Jewish World Review
May 12, 2006
/ 14 Iyar, 5766
Marrying the Moment
Rabbi David Aaron
The Joy of Living Now
Six days work shall be done; but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy calling; you shall do no manner of work; it is a Sabbath unto the Lord in all you dwellings.
Do you recall meetings that seem to go on forever? You are sure hours have gone by since the last time you looked at your watch but it has only been twenty minutes. Every minute seems excruciatingly slow. But then again there are meetings when you look at your watch and you cannot believe it. You feel as if you just got together, but six hours have gone by and it's already two o'clock in the morning. You felt no passing of time from the past to the future. You were completely in the moment and transcended the passing of time from past to future. How is this so?
The Kabbalah teaches that in the beginning there was endless light. This endless light is the light of divine oneness the light of love. And this light was timeless. The timeless dimension is the root, context and content of time. Time is born out of the timeless, remains within it and is permeated by it.
People think that before the creation of time there was the eternal but that is incorrect. Eternity is the opposite of time. The eternal and the temporal are mutually exclusive. Eternal is that which goes on and on in time. The divine is not eternal. The divine transcends time. The divine is timeless.
The timeless is not only not the opposite of time it is the root, ground and soul of time. The timeless is both beyond and within time. When you experience true love you get a taste of the timeless. When you experience the timelessness of love you do not sense the passing of time. From the standpoint of the timeless all of time past, present and future are present. There are no milestones that indicate the passing of time. You don't obsess over the past and nor do you feel anxious anticipating the future. You are inside the moment, enjoying the soul of the moment which is timeless. And you are not in a rush to get anywhere. You just dive deeper and deeper into the moment.
Time is Your Soul-Mate
produced time from the timeless six days of creation. This time was used to create space and things in space, the physical world. However, Sabbath was the ultimate goal. On Sabbath no things or creatures were created.
The Midrash says that G-d during the six days of creation was like a King who was building a bridal chamber. At the end of the six days the bridal chamber was finished but it was still incomplete because there was no bride. The chamber is of no use and has no value unless there is a bride.
Sabbath was the bride and we are to consecrate her and marry her. "Remember the Sabbath lekadsho" which means to consecrate and marry. Six days we work with things but Sabbath reminds us that we are married to time. Time is our soul mate not space and not things. Time affects our soul things don't. During the week time is money but Sabbath reminds us that time is life and love. Money is only valuable if it can buy us time. But we can't buy time we have to live it. And we can't buy love we have to be in it.
Time is of the Essence
Sabbath is a day dedicated to celebrating pure time and the experiences that relate to time like life, love and meaning. Space and all the things of space have no use or value unless they provide a setting for meaningful time. Space and all the things in space are the body of the universe but time is the soul. So goes the common phrase, "Time is of the essence" but that is not so about space.
Sabbath is pure time it is not confined by the limitations of space. You can experience Sabbath anywhere. There are remarkable stories about how Jews celebrated Sabbath even in the death camps of the Nazi's. Sabbath is ultimate freedom. Your body could be imprisoned but no matter where you are you soul is free.
G-d spent time to create space and all the things in space. But space and all things therein are for the purpose of time and what we can do with time. Sabbath is all about time.
Nothing relating to space was created on Sabbath. What was created on Sabbath was Menucha "tranquility" and "serenity". These are states of being that you can only achieve when you immerse yourself into the moment.
Even if you are sunbathing on the beach in Bermuda you may still be a nervous wreck because you cannot enjoy the moment. You are upset about what your friend said to you yesterday and worried about how you are going to deal with her when you get back.
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Your body enjoys the space and the fine food and luxurious hotel room. But your soul needs time. When you can immerse yourself into the moment then you encounter the timeless soul of the moment. In that state of being you feel no anxiety about the past or the future. And you feel no need to use the time to increase or fill space. It is then that you experience true love. Only in this state of being are you are able to participate in a pure meeting for the sake of the meeting. Your leg is not impatiently bouncing up and down anxious to get on with things. True meetings only occur in the moment. To meet another person you can be here or there in a subway or in a park. But the meeting can only happen in the now. You are only present in the present. Of course the space and the props can enhance the moment. A fine restaurant with elegant decor can provide a setting for the magical moment of love. But it is the moment that gives meaning to the place and not visa versa.
G-d created the world and all that is in it so that we can enjoy a good and meaningful time. It is the quality of our time that is the soul of our space. It is who we are in time that gives value to what we have in space.
People spend their time to acquire things of space. But the only value to all these things is how they enhance your time for loving and meaningful living.
In the business world we are taught that time is money. But Torah teaches that time is life. You need time for love. You don't need space for love. You don't need a big mansion, money or fancy clothing to love. As far as space goes you can experience love anywhere but you can only experience love now. As far as life goes you can be alive here or there. But you can only live life now. The quality of your existence depends more on your relationship to time than to space.
Six days a week we spend our time to make money, create things and conquer space. But on Sabbath we spend time to celebrate time.
Sabbath is a time for time. It is about celebrating time, appreciating its value and remembering to make it sacred and holy.
What is Sacred Time?
The Torah teaches in the book of Genesis:
"And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He refrained from all His work which G-d had created to do."
G-d made it holy by stopping in the middle of His work.
A moment is profane when I am living it just to get to the next moment. It is not really alive because it is heading for the next moment, which is for the next moment, until the last moment which is death. A sacred moment is lived for the moment. I give myself completely to the moment. This doesn't mean I am irresponsible with the future. A moment is a link in a chain from past to future. And therefore to really live it I must be mindful of this truth however without forfeiting my complete devotion to the moment and get distracted by obsession with the past or worries about the future.
Imagine the awesome moment of your wedding when you are giving your beloved the ring. Would you be thinking about the business meeting you had yesterday or next Sunday's golf tournament?
Sabbath is a wedding and on it you marry the moment.
For more on this topic see Endless Light: the Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power
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Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.
He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.
© 2005, Rabbi David Aaron