June 22, 2022, Israel

We are always in a rush. I know I am, have always been. We are raised this way; hurry up you will be late to school, hurry up or you will miss the bus, the early bird catches the worm, life waits for no one etc. My father of blessed memory always spoke of slowing down so you can see the flowers along the road, flowers that someone took time to plant, for your enjoyment. We are all in such a hurry.

The other day a woman called me, I was busy. Once I realized who she was, I took a little time, an old friend, she is over 90 years old. So we take a little more time.

Our tradition teaches us to take a moment. Jews tend to be in a rush all the time, we are a busy people, we always have a lot to do, we need to get to our prayers on time, to work, etc. But we are told, when you close the book you are studying, when you close the Talmud that you have been studying, close it slowly. Don't be in a hurry to leave. When the religious holiday is over, when the Sabbath is concluded, take a few more minutes before rushing back to work or other pursuits, take a moment, let it linger, take a moment to slow down, to reflect, to enjoy. 

When I would drive home from my Krav Maga lesson with Itay Gil I would always pass by my parents home as it is on the way to my home. My typical day would include rising early for prayers, going to work, and after work 3 lessons with Itay, in Kickboxing or Krav Maga. At the end I was quite tired. Class gave me just enough time to drive home and have a few minutes to relax before I started my own class which would last 1.5 hours. But my parents house was along the way. 

Each time, I recall, as I drove by, I thought, I am tired, I am in a hurry, my mother will want to make me something to eat, it will take too long, I simply have no time to stop and say hello. But...I am wise, yes I am. Each and every time I would say to myself, a day will come when I will drive by this house and I will want to visit my parents, but for all the money in the world it will not be possible. I will not be able to purchase five minutes with them for a million dollars. This time with them is priceless, and so, each and  every time I stopped by and went it to say hello. 

And now that time has come, and I pass by their home but only their spirit and memory remains, and I am grateful that I was wise enough to take those few extra minutes to say hello. Those moments are my treasures. 

And so my friends, when a sick person needs a moment of your time, when a sad person, a needy person, needs a moment of your precious time, when a poor beggar needs a moment to tell his sad story, remember. Remember that these are the most precious gifts you can give. If you have nothing to give, you can give a smile, a little embrace, a look of sympathy. 

This morning as I was walking out to the synagogue, Peer the Cat came up to me and meowed, he was not hungry, he wanted a little caress. But I was in a hurry. But I remembered, he too is a creature of God, he too needs a little caress, to know that someone cares. So I put down my stuff and I picked him up for a few minutes and he was happy. I believe that my prayers this morning were more meaningful, as it is written, "And His mercy is upon ALL his creatures" (Psalms, Chapter 145, verse 9)

We train hard so we can protect all. We train to be strong so that we can be compassionate. (Tour and Train group)