JWR Outlook

Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 2002 / 26 Elul, 5761

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“According to the count of our days, so may You teach us; then we will acquire a heart of wisdom.”

                        —   Psalms (90:12)

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- This translation reflects a prayer that, since our lives are so short, G-d should make the truth known to us so we may comprehend it. Another translation has this as a statement of appreciation: "You have made the number of our days known to us, so that we may bring home wisdom." G-d has made known to us that, unlike early generations that had very long lifespans, our lives are relatively short. He tells us this this so that we use our limited time here wisely. There is an awareness that our time on earth is brief, and during this time we wish to utilize this time wisely, acquiring wisdom.

If wisdom consists of not squandering time, many people are quite foolish. The largest industry in the United States is not manufacturing, but leisure activities. Many, if not most, people have no idea of how to utilize the time available after completion of work and chores. The extension of life through medicince and the abundance of time-saving technology has given us more leisure time than ever before. But little of this time is used to further education or to perform good deeds. Most of the time is spent in a variety of amusement and entertainment activities or in escape reading.

Some people seem to either have no concept that their time on earth is finite, or if they do, that there is something worthwhile they should be doing with it. Knowledge of either of these would make the often heard statement, "Let's kill some time," an impossibility.

It is paradoxical that those who make the worst use of their time are the same ones who complain that there is never enough time.

Wise people put time to good use. Though they may want more time to accomplish, they rarely complain that there is not enough time. They understand that their time was given them to fulfill a mission, and if they use their time for this, they have enough of it.

Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. is a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment. An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including Wisdom Each Day, from which this was excerpted (Sales of this book, which can be ordered by clicking here, help fund JWR). Send your comments by clicking here.

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