When most people are asked what type of investment they would like to make, their first reaction is something of monetary value.
We are now in the Hebrew month of Elul, a month of repentance and reflection on our lives and on the actions we take daily.
This is the time to stop and see in which direction we are heading in our lives. What type of investments are we making? Are our only concerns monetary matters? How much do we invest in quality time with our loved ones? How much effort do we put into our spiritual world? What profits are we looking to receive and what advantages do we wish to attain?
Life moves on whether or not we pay attention to the important issues around us. Sometimes we get so caught up in our work or our agenda that we forget to look around us and see if we are truly investing our time wisely. Do we notice our children growing older? Do we make time to visit our elderly parents or take time to help them with something they might need? Do we make an effort to telephone an old friend and just laugh a bit about old times?
Money comes and goes, and so does a day at the office. How many times can you remember rejecting opportune moments because of lack of “time”? These can be moments when your child wanted one more story before bed time, or maybe a friend or a family member asked to get together for a cup of coffee, or perhaps a loved one just wanted to take a stroll in the park. Perhaps you had a few moments to
learn a page in a holy book after a long day, or just to say some Psalms. Unfortunately, we are generally so caught up in our jobs, plans, and all our activities that we don’t stop and take the time to invest in these small engagements. These efforts, these times spent, are the true profits that we will benefit from in our life in this world and the next.
When one invests money in a business venture, sometimes it may work and the profit will be great, while other times it might fail resulting in a loss of money. However, in both cases, it’s only money.
Now let’s look at the investment and effort one might put into a relationship, or a Torah shiur that one makes time to attend. What about the investment of quality time spent with children and different family members, or a friend? In these investments we always profit. The time that we make and spend with our dear ones never gets lost. Even after 120 years those memories and relationships last forever, not like money that comes and goes. One second a dollar bill can be in your wallet and the next minute it’s in some stranger’s hand. When you give your time to someone you love, it stays in their heart forever. The Torah we learn lasts not only for us here, and in the world to come, but sometimes even our children and great- great-grandchildren can profit and take advantage of the time we spent and invested in Torah studies. That investment lasts forever.
When a person passes away, during the week of shiva, when all family members sit around and remember the deceased, the memories that come up are of all the true investments that were made throughout their life. The Torah learned, the acts of kindness and of charity, the little moments spent in the kitchen over a cup of tea, the kisses to a child before bedtime, or the phone calls once a week to say Good Shabbat that always put a smile on someone else’s face are the stories told as the deceased is remembered. The monetary investments are not even mentioned.
During this time of the year when we all look to repent and change our ways for the better, we must take note as to whom and in what we choose to invest our time. Make sure to remember the next time a good “investment ” comes your way not to miss the opportunity because of lack of time.