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Today – Parshat Vaetchanan

                                Today – Parshat Vaetchanan                  today - pixa

One of the highlights of the high holiday prayers is right near the end of musaf. There is a song in which each line starts with the word ‘Hayom’, today. It is usually sung in a fast-paced upbeat tune and the word Hayom is often repeated. And the song is simply referred to as ‘Hayom’.

When a word is repeated in the Torah, there is a reason. And when a word is oft-repeated within a particular portion, it is being highlighted and emphasized. The word Hayom appears a number of times in this week’s parsha as well.1 What is the significance of the word and was is its takeaway? Reb Tzadok speaks of the concept of how we use our time. Often the words ‘sanctity of time’ refer only to the holidays (holy days). Reb tzadok adds that though that may be true, the six days between any two Sabbaths are worthy of sanctity as well. And that is our challenge. How to sanctify our days and indeed our whole lives.

In fact, when diagnosing a person for dementia, one of the parameters used is the person’s sense of time. If there is an understanding of the passage of time, ‘what day is today’, ‘when is night’, ‘when is day’, ‘what year is it’ are some of the questions used to ascertain this.

The importance of how we use time is a measure of how we understand that our time here is limited. If we have a project to finish by a certain date, we sometimes need to rearrange our priorities to make sure that we finish on time. If we have an understanding of time, then our priorities are easier to organize, including how we use our leisure or vacation time.

In living a life in which the main motivation is the search for meaning and how we fill those days of our lives,3 we are called forth to show what we deem important for us and what we invest in.

One of the best quotes on the internet is “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”4

At every moment in time we have the ability to take advantage of our lives and use the time we have whether long or short to ‘sanctify’ it – by helping others, investing in a relationship, studying, relaxing, exercising, searching for your conscience, whatever – and to be proud of how we use it.



  1. Devarim
  2. Machshavot Charutz 8
  3. Frankl, Viktor, Man’s Search for Meaning
  4. Bil Keane. Click on his name for the source