I have a confession to make. I didn’t make it to midnight on Dec. 31. Exhausted from travelling back from the west coast (yes, it was much warmer), we did not even notice the clock slowly creeping towards midnight. My children, on the other hand, were very interested in staying awake until the ball dropped in New York marking the start of a new year. After some explaining and quick parental talking, both girls were convinced to head upstairs to bed (Gilad did not have an opinion on this).
My girls insistence on marking this transition has made me think about how we mark transitions in time. Unless we actively do something, time as the the Steve Miller Band song goes, “keeps on slippin’, into the future.” We do not notice its slow passage by us and we can often end up surprised that the day is over. Time itself is constant; it is our observation of it that seems to make it move slower (when you are waiting on line at the store) or faster (enjoying a night out).
I’m sure that many of our New Year’s Resolutions (the ones that don’t have to do with losing weight, exercising more, or eating better) have to deal with how we use our time. We may have promised to spend more time with family, more time on hobbies, and less time worrying about things that we do not have any control over.The one thing that we can’t do, even if we really want to, is make more time. Time is not like money. It cannot be banked or saved and once it is gone, it is gone for good.
So how do we do a better job of marking time and making ourselves more aware of it?
One simple way is to recognize that some time is different than other time. It’s not that there are different kinds of seconds or minutes, but rather we need to recognize that there are different ways in which we use our time and marking those differences can help make all of our time feel more significant.
The best way that I have ever experienced this is not with a giant ball dropping in New York City which happens only once a year. It is rather through the experience of Havdallah each and every week at the close of Shabbat. This incredible sensory experience draws you in and helps mark the difference between the sacred time of Shabbat and the busyness of the rest of the week. The flickering light of a candle, the smell of the spice box, the sweet taste of the wine, and the sounds of singing each contribute to an immersive experience that can touch the soul.
For those of you in Preschool or Middle School, join us tomorrow night from 6:30-7:30 PM to mark the end of Shabbat and the beginning of another week. The Kehillat Schechter Committee and Middle School Student Government have jointly planned a fun evening of buddies in their pj’s, making crafts, singing Havdallah and other songs, reading books, and enjoying milk and cookies. The Middle School students will then have the option to stay for a movie night in the gym. These sound like wonderful ways to mark the transition this week!
Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School