The Chafetz Chaim had an interesting approach to the Talmudic statement that “Whoever forgets the Torah he has studied has forfeit part of his eternal life.” (Chapters of Our Fathers 3:8) It is commonly understood to refer to someone who does not constantly review what he has learned. |
The Chafetz Chaim once visited a Polish village and met an 85-year-old man, who had witnessed a royal visit more than 80 years earlier. The elderly man could not remember much of his life, but he recalled each and every detail of the king’s visit. He described the royal clothes down to the smallest detail. He remembered every word that the kings said when he spoke to the villagers.
The holy rabbi remarked how remarkable it was that a man, who was having difficulty remembering anything from his life, was able to recall so much of something he had witnessed a very long time ago. “The event was so important and precious to him that he never forgot a single detail of something that happened when he was 5 years old. People remember things that are significant to them. We only forget Torah we studied because we did not appreciate the preciousness of what we were learning. That is why it is considered as if he forfeit part of his eternal life: Because he did not adequately appreciate and honor what he was studying at the time he was learning!”
In Zichronot we speak of how God remembers all that we do, think and say. This implies that all of those things are precious enough to God to remember.
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