web analytics
August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Judaism and Opportunity Cost

Time is precious.

Time is precious

National Public Radio’s Planet Money recently asked several economists to offer advice to new college graduates. One of the responses came from Russ Roberts, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution in California. In a post sharing his unedited thoughts, Dr. Roberts notes:

“Time is precious. One of the simplest but most important ideas of economics is the idea of opportunity cost–anything you do means not doing something else.”

Sensitivity to time and opportunity cost figure profoundly in a Judaic worldview. Rabbi Beinish Ginsburg tells a related story he heard from Rabbi David Hyatt:

“Once, the Chofetz Chaim was waiting with a student for a train. He said to the talmid, ‘Please take a sefer out of the bag and we will learn together.’ The talmid checked the time and saw the train was scheduled to arrive very soon. He said, ‘Rebbe, the train’s coming in five minutes’–meaning that it’s a bit of a tircha to get the sefer for such a short amount of time. The Chofetz Chaim responded, ‘It is true that the train is coming in five minutes, but there are also five minutes until the train comes.’

Rabbi Hyatt explained that this story reflects a major yesod in Yahadus. Judaism is a religion of opportunity–each year, month, week, day, even every five minutes, is another opportunity to do a mitzva. We should take advantage even of the short times as well.”

Subsequent gedolim likewise exemplify these core values. Rabbi Yosaif Asher Weiss has recounted about his grandfather, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, “When he would come to the yeshivah [of Staten Island] before Shacharis, you could see that he had his time mapped out, minute by minute. Not a moment would go to waste.” In a new biography of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, the following anecdote appears in a chapter titled “Using Every Precious Moment”:

“The gabbai of a shul brought a new Sefer Torah to Rav Elyashiv so he could write a letter before the hachnassas Sefer Torah ceremony…When he finished writing the letter on the parchment, he asked how much time it would take for the letter to dry and the Torah Scroll to be rolled up. After hearing that it would take about five minutes, he took his Gemara and went to a different room to learn.”

As a final illustration, Rabbi Avrohom Leshinsky and Rabbi Yehezkel Danziger write in their foreword to volume one of Rabbi Avigdor Miller Speaks:

“Rav Miller taught his family and followers the precious value of time…The notion of ‘killing time’ was anathema to him. Wasting time, he would explain, is like suicide. Since a person’s life span is fixed by Heaven, and a moment wasted can never be made up, wasting time is really no different than cutting one’s life short.”

We live in a world of unprecedented information and unprecedented distraction. May theserighteous examples reinforce our dedication to what really matters.

About the Author: Menachem Ben-Mordechai has written for numerous publications on subjects ranging from Israel and Latin America to the sport of powerlifting and life insurance. He has also coached elite powerlifters as well as beginners. Menachem's other writing can be found under the name Myles Kantor.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Judaism and Opportunity Cost”

  1. Brian Kent says:

    Excellent article. I heard the Chofetz Chaim said to an American Bucher that he heard that American businessmen had an expression. "Time is money". This is even more true in spiritual matters.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)
Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

TorahScroll AoT17

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

Troodler-082914

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

More Articles from Menachem Ben-Mordechai
Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D

He described Sharon as “the latest darling of the donkey-nationalists.”

MK Miri regev with flag

Regev is part of the reason why numerous Israelis have suffered so many aerial acts of attempted murder from that region.

There are many good, solid reasons to support applying the death penalty to a variety of crimes.

Rav Soloveitchik stated that “to me it is something vulgar, this clamor of the liberals that abortion be permitted.”

That there is even a debate in the religious sector about obeying eviction orders reflects a warping of core values.

When a Jew is shot to death in Eretz Yisrael and the murderer plea bargains to a twelve-year sentence, Israel’s banner is low.

The awful truth is that Israel invites foreign contempt because it shows contempt for itself.

“We believe that every person in Israel must have their fundamental rights met…” Not applicable to terror victims and their families’ fundamental right to justice.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/judaism-and-opportunity-cost/2013/05/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: