Jewish history is rife with significance. Some events right at the birth of our nationhood, however, were so significant that G‑d commands us in the Torah to remember them forever. Building on the Midrash and the teachings of the Arizal and others, the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, codified six such events into his Six Remembrances, and many have the custom to recite these verses every day after morning prayers. They are:

  • Our Exodus from Egypt: “. . . So that you shall remember the day when you went out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.” (Deuteronomy 16:3)
  • The Revelation at Sinai: “But beware and watch yourself very well, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw, and lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children—the day you stood before the L‑rd your G‑d at Horeb.” (Deuteronomy 4:9–10)
  • Amalek’s Attack on Israel: “You shall remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you went out of Egypt, how he happened upon you on the way and cut off all the stragglers at your rear, when you were faint and weary, and did not fear G‑d. [Therefore,] it will be, when the L‑rd your G‑d grants you respite from all your enemies around [you] in the land which the L‑rd, your G‑d, gives to you as an inheritance to possess, that you shall obliterate the remembrance of Amalek from beneath the heavens. You shall not forget!” (Deuteronomy 25:17–19)
  • Rebellion in the Desert: “Remember, do not forget, how you angered the L‑rd, your G‑d, in the desert; from the day that you went out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebelling against the L‑rd.” (Deuteronomy 9:7)
  • Miriam’s Negative Speech and Punishment: “Remember what the L‑rd, your G‑d, did to Miriam on the way, when you went out of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 24:9)
  • The Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.”(Exodus 20:8)

According to many authorities, it is actually a biblical obligation to remember these events. Technically, one can fulfill this commandment just by mentally thinking about them. The Alter Rebbe chose to place them in the prayerbook, so that we verbally recount these six events—and thus remember them—every day.

It is also important to note that some traditions only list four remembrances, while others list additional phrases when the Torah tells us to “remember” certain events.

Remember the events that have formed us as G‑d’s people and have shaped our destiny. Remember—and do not forget.