Sunday, May 06, 2018

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Parshat Emor

Rav Sacks gives a lesson in, of all things, time management, and it's well worth paying attention.


" . . . the following life-changing idea, . . . sounds simple, but isn’t. Do not rely exclusively on To Do lists. Use a diary. The most successful people schedule their most important tasks in their diary.[3] They know that if it isn’t in there, it won’t get done. To Do lists are useful, but not sufficient. They remind us of what we have to do but not when. They fail to distinguish between what is important and what is merely urgent.

. . .

the Jewish calendar, . . . takes many of the most important truths about our lives and, instead of putting them on a To Do list, writes them in the diary.
What happens when you do not have that kind of diary? Contemporary Western secular society is a case-study in the consequences. People no longer tell the story of the nation [as Jews do at the Passover Seder]. Hence national identities, especially in Europe, are almost a thing of the past –one reason for the return of the Far Right in countries like Austria, Holland and France.
People no longer share a moral code [which, according to tradition, we received on Shavuot], which is why students in universities seek to ban speakers with whose views they disagree. When there is no shared code, there can be no reasoned argument, only the use of force.
As for remembering the brevity of life [which our prayers address on Rosh HaShanah], Roman Krznaric reminds us that modern society is “geared to distract us from death. Advertising creates a world where everyone is forever young. We shunt the elderly away in care homes, out of sight and mind.” Death has become “a topic as taboo as sex was during the Victorian era.”[6]
Atonement and forgiveness have been driven out of public life, to be replaced by public shaming, courtesy of the social media. As for Shabbat, almost everywhere in the West the day of rest has been replaced by the sacred day of shopping, and rest itself replaced by the relentless tyranny of smartphones."


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>