Time Waits for No One

 

I was thinking the other day of the song by the Rolling Stones and sung so beautifully by Freddie Mercury entitled, “Time Waits for No One”, as my mind began to thinking ahead to the high holy days fast approaching.

The opening lyrics of the song:

Time waits for nobody
Time waits for nobody
We all must plan our hopes together
Or we’ll have no more future at all
Time waits for nobody

We might as well be deaf and dumb and blind
I know that sounds unkind
But it seems to me we’ve not listened to
Or spoken about it at all
The fact that time is running out for us all

Because time – it waits for nobody

call upon you and me to think about life and what it means for each of us.

It is true that time waits for no one. As it states so clearly in Psalm 144:4, “They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.” After all, the past rests in our memories and the present is only a blink of the eye in time. Most of us spend our lives wishing the present away as we anticipate the future and then in another blink of the eye, it too is gone.

My wife and I recently flew back to Long Island from Florida. Following Governor Cuomo’s protocols for those arriving in New York from a long list of states, we went into quarantine, or more like isolation, for 14 days. The days moved along, especially in the beginning, so very very slowly. As the end of the quarantine period drew near, looking back it seemed as if the days went by faster than I thought they would. This happened once I stopped thinking about how much time I had left and decided to just take one day at a time. Carpe Diem, I seized the day!

Time does wait for no one and certainly this is true for Jews and the Jewish community as well. The minute we finish one holiday, holy day, or even a fast day like Tisha B’av, we begin thinking about the next one. We constantly ask each other, “When is Rosh Hashanah this Year? When is Chanukah? When is Pesach?” The tradition encourages this by some of the halachic directions for our holiday observances. When one finishes Yom Kippur with the sounding of the shofar, one must begin building the Sukkah.

As I am writing this article, I am in the shadow of the recently observed fast day Tisha B’Av. I am thinking that in a little over 3 weeks’ time Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah, will begin. This then moves me to think of the holiday of Sukkot to follow. Jewish calendar time is flying by, at least in my mind!

It is true then that time waits for no one. The holidays and holy days will come, and they will go, no matter how much we wish they would stay. I need, however, to stop my mind from racing ahead to the next holiday or the next event on my own personal calendar, and just live today first, and to live it to its fullest.

The final stanzas of the Rolling Stones’ song teach this to us.

The lyrics:

You don’t need me to tell you what’s gone wrong
You know what’s going on
But it seems to me we’ve not cared enough
Or confided in each other at all
It seems that we’ve all got our backs against the wall…

We’ve got to trust in one another
Or there’ll be no more future at all…
Let’s learn to be friends with one another
Or there’ll be no more future at all

Time waits for nobody – yeah
Time don’t wait – waits for no-one
Let us free this world for ever
And build a brand new future for us all

tell us that what is important is what we do now and particularly how we treat each other today and every day.

Time does not stand still, but we can make a difference by the way we spend the time of each day, and by the way we treat others, our world, and our selves. If we fail to do this, then we are just wasting the time that waits for no one.

 

About Rabbi Dr. Steven Moss
Rabbi Dr. Steven A Moss is Rabbi Emeritus of B’nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, NY, a synagogue he has served since 1972. He recently retired to Boynton Beach, FL.

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