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Torah Time Management

Torah Time Management

Friday, 7 May, 2010 - 4:53 pm

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Torah Time Management

Do you struggle with time management? Are you stressing out over all the things you have to do? Are you finding it difficult to juggle all your responsibilities? Would you like to accomplish more

We have all heard and read about time management, courses and books abound with advice on how to get a handle on your life and how to manage your time.

What does the Torah say? What has been the secret of our great leaders and their ability to do so much in such a short amount of time. Here are just 2 examples. The Rambam, Maimonides, a royal doctor, a great scholar and writer, teacher, mentor, spiritual leader and family person. Published many books and all that before there were computers or internet. Or Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet, known as the Rashba (1235 — 1310). He became a successful banker and leader of Spanish Jewry of his time. He served as rabbi of the Main Synagogue of Barcelona for 50 years.

The Rashba was considered an outstanding rabbinic authority, and more than 3,000 of his responsa are known to be extant. Questions were addressed to him from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and even from Asia Minor. His responsa, which cover the entire gamut of Jewish life, are concise and widely quoted by halakhic authorities.

He also was a doctor, gave 3 lectures each day and managed to take a walk every day for health and relaxation.

How did they do it? How did they manage their time? What is the secret?

The previous Chabad leader was Rabbi Y.Y. Schnerson, and he was under the strict scrutiny of the KGB in Russia. One time he was traveling to Moscow on a very difficult and possibly dangerous journey, Most of us are nervous when we travel for any reason, how much more so when it involves danger. Therefore it was very surprising to the family around him when they observed him deep in thought and contemplation seemingly oblivious to what was going on. His son-in-law, Rabbi M.M. Schneerson, was there and commented on how amazing it was and was curious how he managed to be so calm? His response is the secret to the Torah’s view on time management.

In very simple terms it is about being present in whatever you are doing. If you are studying, the rest of the world does not exist, just you and what you are studying. If you are walking that is the only thing in the world right now. That has enabled the great rabbi’s to be able to be so calm at times of stress and has made it possible for them to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

Today we are extremely distracted; between our cell phones, emails, texts, internet, facebook, linkedin, twitter and all the other distractions in life, it can be very difficult to accomplish anything. The way to manage our time is to focus our attention and shut out everything else. When you are with your family for family time, no calls or checking the internet, when you are out on a date with your spouse no emails or texts, when you are praying only think about you and your relationship with G-d, when you are at work focus on the tasks and accomplishments related to your work and when it is Shabbat power down and rest. There is no stock market, no portfolio, no world, no distractions.

This is not only a way to be more productive it is also a way of be more G-dly. When we are present and focused we are acting in a G-dly way. G-d is always present with us, and G-d wants us to be present as well.

There is a famous Chasidic saying, “Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, be fully there and be present”.

We are right in the middle of the counting of the Omer, when we count every single day (in the evening) and make each day count. “Today is twenty four days, which is 3 weeks and 3 days of the Omer”. We can count each day and make each day and moment count by being present and focused in all our varied activities.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Zalman Marcus

 

 

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