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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2005 / 1 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

History and ‘bunk’

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Ignorance of the past creates the boors and ignoramuses of the present. A nation that has no recollection of its past, that has no past heroes to treasure is doomed to eventual failure as a society.


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Henry Ford, in many respects the founder of modern manufacturing processes a century ago, was also a very great hater and a classic anti-Semite. He also posed himself as the champion of the "plain people" against the intellectual snobbery of academia and academics.


In this role he described history as "bunk." In an interview that Henry Ford gave to the Chicago Tribune in 1916 he stated: "History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present. The only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today."


I feel that this attitude of Ford's was a contributing factor to his virulent anti-Semitism. For Judaism and the Jewish people are founded on history and tradition. Our teacher Moses bade us to remember the days of the past and to study and understand the happenings of generations gone by. Ignorance of the past creates the boors and ignoramuses of the present. A nation that has no recollection of its past, that has no past heroes to treasure and that feels that history is "bunk" is doomed to eventual failure as a society.


But, perhaps even worse than no history, for a people, is having a falsified version of history. The rewriting of history to conform to current political correctness and/or ideological purity is a widespread occurrence amongst scholars over the past two centuries. One need only look at the textbooks of the Palestinian schools to realize the clear and present danger of falsifying history to meet current political goals. History as "bunk" is foolish enough. But history as lies is absolutely dangerous.


History in the Jewish world was not viewed as a science or a discipline until the 19th Century. There had been historical works written throughout Jewish life but they were almost ancillary to the main purpose of those works, which was to transmit and validate the traditions of Torah and Halacha, Jewish Law, especially of the development of the Oral Law. Thus such works as Seder Olam, attributed to the 3rd Century tanna Rabi Yossi, Iggeres Rav Sherira Gaon, authored by the one of the last of the Babylonian Geonim in the 10th century, and Tzemach David, written by Rabbi David Ganz in the 16th Century, were all books of history but not in the modern sense of scholarship but were rather recordings of oral traditions passed down through the ages.


Through intensive Torah study and strict observance of customs, coupled with the sanctity of oral traditions of the past, Jews had an acute and accurate idea of their past and of the historical events that shaped their existence. However, in the 19th Century, Heinrich Graetz, a former student of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, who left Jewish observance and became an "enlightened" one, wrote a magisterial multi-volume of Jewish history in a scientific fashion. Graetz' work became the basis for all subsequent Jewish historiography. Graetz was meticulous in his research and facts. However, his overwhelming antipathy towards Orthodoxy, especially his loathing of the Chasidic movement, colored much of his work Thus an otherwise accurate work of history became somewhat of a polemic of a false and inaccurate picture of Jewish life, much more dangerous than "bunk."


As a reaction to Graetz and his followers and to the secular Zionist movement that purposely negated all the past Jewish history of Jewish accomplishments in the Exile, the religious Jewish world began to construct its own works of history. These tended to be biographical in format and hagiographic in content.


History is not "bunk." It should also not be inaccurate, misleading and overly selective in viewpoint and presentation.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Rabbi Berel Wein