The Value of Time & Sefirat Ha’Omer

time for change 300x225 The Value of Time & Sefirat Ha’Omer

As you know, over the past several weeks, I’ve been focusing on time management, with a goal of using my time more intentionally.

I’d say efficiently – but really, what I think it’s all about is not just doing more in less time, but doing the things that really matter to us and feeling good about how we do them.

Leading up to my time management focus, I’d been frankly feeling like I was drowning under my (mental) to do list. {Granted, this feeling peaked during the lead up to (and letdown from) Pesach – which is likely the busiest season for Jewish families anyway.}

But with some tweaking of our schedule, along with a new-found commitment to being more intentional about how I spend my time, I’ve come a long way. I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Like getting out of debt, the biggest challenge with our time management is to “stay” out of debt. Meaning, to keep our attention focused so that we don’t fall back in to bad habits.  One of those new habits, for me, is to embrace taking care of myself as a priority.

With all these thoughts percolating in my head, I went to a women’s shiur two Shabbatot ago – something I hadn’t made the time to do in a long time, but clearly this was a shiur I needed to hear. (Props to Tamar Halpern!)

Not surprisingly, we were talking about the Omer. Specifically, how we count the Omer (days vs. weeks?, one mitzvah or 49?, with a bracha and without?) – and what it all means.

One of the sources that we looked at was Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (on Pesach, Sefirat ha­Omer, and Shavuot, by David Shapiro, pg. 147).

He writes:

When the Jews were delivered from the Egyptian oppression, and Moses rose to undertake the almost impossible task of metamorphosing a tribe of slaves into a nation of priests, he was told by God that the path leading from the holiday of Passover to Shavuot, from initial liberation to consummate freedom,…leads through the medium of time.

The commandment of sefirah was entrusted to the Jew; the wondrous test of counting forty­nine successive days was put to him. These forty­nine days must be whole. If one day [is] missed, the act of numeration is invalidated.

A slave who is capable of appreciating each day, of grasping its meaning and its worth, of weaving every thread of time into a glorious fabric…is eligible for Torah. He has achieved freedom.

We may say then that qualitative­time­consciousness is comprised of two elements: First: the appreciation of the enormous implications inherent in the fleeting moments of the present. No fraction of time — however infinite — should slip through the fingers, left unexploited; for eternity may depend upon the brief moment.

Secondly: the vicarious experience, while in the present, of the past and the future. No distance, however removed, should separate one’s time­consciousness from the dawn of one’s group or from the eschatological destiny and infinite realization of one’s cherished ideals.

Wow.

My focusing on time management, dafka during the Omer, was apparently no coincidence. These weren’t just the sleep-deprived ramblings of a multi-tasking mom!

Our time has value – perhaps supreme value – and, as a result, our choices about how we spend that time have weighty consequences.

As free people — as people who must forever be working on themselves to be worthy of the gift of Torah — we must constantly be mindful and intentional about how we allocate, manage and engage in our TIME.

Wishing you all a beautiful Shavuot, filled with ice cream and cheesecake and lasagna.  And with the intention to “weave every thread of time into a glorious fabric”.

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  1. What a beautiful insight! Thank you for sharing. Chag Sameach!

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