3320 Years and Counting
Companies often advertise themselves as “in business
for 89 years,” “brewing beer since 1874,”
“loyally serving you for six decades.” By invoking
generational continuity these businesses are trying to elicit
confidence. We tend to trust something that has lasted for
an extended time period. It means that the company is time
tested, has weathered ups and downs while others failed
and has the experience and know-how that you can depend
upon. That’s why it has lasted so long.
Never mind that many of these companies have changed hands
and are no longer owned or controlled by the founding family.
Still, the mere mention of longevity engenders trust in
That’s why I always feel proud to emphasize that the traditions
and ideas conveyed in this column go back thousands of years
in an unbroken chain.
This year we celebrate the 3320thyear since the Torah was
given at Sinai. Not 89 years, not 1874, not six decades.
Three thousand three hundred and twenty years that we have
been “in business.” And despite all the radical
changes through the millennia and the extreme challenges
– through genocides, expulsions, oppressions and every
form of assault that brought the Jewish people to the brink
of extinction – we stand tall today 3320 years later
and live to tell about the events that transpired 3320 years
Not just live to tell about it, but we have a book –
actually the best-selling book of all time – that
documents in detail a blueprint of how civilized people
ought to live.
We study and pore over this book, just as our parents and
grandparents did, just as their ancestors did day after
day, year after year, century after century, millennium
after millennium, all the way back to Moses and his people
on that fateful day when they stood at Sinai receiving the
If this does not inspire awe what does?
It’s true that many people advocating Torah may be doing
it an injustice and may be distorting its message. Many
others study Torah and follow its guidelines mechanically
and often lack soulfullness and personal integration. Some
have used Torah in despicable ways.
But all this does not take away from the enduring power
of a tradition that has made it through history and stands
strong today, as the most influential document of all time
– one that serves as the basis of modern democratic
institutions and constitutions, advocating principles of
virtue and generosity, honoring the equality of all people,
the absolute dignity of every individual created in the
“Divine Image,” caring for the less fortunate,
living in peace with each other while maintaining our individual
rights and offering a comprehensive system to spiritualize
the material universe in which we live.
Yes indeed, we are “in business” for 3320 years and counting.