This past week, I heard of the passing of Dr. Tsippi Kauffman z”l. Dr. Kauffman was a Senior Lecturer in Jewish Thought at Bar Ilan University. Although I did not know her personally, we had many mutual friends. An article written by Dr. Kauffman a few years ago about Parshat Ki Tavo for Likrat Shabbat, a publication from Herzog College was quoted by Rabbi Meir Shakedi at her funeral. The article was called HaYom, BaYom HaZeh Mamash, Today, Exactly today.
In the article, Dr. Kauffman reminds us of the importance of appreciating each day. Most people stay focused on the past or on the future and don’t concentrate on the present.
Dr. Kauffman points out that the word “HaYom”, “today” is mentioned over 150 times in the Torah, half of which are in the Book of Dvarim. In Parshat Ki Tavo, Dvarim 26:16-19 the word is repeated over and over:
This very day, HaShem, your God, commands you to perform these statutes and these laws; you shall observe and perform them wholeheartedly and with your whole being. HaShem, you have distinguished today to be a God for you and to go in His ways and to guard His statutes and His commandments and His laws, and to obey Him. And HaShem has distinguished you today to be for Him a treasured people as He said to you, and to guard His commandments. And to place you superior to all the nations whom He made, for praise and for renown and for glory, and so that you may be a people sanctified to HaShem, your God, as He said.
Dr. Kaufman explains that they were not only commanded on “that day” but as they prepared to make the transformation from the wilderness to the Land of Israel, Moshe wanted them to step back and understand the significance of that moment.
It is not a coincidence that HaYom is mentioned over 150 times. We must seize the opportunity to appreciate and live each day to its fullest.