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Time is of the essence!

By Rabbi Jonathan Tawil
May 7, 2015

The crowd had gathered for a popular wedding. All eyes were now on the Chatan and Kalla. The Chatan prepared the ring for his new bride.

He was shivering, and in his fear dropped the ring.

The crowds’ eyes lit up as they focussed on this poor mishap.

The Chatan knelt down, picked up the ring and tried a second time.

Alas again, fear struck, and the ring fell.

Sighs rang out from amongst the crowd.

The Chatan determined to see it through, tried a third time. The ring barely entered the finger only to fall yet again.

This had never happened before in the towns history and murmurings were rampant from amongst the crowd.

The rabbi managed to finally calm the Chatan and eventually he managed to place the ring on his brides finger – Mekudeshet! The couple continued the process and settled down to a wonderful marriage.

The crowd were curious and approached the rabbi.

Rabbi did you see that – three times, surely that’s a sign from above that perhaps this zivug isn’t meant to be.

The rabbi smiled the comment off.

My dear friends you just didn’t understand the situation.

Every event has its right time – the time for the marriage wasn’t yet ripe, and so it was ‘delayed’ until the right time. Every time has its Mazal and there is a correct time for everything!

Time is essential in our daily lives, but diverse people view it differently.

An old fulfilled man, sits on his death bed, with his family nearby, reliving the many happy years of his life.

“Oh what I would give for an extra few minutes in this world.”

He exclaims as his soul is returned to his creator.

Some people say, “Time is valuable.” Others “Time is money.”

An American poet Carl Sandburg once awesomely explained “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

This weeks Parasha focuses on time.

The Parasha has a complete description of the festivals, from Succoth, Pesach and Shavuot, to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

It is interesting to note that when describing the festivals the Torah uses a seemingly unusual word: Moed (Moadey Hashem (Vayikra 23:2))

The Hebrew word “Moed” stems from the root “Vav.Ayin.Dalet” – to meet.

Hence a committee in Hebrew is a “Vaad,” and a conference is a “Ve’iydah.

Why does the Torah relate to festivals with the word ‘meet’?

Our Sages explain that the Jewish holidays are called Moadim, for their primary purpose is that we set aside special times during the year to meet G-d.

We need to arrange our timetable in order that we are able to ‘meet’ and connect with Hashem through the special spirituality created on the festivals.

Time is of the essence and we must treat it well. We must also be aware of it. Time enables us to place things into perspective and prepare ourselves for a higher spiritual experience.

A further Mitsva relating to time is mentioned in this week’s Parasha – the SefiratHaomer.

“You shall count starting after the holiday (of Pesach)… seven complete weeks (until Shavuot)” (23:15).

The days between Pesach and Shavuot are special. The Torah commands that we count these days as we lead up to the giving of the Torah. We are excited and we need to prepare ourselves for this special day.

The counting shows that we are not content with the day in itself, we must always aim to build higher and higher, counting the days towards Matan Torah.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ztsl points out that when it comes to all of the Jewish holidays the Torah states the exact date upon which they are to be celebrated. Pesach is the fifteenth of Nissan; Rosh Hashanah is the first day of Tishrei, etc.

There seems to be one exception – Shavuot. The Torah does not specify the date for Shavuot, the sixth of Sivan, rather, we must figure it out based on the verses informing us that it occurs fifty days after Pesach, why is this holiday different?

He explains how this Yom Tov differs from the others. This day is not an anniversary that commemorates a past event. Pesach is celebrated to remember the day which we were brought out of Egypt by Hashem; Succot remembers the Clouds of Glory by which Hashem sheltered the Jews in the desert. However, the giving of the Torah took place at Sinai but it continues to be offered to us everyday and every moment!

Torah is not an old instruction book from antiquity, rather it is as vibrant and relevant as ever!

Torah is above time!

We must know that Hashem teaches us constantly, His voice is eternal;

R Moshe adds two more hints to this idea.

The Aron in the Mishkan, which contained the Torah inside of it, took up no physical space. Our Sages explain that this is to signify that Torah is not earthbound or limited to a certain place! The Torah applies everywhere!

Secondly, we do not know in which limb our Neshamah, soul, is contained, rather the entire body is imbued with its holiness.

Man must bring Hashem into every time and place that he finds himself.

Thus Torah is eternal and always prevalent and available!

Time is precious and throughout history the great sages have valued every second of life, they have cherished and utilised it to the maximum.

The Ben Ish Chai contrasts the way of the world in that some people tend to want to ‘kill time’, whereas others especially the righteous value ever moment.

He explains this contrast with a Mashal.

There were once two rich people who always competed with each other in wealth. Yossi had less money then Shlomo, but was more of a cunning person.

One day he went over to Shlomo and said, let’s settle this once and for all.

We will both take all our wealth and go on a ship and throw coin by coin into the ocean. Whoever finishes first has less wealth.

They both agreed that the contest would start the next morning.

Yossi cunningly went over to the copper smith. He asked him to mould fake coins and plenty of them!

The next day the two met, went on the boat and set out. After a while they stopped in the middle of the ocean and started their competition.

Yossi commenced and threw one coin into the sea. Shlomo followed. The game continued for hours, but as each hour went by, Yossi’s face began to gleam. He seemed happy that he was throwing his wealth into the ocean (he was of course happy as they weren’t really worth anything).

Shlomo on the other hand was distraught at each throw. Each time, he felt he was throwing away hard earned coins.

Finally the time came and Shlomo was out of coins. Yossi leapt for joy at his achievement, he had finally shown that he was wealthier then Shlomo.

The Ben Ish Chai explains that in life there are people that are happy to throw away time. For them time is cheap, they behave as they will live forever, they have plenty of time on their hands to ‘waist/kill’.

There are others who value every second, for them to throw time away hurts, they realise the intrinsic value of every moment.

That is the difference; we must realise that each moment brings with it its own Mazal. Each moment is special and can lead to a fulfilled life. Time is precious let us seize the moment!

Lirfuat David Rephael Ben Masouda.

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