Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us: “Everyone should set for themselves a daily program of Torah study” (Sichos HaRan #19).

How often, instead of devoting ourselves to spiritual matters, we find ourselves offering an excuse: “Not just yet. I’m too busy, too disorganized. When things settle down, then I’ll get to it and even make up for lost time.”

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This is a big mistake! Our Sages said, “This world is like a wedding banquet – grab and eat!” (Eruvin 54a). We must never wait for a “better time” to fulfill our spiritual obligations, but must grab whatever we can now, even in the middle of our disorganized lives, because if we wait until everything “settles down,” we lose a great deal in the meantime. We have to recall this countless times. Life has its cycles. Sometimes things go our way and sometimes not. We must be able to serve G-d in all situations, even when times are difficult.

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos says: “Don’t say, ‘I will study Torah when I have time,’ for perhaps you will never have time.” The Kotzker Rebbe commented on this, “Perhaps that is the very thing that G-d wants from you, to study when you do not have time.”

Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter offers the following piece of advice: Grab whatever you can without worrying about the outcome. You will soon see that you gained much more in the moments when your mind was unsettled than in the moments you were calm. This is alluded to in another Mishnah: “Whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty, will ultimately fulfill it in wealth” (Avos 4:9). Precisely by studying Torah in the “poor” times, when things are not going so well, we will eventually come to study it amongst “riches” – when things go very well. For in this world, the main time to serve G-d is when times are difficult.

May Hashem help us to serve Him now during these very turbulent times and may we merit to see a more peaceful world speedily in our days. Amen.

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Rabbi Nosson Rossman is a rabbinic field representative for the Orthodox Union. He can be reached at nathanlrossman@gmail.com.