The sagacious words of the late Rabbi Sidney Greenberg (1917-2003), of blessed memory. Rabbi Greenberg was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1942, served as a U.S. Army Chaplain in World War II, and was the esteemed leader of Temple Sinai in Philadelphia for his entire rabbinic career.
We wait too long to do what must be done today, in a world which gives us only one day at a time, without any assurance of tomorrow. We frequently lament that our days are so few; and yet, we procrastinate as though we had an endless supply of time.
We wait too long to show kindness. And often we thereby lose the opportunity. How many lines of thanks or encouragement are waiting for us to be written? How many words of solace are waiting for us to be spoken?
We wait too long to be charitable. Too much of our giving is delayed until much of the need has passed and the joy of giving has been largely diminished.
We wait too long to speak the words of forgiveness which should be spoken, to set aside the hatreds that should be banished.
We wait too long to discipline ourselves and to take charge of our lives. We feed ourselves the vain delusion that it will be easier to uproot tomorrow the debasing habits which we permit to tyrannize over us today, whose command over us grows more deeply entrenched each day they remain in power.
We wait too long to be parents to our children – forgetting how brief is the time during which they are children, how swiftly life urges them on and away.
We wait too long to read the books that are waiting to be read, to see the beauty which is here to be seen, to hear the music which is here to be heard, to seek repentance which is within reach, to utter the prayers which are waiting to cross our lips, to perform the duties waiting to be discharged, to show the love that may no longer be needed tomorrow.
We wait too long in the wings, when life has a part for us to play on stage.
Our prayer book reminds us that God is waiting – waiting for us to stop waiting, and to proceed with all haste to begin to do now, all the things for which this day was made.
Excerpted from PAIRS for Jewish Marriage. Reprinted with permission of PAIRS Foundation.