Rosh Hashanah: the beginning of a new year, new calendar. Many stores up and down Bathurst Street are eagerly handing out their new crisp (marketing) calendars — and what a wonderful tool a calendar is to have! Not only does it help us organize our lives, keep track of our appointments, schedule our theatre tickets, or remind us of an upcoming holiday, it also lets us “see” time. We often run so fast through life trying to keep abreast of everything that we rarely stop and think about how fast time is flying. Counting down the days was fun as a child, especially towards the end of school; as an adult, we prefer to make our days count!
The greatest asset we have that we are prone to waste is not any of the ‘things’ we possess, but actually time itself.
The Torah talks about a mitzvah of Bal Tashchit (“Don’t waste”), which is the source for the prohibition against wasting resources such as food and clothing, or destroying elements of nature for no valid reason. However, I would propose that the greatest asset we have that we are prone to waste is not any of the “things” we possess, but actually time itself.
We don’t consciously waste time. Although, if you are anything like me, you probably have this gnawing feeling that you are not fully utilizing your time to it’s fullest potential. This potential is both in terms of one’s own commitment to Jewish life, and even more so the precedent that we set for future generations. When we ignore opportunities before us to truly make a difference in our personal lives and in the lives of others, we are no less guilty of Bal Tashchit than if we threw out an uneaten sandwich.
Time progresses quickly. I am always shocked by how fast a year goes by and how quickly things move on. The laws of supply and demand dictate that the less we have of something, the more valuable it is. Well, is there anything else in life that consistently rises in value with each passing second the way time does?
Is there anything else in life that consistently rises in value with each passing second the way time does?
We all need to use our time well now, to ensure that our world won’t be built upon wasted moments in the future. Now is a perfect opportunity to consider the various ways we can spend a little more time strengthening the rhythm of Jewish life in our own lives, as well as supporting things that help strengthen it in the lives of others. There is so much one can do and any small action, gift, or mitzvah now will make a much bigger impact down the road.