The Potential of Every Moment
Today is a once in a lifetime opportunity; if we’re focused on what’s really important and believe in the value of what we’re doing, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish...
by Batya Rosen
Is that all we are? Dust in the wind?
Back in my college days, there was a hugely popular song with the depressing chorus that “All we are is dust in the wind; everything is dust in the wind.” I remember how much I used to like this song, but quite frankly, reflecting on this from my current vantage point, the message is troubling.
I’ve long since learned that we have a mitzvah to establish a calendar for the purpose of sanctifying time. This is so important that it was the very first mitzvah Hashem gave the Jewish people. The message is clear: we can imbue each moment with holiness and infinite value by studying Torah and doing mitzvoth.
Believe in the value of what you do
In the Emuna CD, Self Confidence, Rabbi Lazer Brody explains that first we need to believe in the value whatever we are doing.
If a person has a job paying $150 per hour, he won't leave it for one that only pays $18 per hour. However, if he's not aware of what he’s earning he may indeed take the lower paying job! Rabbi Brody says that if we really believed in the value of the Torah we learn, we would want to be learning all day long. If we believed that Hashem drops everything he's doing to listen to our prayers, we’d be praying with supercharged enthusiasm.
No material reward in the world is sufficient to cover the value of a single mitzvah. All the oil in Saudi Arabia, all the money in Swiss bank accounts, and all the gold in South Africa cannot come close to the true value of a sincere prayer, a kind deed or a recital of Kiddush.
In fact, the Zohar states that the four angels who are closest to Hashem would be willing to give up their positions near the Throne of Glory to come to earth just one time to put on tefillin!
Time is too valuable to waste
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev says that the most valuable item we have is time. With each second we can perform more service for Hashem. That's why Jewish law forbids terminating a life by even a few seconds.
The most important thing in life is to use time efficiently. For example, a top doctor who bills $500 per hour has a packed waiting room and doesn't waste a minute. We need to realize that we can be worth millions of dollars per hour via mitzvah performance. The more valuable a person’s work, the less time he or she will waste.
I remember when I was a young boy there was a television show called “Supermarket Sweep”. The contestants were able to keep every item they picked up, with the team having the highest total in groceries winning the right to return to the show and play in the game the following week. Nobody spent any time in the aisles containing tissues or tooth picks. All the contestants speedily raced their shopping carts to the aisles with the expensive stuff!
How much more so in our limited time on earth must we focus on things with real enduring value. We simply cannot allow ourselves to get sidetracked on pastimes that take us away from our mission and soul correction. It's just not worth it.
Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky said that each moment has the potential for eternity but once it's wasted it's gone forever.
A New Message to Fit the Truth
So with all due respect to the rock group Kansas: thanks for the great tune and vocals. The song brings back great memories of my youth. However, just like bell bottom jeans, long hair, and eight track tape players are relics of the past, that dust in the wind message no longer works for me. You see, I've learned that each person is born with a holy soul and is sent to earth to accomplish a mission that no one else can. I know that we can and must sanctify time.
So I hope you don't mind, I made up some new personal lyrics to fit the tune:
In a moment you can buy yourself a piece
Learn Torah, pray, do selfless service and perform good deeds
One point in time
All we have is one point in time
One point in time
It’s a treasure, every point in time
Today is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The clock is running so let’s try to not waste any time. If we’re focused on what’s really important and believe in the value of what we’re doing, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.
In the merit of our using time wisely and sanctifying each moment may we elevate ourselves in this world and the next world. May we soon see with our own eyes the culmination of our efforts with the coming of Mashiach and the building of the Bais Hamikdosh. Amen.