Sunday, October 16, 2005

בטול זמן

Ah, the lessons you learn from going to university...

Recently, I've been busy. Well, very busy. I'm taking a class that essentially involves writing a 40-page thesis, which can be a bit painful (although FASCINATING!!). I'm also taking four other classes, none of which are any piece of cake. And missing all these classes (and the time to write papers) for Yom Tov hasn't been helping very much.

But I just thought of something (which I do, occasionally, between thinking about Hebrew printers, the American Revolution, East Asia, the Italian Renaissance, and Latin). Because of my crazy workload (although not as crazy as Stx's ever was, but still...), I've been utilizing every moment. Any chance I have, I'm reading textbooks, translating Livy, doing reseach, and writing essays. I have not surfed the internet since the summer (and now that I've added Google Desktop, I don't even have to check and see when blogs are updated! ;) ). I've even learned how to create time! If you sleep less, you can steal hours from the night and add them to the day.

Because I've been so pressed for it, I've been thinking about time. Imagine if every mitzva had a deadline, if every chesed had a list of requirements that had to be fulfilled by a certain date. Would we then focus more on them? For me, if I know something has to be done by a certain time, I'll do it! In general, I find myself putting time limits on things so that I'll force myself to be good about getting them done.

But do we do that with mitzvos? Do we see our lives as something temporal, with an absolute deadline, after which we get a grade that will decide the rest of our existance?

We should do it every R"H and Y"K. No, we should do it every day, every hour. How do we spend our time? Are we working hard to meet our deadline? Or will we wait until the last minute and hand in a scribbled, unedited copy, having had "so much more important" things to do?


Jen said...

Compelling questions. You've really made me think. Thank you.

Stx said...

One of the yetzer hara's biggest weapons in his arsenal is his ability to keep us so busy that we just don't have time to THINK about things that matter, much less act on those thoughts. But you, TRW, refuse to allow him to take over like that. Instead, you mold his weapon into a means to understand what really matters in life - and acting on that understanding will cause the weapon to self-destruct.

It's late. Bear with me.

Karl said...

Its all about mind over matter - having the fore-thought to make time for what really matters, and keeping that in mind. A great thought for this lunchtime!
May this year be a year of clarity in everything for everyone.
Enjoy Yom Tov while you have the time to.

Jesse A. said...

But the fact is, many mitzvot do have deadlines. It's a mitzvah to set specific times for torah study. Davening and Chagim all have set times. There are even specific times that we have to give tzedakah (though these are often times where we give small, perfunctory amounts, reserving the more significant ones for other times, it doesn't have to be that way. The difficult thing, as you say, is to be concious of this. Good luck, and Chag sameach.

Stx said...

But Jesse, it's not the mitzvos with deadlines that give us the most trouble. It's those that have no deadlines. It's the chassadim that we should do, the extra tehillim that we should say, the successful middah-battles that we should fight...

It's kinda like a husband-wife relationship. Buying her flowers on your anniversary is nice. Buying her flowers "just because I was thinking of you" on some random day in the middle of the that's a whole different story.

Our relationship with Hashem is not purely composed of responsibilities and deadlines. There are those in any relationship. But we connect with Hashem through bringing him into our everyday lives - "ki cholas ahava ani" - We're so "lovesick" for Hashem that we just can't think of anything else. And we prove our lovesickness by showing the symptoms. By using every spare (and non-spare) second to serve Him.

Drew_Kaplan said...

how to create time! If you sleep less, you can steal hours from the night and add them to the day.

Yeah, and the best part is, if you start to feel tired, caffeine is available to perk ya back up!

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I think that the knife has an excellent point about the quality rather than the quantity of time we spend.

Good luck with your thesis. I know it will turn out well.

My daughter's Hebrew name is Batiya Shira bas bracha. Thank you so much for asking.

I have a new post you might like.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I hope your paper is coming along well. Just wanted to say hello.

Have a good week.