A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter
Our son celebrated his bar-mitzvah this past Shabbat, which included reading aloud in synagogue from the weekly Torah portion. His portion began with the words, “If you walk in the way of my laws,” Leviticus 26:3. The obvious question is why the Torah uses the word ‘walk’? Ancient Jewish wisdom says that this phrase is referring to Torah study. How is walking part of studying Torah?
We can learn an answer to this question from the behavior of King David. David, like mothers, had many competing demands on his time. He was the king of the nation and had national, political and military decisions to make. He was also a Jew who carried his own personal obligation of Torah and self-development. How did he balance the competing demands?
The answer is that each morning instead of just waking up and starting to tackle his to-do items, King David would go to the Torah study hall to gather his thoughts. There, in the study hall, he would organize his schedule for the day and decide how much time to devote in each part of the day to each of his responsibilities. By making these scheduling decisions in the inspiring atmosphere of the study hall he was able to prioritize more effectively and leave more time for Torah study in his day than he would otherwise have had. So in essence, walking to the appropriate place to plan his schedule led to more spirituality in his day. This is one of the reasons that walking in the ways of God is the introduction to this section of the Torah.
You and I probably can’t go to a study hall as we plan our day each morning with our cups of coffee. But we can learn not only the importance of planning our days and schedules but doing it within the context of a spiritual connection. This will help us align our priorities correctly and schedule accordingly. For me, spending time each morning, not just praying, but taking a few minutes in my room for what my children call, “Mommy’s private prayers,” gives me a chance to connect to God, orient, and center myself, and think through my day with my head in the right space. When I come out from my private time I feel more prepared to tackle the many items on my calendar for the day wisely and well.
We can all learn this lesson: taking the time to plan our daily schedules within a context of connection to God will enable us to focus on what is truly important to us and must be in our schedule, and which items can be dropped or delayed on each day.