Sanctity of Time

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Bo, the Israelites are commanded regarding the first national mitzvah, that of Kidush Ha’Chodesh, the sanctification of the new month: הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים – this month is for you, the first of the months (Ex.12:2).  In fact, this commandment is so important, so fundamental, and so all encompassing, that the Sages wonder why the Torah did not begin with this very mitzvah, which was the first mitzvah commanded to the Children of Israel (see Rashi to Gen.1:1).

We must wonder: why, in fact, was this the first mitzvah given to our people?  What about the important and holy command to afflict our souls on the 10th of Tishrei?  What about the command to give charity to our less fortunate brethren?  What about the prohibition against idol worship?  Of all the 613 mitzvos in the Torah, the very first we were given, as a people, was the mitzvah regarding time.  Why?

Perhaps the answer lies in the wise words of R’ Avraham Pam zt’l, who used to say: “There is no loss like the loss of time.  Time is life.”

For 116 years, the children of Israel were enslaved by their Egyptian tormentors.  They had no rights and owned nothing during the terrible years of oppression.  Their bodies were not their own, their families were not their own, and even their time was not their own, for a slave’s time belongs to his master.

How beautiful then, that as the nation stood poised to march to freedom, G-d bestowed upon them the gift of time.  For this command represents, perhaps more than any other, their freedom from bondage.

Time, so precious a commodity, was now theirs once again.  To sanctify it, to cherish it, to strive to use it well; for indeed, “there is no loss like the loss of time; time is life.”

Before we were slaves – ‘Lazy, you are lazy!’ the torments shouted, as the slaves worked feverishly to fill their quota of bricks within the allotted time; and now we are free men – ‘This month is foryou.’

Let us ensure that we use each moment of time meaningfully and well.  It is a gift from Above.  It is the gift of life, the gift of freedom and the gift of belonging to this glorious nation, who began their journey to redemption with the blessing of time.

Wishing you a good Shabos.

1 Comment
  • Devorah
    Posted at 09:17h, 22 January