Ben-Tzion Spitz
Former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay

Pekudei: Masters of Time

 Time stays long enough for those who use it. — Leonardo DaVinci 

The Jewish people are extremely conscious of the passage of time, of the change in seasons, of the hour of sunrise and of sunset, of the ascendance of the full moon, of both the celestial and man-calculated markers that differentiate between one moment and other.

Jewish law and the Jewish calendar are particularly sensitive to the movement of the moon. The new moon signifies the start of the Hebrew month. Some of our major holidays (Passover, Sukot and Purim) coincide with the full moon, and the monthly blessing of the moon also must be done as the moon waxes.

The Sfar Emet in 5636 (1876) explains that the Jewish affinity to the ever-changing moon mirrors a deeper connection with a fluid time stream. It is common to imagine time as the uniform ticking of the clock. The seconds, minutes, hours and days rush by with regimented, unstoppable force. It neither slows down nor speeds up when we would want it to. Time marches on its inexorable path, giving no heed to mortal desires.

However, the Sfat Emet hints that we indeed can exert some control over time. He states that in the merit of the Jewish people submitting themselves to God’s will, God in turn allows us a certain malleability of time. Perhaps those sweet moments last longer than they would otherwise. Perhaps the painful times are shorted and their memories dulled faster. Perhaps time respects the special moments and allows us to capture them well in our minds and in our hearts, making them eternal.

In short, there is some divine allowance that in essence makes us masters of time.

Shabbat Shalom,



To the memory of Manuel Tenenbaum z”l, one of the greatest teachers and community leaders of Uruguay, who constantly promoted and defended our eternal traditions.

To the memory of David Fremd hy”d, brutally slain in Paysandu just for being Jewish. May his memory be a timeless blessing and may his family and the entire community be consoled amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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