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Naso: Longevity

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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 the brand.

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 3320th year 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 ago.

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 Torah.

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.

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