Shulamit S. Magnus
Shulamit S. Magnus
Jewish historian

Bound By Time

The clocks moved back in Israel a few hours ago. I woke at my usual time, as decided by my body. Yesterday, this would have been 7AM. Today, it was 6 AM.

All morning, I am reminded that it is earlier than it is. I have more time!

Of course, I don’t, but the feeling is of just an incredible gift, a freebie, of the most precious kind. Time, as I told myself as I pondered aliya, which meant giving up a plumb, secure job and coming to Israel with nothing, is the one non-renewable resource. None of us knows how much we will get and there is no “buying” more of it. The wealthiest person on the planet has no means in this calculus. It is the most precious thing there is.

So we get the illusion of just having been granted more, just like that.

In a few months, we will get another reminder, when time is taken away, just like that.

The gift of free-time comes now, as the hours of daylight lessen, lessen, daily, a reminder of mortality.

Time taken will come as spring unfolds, as each day expands with more light. A balancing, also a reminder.

We are mortal. Bound by Time. The most precious- what shall we call it– thing?– there is.

About the Author
Shulamit S. Magnus is a professor of Jewish history, author of four books and numerous articles on Jewish modernity and the history of Jewish women, and winner of a National Jewish Book award and other prizes. She is a founder of women's group prayer at the Kotel and read Torah there in the first such service, in 1988. She is first-named plaintiff on a case before the Supreme Court of Israel asking enforcement of Jewish women's already-recognized right to read Torah at the Kotel, using scrolls held there, and she opposes the Kotel deal, which would criminalize women's group prayer at the Kotel. Her opinions have been published in the Forward, Tablet, EJewish Philanthropy, Moment, and the Jerusalem Post. She is currently at work on a book of scholarly advocacy about the history of agunot and how to free gunot and end iggun.