Drash on Parashat D'varim
Rabbi Dean Shapiro
Beth Shalom, Auckland, New Zealand
“You have stayed long enough at this mountain[i],” God tells Moses shortly after he received the Torah there. How could that be? On the mountain top, Moses was in extreme communion with God. According to the Tradition, he ascended to the Heavenly throne room, all sapphire[ii] and smoke[iii], and saw the future in Rabbi Akiba’s own classroom[iv]. Too long in such an august state? Religious people might be forgiven for thinking that forever wouldn’t be long enough.
Moses had to descend to attend to his rebellious people, but the lesson is a good one for us, too. All things, even the very best, have their moment. The finest ingredients don’t make much of a cake if it’s left in the oven too long. A great business idea is worthless if there aren’t sufficient consumers. Successful home buying doesn’t just rely on the market—the family must be ready, too. Heart-to-heart conversations are vital, but can do more damage than good if not timed correctly. Timing is an art; too early or too late can harm the results.
How do you know when the time is right? Research helps, of course. You’ve got to think an important move through fully, accessing as many elements as you can. But intuition matters, too. I think our gut can help us decide not only whether to do something, but also when to do it.
“There is a time for all things under heaven,” Kohelet/Ecclesiastes[v] tells us. In addition:
There is a time for the mountain above and a time for the valley below.
There is a time for solitude and a time for community.
There is a time for serenity and a time for activity.
There is a time for review and a time for movement.
There is a time for rest and a time for action.
Knowing what to do is half the battle. The other half is knowing when.
[i] Deuteronomy 1:6; Parashat D’varim
[ii] Exodus 24:10
[iii] Isaiah 6:4
[iv] Babylonian Talmud Menachot 29b
[v] Ecclesiates/Kohelet 3:1