Sago Boulevard

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Unitive Time Consciousness

What does it mean to mourn for tragedies of the past? From Rav Soloveitchik's "Avelut Yeshanah and Avelut Hadash":
The past is not gone; it is still here. The future is not only anticipated, it is already here, and the present connects the future and the past. That is what I mean by a unitive time consciousness... We say in the Kinnot, "On this night, be-leil zeh, my Temple was destroyed." "This night" means a night 1900 years ago; "be-leil zeh" means tonight. Apparently, that night nineteen hundred years ago is neigther remote nor distant from us; it is living - as vibrant a reality as this fleeting moment in the present. The unitive time consciousness contains an element of eternity. There is neither past nor future nor present. All three dimensions of time merge into one experience, into one awareness. Man, heading in a panicky rush toward the future, finds himself in the embrace of the past. Bygones turn into facts, pale memories into living experiences and archaeological history into a vibrant reality... Historical mourning is based upon this unitive time consciousness.