Esor Ben-Sorek

Passing Time

On Friday morning, May 13, 2016, listening to the ticking of the minute hand on the wall clock, I became curious to know how much time I have spent on this earth.
A website on my computer did all the mathematic study for me. As of this date, I have lived
1,623,838,412 seconds
43,730,640 minutes
728,844.01 hours
30,368.50 days
4,338.36 weeks
997.73 months
83.15 years

What have I done with that time? With each ticking of the clock, I am one second older. Am I one second wiser? How have the minutes of this one day been wisely (or unwisely) used?

Ma anachnu? Ma chayeinu? What are we? What is our life? Judaism demands answers from each one of us.

Not to wax pseudo-philosophical, but to try to understand how to use time.

I am reminded of a lovely Talmudic parable: A king had a vineyard and he hired a number of laborers to tend his vineyard, one of whom worked more diligently and better than the others.

What did the king do? He took him by the hand and showed him friendship and walked in the vineyard conversing with him.

In the evening, all the laborers appeared before the king to receive their wages and the king paid that good laborer too for a full day’s work.

Then the other laborers became very angry and they said to the king: “Behold, we have worked for you the whole day, whereas this man has worked only a few hours”.

And the king replied: “Why do you speak this way? Consider that this man, in a few hours, did more work for me than all the rest of you who toiled the whole day long.”

This Talmudic parable teaches us a very important lesson that we live in deeds, not years.


It is not HOW LONG WE HAVE LIVED but more importantly HOW WELL WE HAVE LIVED.

With the ticking of the clock and the inevitable passing of time, what answers can we give to those two questions?

How much have we accomplished in our lifetime? How well have we lived our years?

Writing this took only a few minutes and additional seconds. Yet I have not grown wiser.

The ticking of the clock reminds me that I have more deeds to do in order to make my living more worthwhile.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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