Friday, January 3, 2014

One Day I'll Stop Procrastinating

You know those people who always arrive at their appointments exactly on time?
You invite them for dinner at 7:00, and the clock strikes seven simultaneously with the doorbell. 
They show up at weddings before the chosson and  kallah. 
They complete all their tasks ahead of the deadline.
Know the type?
When I become the type, you will have your parsha post ready each week before shabbos starts. 
The concept of TIME is a significant one. 
Time can be used positively, as well as negatively.
Using time negatively means being lazy. Being lazy is a debilitating disease. It prevents a person from reaching a goal. Be it a household chore, a project at work, a spiritual activity, or just about anything that requires some movement.
Using time positively allows productivity and accomplishment to be your primary goal.
The exact second that the Jews left Egypt was an extremely significant second.  The word b'chipazon means that they left in a rush, at that instant. Had the Jews stayed even one second longer, they would not have been worthy of leaving. 
That means, had we remained there for one more instant after being set free, instead of scurrying out immediately, we would still be living there, wearing burkas and eating lachmajin. I probably would spell my name, Yaphah.
At this time, they were on the forty ninth level of impurity, out of fifty. I'm no mathematician and even I can count that low. Had they waited even one more second before walking out the gates of Egypt, they would've hit rock bottom. They would've reached the fiftieth level of impurity. 
Here's my question. 
What was so dangerous about remaining another minute in Egypt?  Can one extra minute of living with the Egyptians  influence them negatively? They had been living side by side for over 200 years, what new trends could they possibly teach them a second before they leave?
And besides, wasn't this the moment of redemption? A moment of purity? Of revelation? It was such a holy moment. 
How could they possibly have fallen down into a level of impurity in just one split second during the holiest occasion ever?
See, the danger was time, itself.  Being lazy. Not acting immediately. 
That's the impurity. Laziness. Procrastination. 
When given their exit visas, had they remained at home to finish a game of candy crush before leaving, had they stopped to take a salvation selfie, or run back home to change into their favorite outfit.... that would've been the danger. That is the impurity.
When we're given an opportunity to do something, the moment to do it is right then. If we wait even one moment, we can miss it.
A few years ago, I thought of the most perfect shiduch. I actually didn't  know either one of them too well, but whatever I did know seemed perfect. So, what does the president of the Procrastinators Club do? She doesn't pick up the phone and suggest it. I had every excuse in the world to wait a little while. They were both in camp... I didn't know how to reach them...maybe they'd prefer to wait til after the summer...maybe this, maybe that.
 Short story shorter, a day after camp was over, I heard the wonderful news that they had gotten engaged..... to each other! Someone else had gotten my mitzvah. (And my shadchanus money ;) winking).  Because the moment I thought of it, was the moment I should've acted.
Y'know, I was always a little bothered by the famous story of Rabbi Akiva, where he traveled away from home for 12 years learning Torah, and upon returning home, before even entering his home, he overheard his loving wife, Rachel, speaking to a neighbor inside. "I'm so proud of my husband's accomplishments in Torah, I wouldn't mind if he goes back for another 12 years!"
At the echo of those words, he made an about face, got into his carriage, and traveled away for an additional 12 years.  
Couldn't he just go in and say, "Hello, wife?"
Not even, "what's for dinner". Just H-E-L-L-O. And then he can turn around and go to resume his studies. 

Only now, after studying the concept of  b'chipazon, do I understand why he couldn't go in. Because that was the moment to act. That was the second to go back. It was now or never. If he would have gone in and seen his wife for even for a second, he may have changed his mind. 
B'chipazon. They left in a rush.. They had to hurry out of there, because stalling and procrastinating would have brought them down to a lower spiritual level. 
This can possibly be the reason why they were commanded, at this moment, to eat matzah on Pesach. 
The two significant aspects that make up matzah are: a time factor, and constant work.  Consistently kneading the dough, for exactly 18 minutes, qualifies the matzah kosher. Stopping to knead it, symbolizing laziness, or allowing it to sit even one minute more than 18... and it's become chametz. 
Time is so important, that 100th of a second is worth ten million dollars. Yup, you heard right.
Ever watch the Olympics? The winner crosses the finish line at 3:27:53 seconds. So, at the following Olympics, when the next contestant is trying to beat him, and he's coming in at three seconds... everyone's turning blue in anticipation...and he wins by 3:27:52 seconds! The crowd bursts into cheer. We have a new winner, who won by 100th of a second. 
What happens the morning after? The new winner gets a phone call. It's Nike. They want him to model their new sneakers. That's two million dollars. 
Next, Coca Cola calls him. They want his to be drinking their stuff on TV. That's another two million. 
And the phone rings and rings. One hundredth of a second is worth ten million dollars.
I think Ill get off the computer now and go beat last week's record in shabbos cooking. Procrastination? Aint nobody got time for that!

Have a beautiful shabbos,