Someone in shul once told me he knew a manager of some famous musicians, who had released some popular albums, and then went on tour on a regular basis.
Someone asked this manager if the musicians were also busy composing new songs. He replied, “Oh I hope not.”
At first, I didn’t understand the answer. Why wouldn’t he want this popular money-making band to write more material?
He explained, “People come to the concerts to hear the songs they already know, often by heart.”
They don’t care to hear new content. Their hearts fill with love and emotion when they recall those songs that they’ve heard so many times before. They go to those concerts to have those memories reinforced, live, by the people responsible for creating those memories in the first place.
(It doesn’t necessarily always work this way with intellectual content. But it happens more often than you’d think. I sometimes worry when I am about to repeat a parable or a piece of a Dvar Torah I have said before to the same group of people, even if it was 10 years earlier. But then when I start to say it, I don’t see the rolled eyes I feared. Among those who remember, I see nods and smiles.)
We want to replay, relive, remember, positive experiences, even those we only experienced vicariously by having had it told to us!
I think this is why carving is such an important act in Jewish History. It wasn’t enough to have a Torah on parchment. Words had to carved into stone. Not just the “Ten Commandments”, but also the entire Torah on stones to be placed at the entrance to the Holy Land. Why is carving better? Because when you use ink on paper, even with a bold pen or marker, the act of removing or erasing is basically the same.
But when you carve a letter into stone, every time you engrave, chisel, carve, it gets deeper in, and more permanent.
That’s what remembering is.