When arriving in college, many feel a newfound sense of independence, and with that freedom comes the desire to both dispense with the old and to carve out one’s own niches within this exciting new landscape of life.
But this week’s Torah portion, Ha’azinu, offers a tempering message
to that inclination: “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations…” In the zeal to lead revolutions in one’s own life and in the lives of others, sometimes it is easy to forget to check in with the wisdom of those who came before.
This does not mean that one should settle for the perpetuation of oppressive systems that have no place in the present world; rather, the lesson of Ha’azinu is that even when we find ourselves on the precipice of the Promised Land, with dreams of changing the world, it is essential to learn from our elders as much as we hope that they will learn from us. Dan Ross is Clergy Intern at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. Tess Cersonsky is a senior at Columbia University.