Many people have the philosophy to live for today. The past does not count and future generations should worry about what will be then. Moshe disputes this thinking and tells us specifically: ZECHOR YEMOT OLAM BINU SHNOT DOR VADOR, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations…”. (Deut. 32,7)
Moshe tells us how important it is to know the past and to understand why things happened as they did. History is a very important subject for it teaches us how to avoid the mistakes of the past in the future. We must recognize a pattern in man’s behavior and the consequences of his actions. We do not live in a vacuum. Whatever we do has an enormous effect on the direction civilization takes and on what happens in this world.
Furthermore, Moshe ends the verse and says; SHE’AL AVICHA VEYAGEDCHA ZEKENECHA VEYOMRU LACH, “… ask your father and he will relate to you and your elders and they will tell you.” It is an undesirable trend today for children to down-play the advice and the teachings of their parent and elders. They accuse them of being old fashioned and outdated. Moshe again contradicts this attitude and counsels us to take their advice and their teachings. They have years of experience and why not listen to them and not make mistakes and “re-invent the wheel”?