down every serendipitous thing that happens – we call them “kisses” – and then we share them and read them out on the New Year. And recently my wife and I have started writing down a diary of every Shabbos – whom we had for meals, what was discussed. I think it will make fascinating reading for our children and grandchildren some day. Each week has its own email, which we’ll print out and bind on a yearly basis.

So this post is merely to remind everyone: write it down. Write down the good and the bad. Share it with your loved ones, create and sustain your family’s lore. It connects the past to the future. Stories tell us who we are, and what we are all about.

Tell the story!

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  1. Percival Thatcher

    I like it. I’ll tend to write down the good, because I have no problem recalling the bad.

    • #1
  2. David Foster Member
    David Foster

    I understand that there is a saying in Hawaiian indigenous religion: A monster cannot survive in an atmosphere of gratitude.

    • #2
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