Dr. Sagit Arbel-Alon, an obstetrician and oncological gynecologist at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, is also a poet, and she is haunted by the truth that life may be long but time is short. She wrote:
“I read (somewhere) that it’s important to live each day
As though it’s the last of my life,
So I got up early and left
For work, went shopping,
Emptied a dishwasher,
Collected feelings for a poem,
Sliced a salad for dinner,
Showered, told another
Said good night,
Gave a kiss.”
The signature prayer of Rosh Hashanah is Unetaneh Tokef, and it includes the following language emphasizing the temporal nature of our lives:
“Our origin is dust, and dust is our end. Each of us is a shattered urn, grass that must wither, a flower that will fade, a shadow moving on, a cloud passing by, a particle of dust floating on the wind, a dream soon forgotten.”
We have so little time, you and I, and so this season calls upon us most especially to ask ourselves whether we are using the time we have well.
What we choose to do with the time we have tells us who we are, what we care most about, who and what we value.
Would we go on as we always thought to do?
Stay close to home?
Show more of our love to our life-partners and spouses, children, and grandchildren?
Be with friends?
Support good and just causes?
Commune with the natural world?
Read for fun?
Sing and compose songs?
Cook and bake?
Eat dark chocolate?
Carpe diem, u-l’shanah tovah u-m’tukah l’kul’chem!