Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Time - Life’s Most Precious Gift
Published: Thursday, January 3, 2019 02:12:54 PM
Number of views: 517

“This month shall be for you the beginning of all the months.” (Shemot 12:2) This verse contains the very first Mitzva that Klal Yisrael received as we were about to become a free and independent nation, right before the Exodus from Egypt.

Seforno explains that this Mitzva of Rosh Chodesh was presented first because its essence – that we Jews are masters over our time – is the central concept and definition of being a free individual. Because as slaves in Egypt, we had no time to call our own, as we were totally dependent on the will of our Egyptian task masters.

Thus, as Israel was about to leave Egyptian bondage forever, we were presented with the Mitzva whose essence is the concept of the gift of freedom of time.

It is Beth Din’s task to declare when Rosh Chodesh will take place, by one of two methods. Number one, through RE’IAH – the actual sighting of the New Moon by two valid witnesses, or number two, by CHESHBON – calculation, where Beth Din determines through a mathematical formula when it was probable to see the New Moon.

What is the lesson for us today when we have no Beth Din to determine when the New Moon is? Rav Pam ZT”L explains that there are 2 distinct ways in which a person can utilize his time in this world. Number 1, through RE’IAH or number 2, with a CHESHBON. For many people, time is spent through RE’IAH, how they see fit to waste time. These foolish people do with time whatever they want, failing to realize that the passing of time on Facebook and Smart Phones is a tragic loss never to be re-gained.

However, the intelligent, thoughtful person uses time with a CHESHBON. He is careful to calculate and fulfill his days and hours with Torah and Mitzvot.

We must strive to the best of our ability to use life’s most precious gift wisely, by not killing time or wasting time.

Thus, the Hebrew word for time is ZMAN, which means preparation. G-d gives us time in this world to prepare ourselves for OLAM HABA – Eternal Life in the World To Come.

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