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The Speed of History


I stumbled upon this video on Facebook.

Once in a while I see a video that really makes me think. This is a video that makes me think.

Once in a while I see a video that reinforces a Torah idea that I heard or read. This is video that does just that.

After you watch the video I want to share a deep insight I heard about history. The video emphasizes the point so check out the video first. You can watch the video right here on the blog.

Just press play!

There is an incredible book about an amazing Rabbi. The book is called “Reb Simcha Speaks” By, Branfman & Tatz.

It is not a biography of Reb Simcha Wasserman rather it is an homage to his timeless teachings. Rabbi Wasserman passed away in 1992 and the book was published shortly thereafter.

I read the book when I was in Israel Henry Beren High School at Ner Israel and the book had a profound impact on my thinking. I recommend picking up a copy of the book for your personal library.

Reb Simcha comments that in 1913 the Chofetz Chaim remarked that history was like a wheel that spins faster and faster. Progress was slow and plodding for generations. It took forever just to invent the wheel (people are still trying to re-invent the wheel). As time moves on progress comes quicker and exponentially greater.

I think the Chofetz Chaim meant history is like a spiral.

SpiralThe spiral begins slowly, one revolution takes a long time. But once things start getting closer to the center, the revolutions are much quicker. It keeps getting quicker and quicker.

Changes used to take a long time. Revolutions occurred over centuries. Nations lasted for millennia. Now, things change in a blink of an eye.

This is the exact idea found in the video. The world is changing at breakneck speeds. We are hurtling through history at an unprecedented pace. Today’s media darling is tomorrow’s “has-been”. The newest gadget will soon be obsolete.

This insight from the Chofetz Chaim has two important ramifications.

First, the idea of the spiral. A spiral is a naturally occurring phenomena. We find it on our planet and we find it in outer space. With this insight we now see it in a third parallel existence. History is also a spiral. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise us that changes happen overnight. The video shows a natural approach to history. It may not have been obvious to everyone in 1913. Today, it is a youtube video gone viral. 96 years later, the words of the Chofetz Chaim are available for anyone to see on youtube.

Second, when we travel so quickly through time we need to slow down our lives. It’s one thing to miss the newest iteratino of your favorite video game console, but it does matter if we don’t enjoy our families and other daily blessings. We need to make sure we stop to smell the roses. Our world moves at such a fast pace but we can slow down our lives so that we are actually present.

In Judaism we have a tremendous gift called Shabbos. A few weeks ago I taught a class about Shabbos and how we can understand its place within the Torah system. The up-shot was to use Shabbos as a time to just “be” and not be distracted by the material world and its pursuits for 1 day a week. Listen to that class and try to make Shabbos a real part of your life.

If you do not celebrate Shabbos – please do not miss your own life. Slow down. Enjoy.

The video asks: So What Does This All Mean?

It means, pay attention, your life is happening before your very eyes.

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2 Responses

  1. […] and why I athletes are not role models is linked. The Sportsmanship post has now surpassed “The Speed of History” as the most popular post on this […]

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