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Section:  Avodah   Category: Olam HaTorah
How To Improve Your Memory
Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai had five talmidim whom he praised dearly (Pirkei Avos 2:11).  About Rebbi Eliezer ben Horkynos he said, what makes him special is that he is like a well sealed pit that doesn't let a single drop of Torah that he learned escape.  If his best asset was his photographic memory why was that a credit to him?

The Yeina Shel Torah brings a story from the Chofetz Chaim.  In the town of the Chofetz Chaim there lived a very old man who remembered the day that Czar Nikolai came to visit their small town of Radin.  Despite the fact that the man had difficulty remembering events that happened yesterday, he had no trouble remembering the Czar's visit in great detail seventy years later.  Certainly this wasn't the product of a gifted memory.

The Chofetz Chaim explains that memories are etched in your mind by things that make a deep impression on you.  Things that are so exciting toy you will never be forgotten.  Rebbi Eliezer cherished every word of Torah so much that each one was a precious memory that could never be forgotten.

If learning Torah is something we feel obligated to do but don't really cherish the words of the Torah themselves, the only memories we will have when we grow old are of our fantastic fishing vacation.  Learn Torah, cherish its words and ideas and you will grow old with a priceless storehouse of treasured memories.