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Monday, 6 April 2015

Every moment is precious!

Daf Yomi Kesubos 59

One of the perks of life in the White House is the family theatre.  The first family has the luxury of watching any movie any time, often even pre-released from Hollywood!  While most presidents haven’t really had the time or inclination to indulge in this small pleasure of the job, Jimmy Carter managed to watch four hundred eighty movies during his single term in office – that’s an average of one feature-length film every three days!  Of course, all movie choices are public record – while he generally stuck to family-friendly films, let’s just say, that wasn’t necessarily always the case.

Rabbi Eliezer says: Even if a woman has one hundred maids, her husband should have her work, for idleness leads to lewdness.  Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Idleness leads to insanity.

Many people look forward to early retirement.  Many people yearn for days off and extended vacation time.   But we weren’t placed on this earth to idle away our time.  Too much free time is not healthy for the mind or soul.  Certainly, we all need time to wind down and relax, on a daily, weekly and annual basis; but choosing to do nothing constructive in life, says the Talmud, has dire consequences.

Boredom leads to lewd activity.  Boredom leads to insanity.  It’s quite strange, to say the least, that Carter had so much free time while in the Oval Office that he could afford to watch movies every other day.  But the warning of the Talmud certainly rings true when we examine the content of his viewing habits.  And concerning his soundness of mind, his continued post-presidency attacks on the State of Israel makes one wonder. 

The Almighty placed you in this world to be productive.  If you are still here that means that there is still more to do, more to accomplish.  Don’t idle away your life – you have incredible achievements still to contribute to the world!   If you’re not occupied in positivity, your yetzer (inclination) will lead you down the path to negativity – lewd behaviour, emotional instability.  If you occupy yourself with meaningful activity, you will leave no room for the yetzer to act!

Every moment in life is precious.  Don’t ever think your work in life is done.  May you merit the strength to recharge your batteries very quickly and move on to the next great project and accomplishment!