Both Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu pass away in last week’s parshah. Both of them fully utilized each day of their lives, extracting the maximum from every passing moment.
Rav Yerucham Levovitz, the legendary mashgiach of the Mir Yeshiva in Belarus before World War II, explained the secret of time management, as taught by Sefer Bereishit, as follows:
As is known, three angels came to the tent of Avraham and Sarah. One came to inform Sarah about the birth of Yitzchak, one to overturn the city of Sodom, and one to heal Avraham after his brit milah. But why were three angels needed? Why couldn’t one of them carry out all three missions?
Rashi comments: “No angel takes on two missions.” In other words, even an angel is given only one mission at a time, one mission – not two – to which total focus must be devoted.
If we are learning Torah at a particular moment, then that is our mission at that moment, without allowance for any distractions. If we are having fun with the kids, then that is our mission for the present and we shouldn’t try to do a whole slew of other things at the same time.
We’re living in an era in which the battle to listen and focus has become much more difficult. Rav Levovitz calls upon us to remember: No angel takes on two missions. It’s not worth confusing ourselves by taking on many tasks at once.
We should always ask: “What exactly am I doing right now?” – and then do that and nothing else. That’s how Avraham and Sarah lived, and we should be inspired by their example to live that way too.