In my mind, the greatest asset we possess is not money or influence, but rather it is time. It is the one thing we have a finite amount of and, no matter what we do, we will never be able to attain any more than what we have been allocated. Time is the most valuable thing we possess, and yet it is so easy to forget to appreciate it, and so many of us let this precious commodity fly by.
One of the things that helps to remind me to appreciate and value the limited time we have in this world, is to try and focus on what is really important and consider the ways I choose to use the time I have to make an impact on the world. As Rabbi Tarfon taught, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”
What I have seen in and around our community has reminded me of this a lot recently. Our community members have made the conscious decision to stand up for what they believe in and they are doing what they can to act on it. I have witnessed people doing what they can do to protect the rights and freedoms of others as well as those who marched in support of women’s rights.
I encourage all of us to spend some time evaluating what we can do to help make our world better and identify a cause that is important to each of us. Is the Syrian refugee crisis important to you? Or do you want to make sure that one more person has a roof over their head and a warm meal tonight?
While we all want the world to be better, many of us forget to make the necessary effort to bring about the change we want to see. Maybe we focus too much on how big the problem is rather than realizing that each small act can have a profound impact on the people we want to help.
While I know that I will personally never end hunger and homelessness, I have determined that I can help one person at a time by carrying a few cans of soup in my car to hand to someone in need. This simple act, I hope, just might make a person smile, serve to brighten their day, and provide some much-needed recognition of the dignity of another in need. Imagine if the roles were reversed. Wouldn’t you want the same thing?
Make this the month you decide to start using your most precious resource to help make our world better and then tell us about it. We would love to hear about the wonderful mitzvot you are engaged in.
Jason Moss is the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.