Remembering plays a prominent role in Judaism in general and specifically on Yom Kippur. In addition to remembering our loved ones during the Yizkor service, Yom Kippur prayers are replete with invoking memory: The entire Seder Avodah recollects and remembers in detail the order of the High Priest’s Yom Kippur Temple service. The story of Ten Martyrs begins with two words: eila ezkara, “these I recall.” This haunting liturgy concludes with zchor lanu brit, “remember in our behalf the covenant…”
Why is remembering so important? What does it truly accomplish? And how does it tie into the holiest day of the year?
We can find the answer in a most unlikely source… piano tuners and taxi drivers. Scientists have documented how drivers’ and tuners brains have been dramatically reshaped and transformed through their memories.
These observations can teach us how memory can change everything, how Yizkor can reshape our lives, and how remembering on Yom Kippur will surely seal us in the Book of Life.