Page 116 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 20

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
110
Goethe said, if you want the past you must ob tain it by great
labor.
I t is this lesson tha t Kallen teaches us: T h e past cannot be
repeated! We must
select
from it only tha t which is
significant
to
us, and the selection and use of the past
alters
it, for i t gains
a new provenience. I t is now
my present
and no longer my
fa the r’s past—which was to him, as he lived it,
his present.
“W ha t
you have been doing,” Kallen has said, “in living and growing,
has been adding to your past in such a way tha t you change
th a t past. Your
living
past is a constantly altered p a s t . . . altered
by your present experience . . . ”
* *
*
At eighty, Horace Kallen is as young as his mind. One finds
in him the active use of the creative principles he finds in the
Jewish people and in Jewishness, and this activity has kept him
from the oldness he abhors. Since the T o rah is to h im not a
book or a scroll bu t
aitz chaim
“a tree of life,” an organic prin-
ciple—a principle of living and growing and developing—the
promise has been fulfilled in him. Long life is his, and riches
better than gold and silver, and honor. “Its ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all its paths are p ea ce . . . I t is a tree of life
to those who lay hold of it, and they who uphold it are made
happy.”