Article

Every day ought to be treated as the most important day of the year. Every day is filled with infinite treasures that will never return. Every moment is filled with opportunities that beg to be actualized. Every hour holds within it blessings that impatiently wait to be unleashed.

Rabbi Allouche

In the 16th century, an innocent Jew was sentenced to life in prison by an anti-Semitic baron.

One day, the cruel baron decided to show him a bit of mercy, and grant him one day of freedom each year.

The Jew was torn. Which day should he choose? Should he choose Yom Kippur? Should he choose his birthday, or perhaps, his wedding anniversary?

He decided to pen a letter to one of the foremost rabbinic leaders of his generation, Rabbi David ibn Zimra, to share with him his great dilemma. The Rabbi’s advice did not tarry: “Don’t wait,” he replied. “Choose the first available day he gives you. Grab it immediately. Be it a holiday or a regular Tuesday.”

Rabbi David ibn Zimra words share a powerful truth. Every day ought to be treated as the most important day of the year. Every day is filled with infinite treasures that will never return. Every moment is filled with opportunities that beg to be actualized. Every hour holds within it blessings that impatiently wait to be unleashed. Yet, too many times, we are shackled by the troubles of our past or the fears of our future that we become complacent, and forget that our most important day of the year may just be today.

To paraphrase the brilliant words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: “Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing now.”

This is the message that G-d imbued in His people, shortly after the Grand Exodus — during this Hebrew month of Nissan which we are ushering in tonight and tomorrow — as He commanded them to… count days. “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day after Sabbath, seven full weeks.” Thus, Jews worldwide will continue to count the days of the Omer, from the second night of Passover until the Festival of Shavuot.

Indeed, to take us out to freedom, G-d took us out of Egypt. But to make us eternally free, G-d made us count – and appreciate – the value of each and every day.

During a recent trip to Israel, I visited my old high-school Yeshiva, the prestigious Mekor Chaim High-School, headed by my beloved mentor, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz of blessed memory. As I entered the walls of the Yeshiva, I became the humble witness of an extraordinary sight: the 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 with the fire of G-d.

But it was the words of their song that moved me most:

“Ma shehaya, haya, ha’ikar lehatchil mehatchala…
Whatever was – was, the important thing is to start anew.
Father in Heaven, renew me completely and ignite my soul. Today. Now.”

Amen.