Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday,July 16, 2023

Shavuah Tov,

May I Share a Moment With You, Today?

by Dr. Raymond Finney

INTRODUCTION: A beautiful, meaningful song was written several years ago by Bill and Gloria Gaither. I encourage you to listen to this song and incorporate its message into your life.

LYRICS– PLEASE READ: The song is titled, “We Have This Moment, Today.” The lyrics are:

“Hold tight to the sounds of the music of living
Happy songs from the laughter of the children at play
Hold my hand as we run
Through the sweet fragrant meadows
Making memories of what was today

“We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips
Through our fingers like sand
Yesterday’s gone
And tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment today

“Tender words
Gentle touch and a good cup of coffee
And someone who loves me
And wants me to stay
Hold them near while they’re here, oh
And don’t wait for tomorrow
To look back and wish for this day

“We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips
Through our fingers like sand
Yesterday’s gone
And tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment today, we have this moment today

“We all have this moment today”

THE PERFORMANCE– PLEASE LISTEN: Several artist groups have recorded this song. One recording, performed by the Gaither Vocal Band, may be viewed/ heard at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzoSXNt_5f8 .

LIFE IS SHORT: The Bible teaches what we all know– a person’s earthly life is short:

● (Psalm 49:11-13): Surely [a man] must see, even wise men die. The fool and the brutish will alike perish, leaving their wealth to others. Their inward thought is: Their houses are eternal, their dwellings for generation after generation. They name their lands after themselves. But the pompous man will not endure– he is like the beasts that perish. [“Brutish” in verse 11 is a common translation for the Hebrew ba’ar, but an equally acceptable translation– “stupid” – may be easier to understand.]

● (Isaiah 38:12): [King Hezekiah wrote] “Like a shepherd’s tent, my dwelling is pulled up and carried away from me. Like a weaver I rolled up my life. [Adonai] cuts me off from the loom. From day until night You make my end.”

● (1 Peter 1:24, quoting Isaiah 40:6): For, “All humanity is like grass, and all its glory like a wildflower. The grass withers, and the flower falls off,….”

● (2 Peter 1:13-14a): I think it right to stir you up with a reminder, as long as I remain alive in this “tent” of a body– knowing that my death is soon,….

● (James 4:14): Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

ENJOY TODAY’S MOMENTS BEFORE THEY ARE LOST: As an old man, I  regret failures in my life. One regretted failure is that I did not spend enough time enjoying the small things– the little moments– of life.

I conscientiously busied myself in younger years with obtaining an education and training, earning a living, providing necessities for my family, meeting legal and ethical demands of life, and doing many other things required for being a citizen of modern society.

Such lifestyle in today’s rat race carries a heavy price tag. Before retirement, I lived “two lives.” I was either at the hospital engaged in a very busy medical practice or I was at home with my family. By choice, I had no life (a “third life”) outside of work or family– no golf, no hunting/ fishing, no “hanging out with the guys,” and so forth.

I would add that matters of faith were very important to me. Worship at Shomair Yisrael Synagogue was special and meaningful. Unfortunately, physical infirmities prevent Linda and me from worshiping at Shomair, as we would desire.

I now look back and realize that I spent too many hours at the hospital (my work) and too few hours at home. Sadly, I do not know how I could have shortened my hours at the hospital. A heavy workload inundated our practice, and I had to do my share of work to the best of my ability. Many of my physician colleagues also bemoan the long hours they must spend away from home. Medical practice has been called a “cruel mistress.”

When at home, I was often physically and emotionally exhausted from a heavy workload caused by my medical practice. I needed some rest, and I had chores to do (mow the lawn, tend my weed garden [euphemistically called a vegetable garden], make home repairs, etc.).

Although I was physically at home, I now realize I had too little time to spend with God’s wonderful gifts– my four children. My wife, a stay-at-home mom,  devoted her life to our children. They all became good, solid adults because of her tireless devotion to them. Thank you, Linda.

HITTING HOME– A PERSONAL REFLECTION: God gave Linda and me four children. One of our children, Ray, died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 54 in November, 2018. Linda and I were shocked and deeply grieved. In an ideal world, a parent would die before his/ her child.

I remember standing with Linda in his church, staring into an open casket where lay my lifeless child. At the body viewing, his friends and co-workers told Linda and me what a kind, caring man he was– what a joy it was to know and work with him. I overheard his wife, as she told friends how well he treated her. Even though his life was too brief, he accomplished all I ever desired for him and my other children.

I have been haunted by what I should have done with and said to him before he died. Do other parents who lose a child feel the same? I suspect many do. We are all imperfect; we all act imperfectly.

I DEEPLY APOLOGIZE: I have vowed to myself not to include anything about my personal life in the future RRs I write. I have written far too much about myself in today’s RR. Please forgive me. I am being introspective before I meet Yeshua face to face, and such introspection bleeds into these RRs. I will continue to try– and fail– to leave personal details out of the future RRs I write.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN? Bible authors, theologians, poets, philosophers, and untold numbers of men and women– kings and paupers, rich and poor, the great and the small– have decried the brevity of life and the fact that so much should be done before death takes that opportunity away.

Yeshua recognized that once a person tastes the goodness of life, he/ she will want more (Matthew 6:27): [Yeshua said] “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Death is the great equalizer. All of us will die (Hebrews 9:4). Before a person dies and enters the “night” of life, he/ she must live in the “day” of life, working for God and neighbors and living a life pleasing to God (John 9:4): [Yeshua said] “We must do the work of the One who sent Me, so long as it is day! Night is coming when no one can work.”

Consider part of the song I quoted in the opening of this RR: “We have this moment to hold in our hands | And to touch as it slips | Through our fingers like sand | Yesterday’s gone | And tomorrow may never come | But we have this moment today, we have this moment today.

You have today, but no guarantee of tomorrow. Make today count. Someone needs your love and counsel, today.

Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sun 16 July 2023 27th of Tamuz, 5783

De 1:1-10 Ez 21 1 Ch 2 Php 2 (Lk 20)