By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
As I was walking home from shul on Friday night, I was thinking about the sermon I had just delivered exhorting my congregants to always be on guard from the wiles of the Yeitzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, when who did I bump into, the “Man” himself, the Yeitzer Hara in the ‘flesh.’ Always anxious to find out what tricks he has up his sleeve to snare people into his net, I excitedly asked him if I could pick his brain for a few minutes. The Yeitzer Hara, who seemed to be in a jovial mood, answered me…
Yeitzer Hara: I’ll give you a few pointers.
Rabbi Weiss: As we start the new year and people are trying to be better, what’s your latest plan to throw a monkey wrench into our spirituality?
YH: I’ll make it short and sweet. I get people to say “I have no time.”
RW: What do you mean by that?
YH: I’ll give you an example. It would be the smartest thing in the world, as we start the new Torah cycle, for people to start reviewing the weekly portion, saying the chumash twice and the targum once. After all the Gemora promised that if you do so, you’ll live long and be blessed with quality days. Yet, what do people foolishly say? “I have no time.”
RW: You mean the trick of Paroh when Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to take us out for three days to serve Hashem, Paroh said in response, “Tichbad ha-avodah al ha-anoshim v’alyish’u b’divrei shoker – Let the people work harder so they won’t have time to turn to such foolishness.”
YH: Rabbi, you’ve been reading Mesilas Yesharim, I see. This is one of my best methods to get people to ignore the important pursuits of life – by convincing them that they are too busy to have time for these activities.
RW: In what other areas do you use the “I have no time” ploy?
YH: Oh! that’s easy. My favorite area is in Shalom Bais, Marital Harmony. If husbands would realize how desperately their wives crave some intimate time with them, or if wives would grasp how their husbands are starving for their exclusive warmth and attention, they would drop everything and attend to this life’s mission. But they procrastinate their marital duties with the battle cry “I have no time for this now.”
RW: Yes. Many people feel their lives are lackluster because they’re missing the magic of a dynamic marriage and how easily this is solved! If people would just remember that under the chupah, they made a commitment to each other that from now on you’re going to be the most important person in my life.
YH: It’s not just with a spouse! You know how many children are messed up because both mommy and daddy say “I have no time?”
RW: It is frightening how many children at risk there are.
YH: It used to be that mommy was home to talk about Chavi’s first pimples and the bully in Yossi’s class, and Devorah not getting along with the teacher. Daddy used to have the time to notice if his son wasn’t enjoying learning Gemora and to fix it before it’s too late – but now, “I have no time” rules the universe.
RW: It’s pretty grim. But, does this problem affect the young as well.
YH: Of course, I start when they’re young. Hashem gave a glorious mitzvah of honoring your parents, but do you think children grab these diamonds? No! They say “I have no time.” I’m too busy to take out the garbage, too preoccupied to clean my room, and I definitely shouldn’t be expected, with my workload, to help prepare for Shabbos. If people want to upgrade their spirituality, they need to make the time for what is really important, for what is eternal, and what is spiritually rewarding. Anyway, Rabbi Weiss, but excuse the pun, “I have no more time” for you today!
RW: Well, thank you Yeitzer Hara, and we will surely be on guard from using this excuse to dodge what Hashem expects us to do.
And to my readers, may we be zoche to use our time wisely, and in that merit may we blessed with long life, good health and everything wonderful.
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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