I read with some interest a brief piece in the current AARP Magazine on the growing trend for activity trackers. (AARP June/July 2014. ) These are little bracelets that can track your daily movements. It seems that if I can count the number of steps I take, I can be more aware of the amount of exercise I do. Thus, the more active the better. These little machines are linked to my computer and smart phone and so I can keep a “running” total of steps in a day. The article mentioned a new product, a “Tikker”, that counts down the “years, minutes and seconds the wearer theoretically has left to live”. JUST what we all need. Now the mind boggles as to this explanation. One can only imagine a series of Saturday Night Live routines around your Tikker bracelet. Evidently, it is supposed to remind us to live in the day.
OK, so, the last thing I need right now is a bracelet that counts down the hours, days and years I have left to live. And who figured that out anyway? Jewish tradition, without the aid of technology, had the idea of living in the “day: thousands of years ago. An interpretation of the Torah portion “Nitzavim” (Deut. 29) interprets the repetition of the word “ha’yom” (the day) to remind us that we need to live “in” the day; to celebrate each and every day as a gift.
It may not be beneficial if we dwell on how much time we all have left. Especially in the summer! What is important, is to echo the passage in Deuteronomy (it will come up at the end of the summer and again on Yom Kippur) in that a valuable lesson to remember is the necessity of celebrating each day and the time we do have.
We are all at the age when the notion of time is changing. We can measure our life not in days and years, rather, in those moments of meaning that we create with friends and family; those quiet moments and experiences that remind us that life is really a gift. Those moments are hard to measure through digital print outs. They are best experienced and savored.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.