As I alluded to in the last blog on Ellul, one of the issues that confront many people, myself included, during this run up to Rosh Hoshonnah is the opportunity to reflect. However, this reflection often involves looking back and that often involves the staggering realization that time is not passing, it seems to be rushing, even at hyper-speed. Now, we were warned by this when we were younger and heard our parents and grandparents tell us how fast time seems to be moving as they got older. Well, once again, they were right.
There is this great line I came across in a novel a while ago that stated that we do not “own” time, rather we “rent” it. Time is, of course, one of the great inventions of the human race. Somewhere, some one decided to carve out hours, seconds, minutes. And we mess with time. Daylight savings becomes standard time. Who knows? But, as we get ready to start a new year (another invention of mankind..and even in Judaism, that time has evolved) we can be reminded how precious that time is–especially as we get older and the amount of time is more precious.
In his “To Grow In Wisdom” essay, Heschel notes that “Time is the only aspect of existence which is completely beyond man’s control”. He may succeed in conquering space, in sending satellites around the moon, but time remains immune to his power”. Indeed, he goes on to posit the fact that we accrue things in many ways as a means to try and conquer time, and the ultimate reality that our “time” will end. This is , of course, a High Holiday sermon all to itself. Ellul is that first glance at this. We are getting older, we are becoming more aware of the precious nature of time, its fleeting reality and the fact that we need to cherish and value that time, since we cannot control when ours will end.
Time is a great opportunity to be creative, we have the ability to create our “time” in the time we have to live. There is that value of choice again, as we have that choice of how we answer one of the great spiritual questions: what do we wish to do with the time we have left?
Rabbi Richard F Address