Looking ahead, looking back.

When we think about it, we are often poised towards the future. What will my next school look like? Will I have fun this summer? How long until my day is over? B’nai Yisrael (The Jewish People) is all about the future as they walk through the desert. They are headed towards one goal the land of Canaan. In the middle of this journey towards the promise of the future, some take a moment and reflect upon the past. They complain of all they had in Egypt that they miss so dearly- the food they wish to taste again! 


This reminiscing often visits us as well. What are the moments that we look back on and think “Ugh! If I could only go back!”? BMitzvah kiddos reflected on this and thought up some examples of their own: 


  • Of course pre-covid times. I think about them a lot.


  • Our brains are wired to remember the negative things. I think it’s hard to look back and remember the good stuff.


  • I think it’s made me a lot more cynical when I look back at the past.


We thought back on some previous moments in our lives and reflected: how did these situations feel in our minds now that time had passed and we had gotten some distance from them? 


  • I think back on a time when I was at a party and I was being really rude because I wanted to be, and I feel embarrassed about it now. 
  • One time I had a family friend come over and I didn’t have anyone my own age so I was upset. 

We knew that we each had done things in the past that if we had taken some time to think about them beforehand, probably would have turned out differently. We each acknowledged that in these moments we were “in our feelings”. Had we taken a moment to think through how we were feeling and take a moment to pause we probably would have handled things differently. There were many emotions tied to these experiences.


  • I remember we were at a restaurant and I was just acting so mean to my parents. I don’t know why I did that and my parents were so upset when we left. I think about it and I don’t know why I did. 

We think that we have so many pieces of our past simply swept behind us, especially when we don’t think about how we are feeling in those moments. We reflected on what it meant for us to perceive others for who they are in as deep a way as we look at ourselves: people shaped by their past, people looking towards their own futures. 


  • I like people when they’re nice to me. They make eye contact, they listen when I’m talking, and we have the same interests. 
  • I like someone with the same philosophy as me. I think when you have similar ideas about the way that the world works it’s easier to connect. 
  • I like someone who’s a bibliophile. It’s a good way to connect with others. Also someone who is sarcastic. 

There are so many ways that we can connect with each other. From people that might need a moment of our sympathy on the street to those that we have known for years. There are opportunities to see them as what they are: complex people with pasts and futures just like us. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *