On this page, the rabbis express the fear – perhaps during a later time of repression – that all of their work will be forgotten, leaving the future of Judaism once again in doubt:
Our Rabbis taught: When our Masters entered the vineyard at Yavne, they said, “The Torah is destined to be forgotten in Israel, as it is said:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And it is said, And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)
“The word of the Lord” they understood to mean the halacha – Jewish law. But:
R. Simeon b. Yohai said: 'Heaven forfend that the Torah be forgotten in Israel, for it is said, for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed.' (Deut. 31:21)
The reinterpretation and engagement of Jewish study keeps the Jewish people alive.
In every generation, it seems, there is a cry that the future of Judaism is at risk. And in every generation it seems there is kind of reinvention which keeps Judaism alive. Today it is coming in the form of blogs, social media, on-line study, local and international "days of study." It is happening in synagogues and in informal gatherings. The renaissance we are seeing in Jewish learning, in creating new ways of connecting our Jewish past and future is a continuation of that trend and counter to the talmudic rabbis' fears. They could not have imagined it - but perhaps they would have recognized it.