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One mission at a time

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Both Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu pass away in this week's Torah portion. Both of them fully utilized each day of their lives, extracting the maximum from every passing moment. Rav Yerucham Levovitz, the legendary mashgiach (spiritual guide) in the Mir Yeshiva in Belarus before World War II, explained the secret of time management, as brought out in the book of Genesis, as follows: As is known, three angels came to the tent of Avraham and Sarah. One came to inform Sarah about the birth of Yitzchak, one to overturn the city of Sodom, and one to heal Avraham after his brit milah. Why are three angels needed instead of just one who could carry out all three missions? Rashi comments: 'No angel takes on two missions.' In other words, even an angel is given only one mission at a time, one mission to which total focus must be devoted, and not two. This principle is not easy to apply: if we are learning Torah at this moment in time, then that is our mission, without allowance for any distractions. If we are having fun with the kids, then that is our mission, and not trying to do a slew of other things at the same time. We are living in an era in which the battle to listen and to focus has become more and more difficult. Rav Levovitz calls upon us to remember: No angel takes on two missions. It is not worth confusing ourselves by taking on many tasks at once, but rather we should always ask: "What exactly am I doing right now?" And then do that and nothing more. That's how Avraham and Sarah lived and we should be inspired by them to live that way too.


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