21 Iyar 5779 / Sunday, May 26, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
 
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Constant Movement    

Constant Movement



Like the earth we are in a constant state of movement. Things may seem like they are not going anywhere but in reality they are moving at a breakneck pace…

 



It may seem at times that we are going nowhere, or even not going at all, but we are always moving.
 
Each day G-d gives us a great example.
 
Watching a sunrise is a majestic sight. It is a Divine wonder that takes about 15 minutes. At first all we see is a bright orange dot peeking out of the sky. Slowly the dot becomes a sliver. As it edges its way towards the clouds, half of the sphere is visible. Soon only a dot is hidden from plain view.
 
Before our coffee gets cold the sun has emerged. The day begins. It is a very peaceful way to appreciate King David's daily practice to "awaken the dawn." (Psalms 57:9).
 
A sunrise looks like a very slow process. In reality something momentous is taking place. Our galaxy moves through space at 1.4 million miles per hour. The earth, with a circumference of 24,902 miles, rotates at a speed of 1,038 miles per hour as it circles a body 1 million times larger than itself. What appears to take a long time are really two uneven bodies moving faster than anything we have ever created in such sync that when one of those bodies rotates in flight, the relative movement of the other looks smooth and flawless.
 
The choreography is beyond anything we could design. A sunrise not only expresses the beauty of G-d’s creation. It reveals the complexity and sophistication of His wonders.
 
Such is the story of our own lives.
 
We are always moving. We are always growing. The movement may be so gradual, so subtle we cannot perceive it, but we are always moving.
 
Ever see a child for the first time in three months? He looks like a completely new person. He has grown significantly. Many of his features have matured from the last time we saw him. What about an adult? Even at full maturity, not seeing a friend for months will result in some changes becoming obvious.
 
Like the earth we are in a constant state of movement. Things may seem like they are not going anywhere but in reality they are moving at a breakneck pace.
 
In his masterpiece, The Path of the Just, the Ramchal refers to the concept of alacrity. When there is an opportunity to perform a mitzvah, we need to perform it as quickly as we can. We cannot delay. Like the slow sunrise, the gradual pace of life may give off the illusion that we have plenty of time. Beneath the surface we discover a far more serious truth. Delaying a mitzvot or two each day results in losing 500 mitzvot a year. Multiplied by 70 years and that's 35,000 mitzvot lost to inertia.
 
When we go to the Next World and see the place our fellow received because he performed one more mitzvah than us, the agony will be unbearable. If we realize that we denied ourselves so much from such a small measure of complacency...
 
We are in a race against time
 
Listening to a Divine Stopwatch count down the moments can energize us to restore these precious merits. A few small changes and we can recover every past mitzvah we lost.
 
Every deed we perform has a major impact on who we are, and who we become.
 
Imagine a car going 10 miles per hour. If it turns slightly to the right, the move is simple and sharp. The car covers less distance with each turn. What happens once he is moving at 100 MPH? Every turn is far more important. From the moment he makes a change in trajectory his course is forever altered. It is a lot harder to change direction with so much momentum behind him. Every decision he makes will have a far greater impact on the future so it is crucial that he makes the right choices at every turn.
 
If we are in such a rapid pace of growth then each decision we make will have a tremendous impact. Every habit in our lives carries great momentum. To create a habit is easy; to change a habit is hard. The longer we go in a particular direction, the more challenging it is to change course. However, when we do change course and develop personal trajectories that steer our lives towards our mission we are moving worlds in the process. The changes may look gradual, but like a sunrise, they are momentous and awe-inspiring.
 
 
* * *
Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East, a book about personal holiness and happiness. He lives in Israel with his wife and three children.





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