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The historical consciousness of Israel was vitalised by a unique adaptability to present conditions. This is shown in the fidelity with which a number of ancient festivals have been maintained through the ages. Some of these were taken over from pre-Israelite cults. They were nature feasts, and these are among the oldest rites of men. But, as Maimonides wisely said eight centuries ago, religious rites depend not so much on their origins as on the use men make of them. People who wish to return to the primitive usages of this or that church have no grasp of the value and significance of ceremonial.
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