If we wish to live life fully, we too must learn to live within a cloud that blocks the illusions of the future, and fully cherish each minute of our lives. This does not mean that preparing for the phases of life is unnecessary or unimportant. But we ought to treasure every second that G-d gives us, and infuse our every moment, our every encounter, and our every opportunity, with joy and meaning.Rabbi Allouche
“Life goes by so fast,” we often hear.
Indeed, it seems that life is always eluding us. When children graduate from school, they are convinced that life is still way ahead of them. “We first have to graduate high-school, go to college, get a degree and a well-paying job for life to really begin,” they think to themselves.
But when those goals are finally achieved, many believe that life has still not really begun. And they impatiently wait to reach the years after their retirement to begin to explore and enjoy all that they have always wanted.
In the words of my beloved mentor Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz of blessed memory: “We devote so much time to the “before” and “after” [stages of life] that we no longer have time to experience the thing itself. When we are in the “before” stage, we think about what will be; in the “after” stage, we think about how things were. Either way, there is nothing to make us hold on to the present… But the focal point of our thinking is not life for the sake of the morrow but rather life today. What matters now is what is now.”
This week’s Torah portion speaks of the cloud of G-d guiding the Jews in the desert during their 40-year journey in which they also had 42 stops. But why did G-d create a cloud to bestow His glory and serve as a GPS? Wouldn’t a bird, for example, be enough?
Clouds impede the sight of man. They don’t allow us to see beyond the present tense. Here lies the lesson from this cloud of glory: if we wish to live life fully, we too must learn to live within a cloud that blocks the illusions of the future, and fully cherish each minute of our lives. This does not mean that preparing for the phases of life is unnecessary or unimportant. But we ought to treasure every second that G-d gives us, and infuse our every moment, our every encounter, and our every opportunity, with joy and meaning.
During a trip to Israel a few years ago, I visited to my alma mater, the prestigious Mekor Chaim High-School, founded by my beloved mentor, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz aforementioned. As I entered the walls of the Yeshiva on a late Thursday evening, I noticed that the young Mekor-Chaim high-schoolers had formed a perfect circle around the Bima, as they held hands in unity, and danced with overflowing joy, as if that moment, was the most important moment of their lives. Their faces were beaming, and their hearts were set ablaze, as they erupted into a song.
I can still hear them sing those poignant words: “whatever was- was, the most important thing is to start anew. Today. Father in Heaven, renew me completely, ignite my soul.”
May we have the courage to live by these words, and see every moment of life — and its infinite opportunities — anew, each and every day. Amen.