Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Elul 5765 - September 28, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Stop the Clock — I Want to Get Off
by Sheindel Weinbach

I glance at my watch for the last time. A quarter to seven. I neatly remove it and set it aside. I won't need it any more.

Today I am an angel, wafted into some fifth dimension where my soul can soar. My timepiece, it seems, is the last vestige of this worldliness, by whose strap I refuse to hang, to hang on to whatever is holding me down here.

Off to shul I glide on air-borne foam rubber soles, to boost that feeling of earthborne wings. Today, nothing, I hope, will anchor me down.

It was a tentative step, three years ago, when I found myself all alone, the brood having left the coop, each to their own new nest, thank G-d, and this year, there were no babies to feed, not even a cholent pot on the blech for those under-age children, some who resisted, some not, to keep body and soul together.

Then I had discovered that I was on my own; it was my machzor and me, my thoughts and me, my bubble which only allowed for the osmosis of outside sound. Would I soar this year, with the help of the potent prayers, the month- and-nine-day buildup to Yom Kippur, to new heights of understanding, intensity, feeling, pouring myself into the magnificent, meaningful words of black and white fire before me?

I had slipped off my watch that morning before coming to shul. But then, suddenly, I caught myself — Oh, no! — looking at the clock on the wall in front of me.

It was then that I made my Yom Kippur Resolution. To forget about Time. To be superhumanly beyond Time. I would forget the existence of Time, forget all distractions and pray.

I was reminded of the verse that says, "Days were created and `lo' is one of them." This was synonomously written/read with both an alef and a vov and was interpreted by Chazal to denote both.

There is one day in the year when we are masters of our souls. If we are willy-nilly chained to our bodies for the entire year, indentured to its demands, giving Satan a foothold into the door of our body-soul, Yom Kippur, at least, is a day when Satan has `no' power over us. That day belongs to the individual, lo, to him. It is a Divine gift, an invitation to come join the heavenly ranks, to taste the eternal by shucking off the coils of the body which is always demanding its needs, and resembling angels.

Chazal helped us with the five parameters of activities which we must ignore on Yom Kippur, which include, of course, feeding the `engine.' But today, we wouldn't need that engine to transport us. We could soar on the wings of prayer.

And that year, I added another restriction — the elimination of the time factor. I resolved NOT to look at that clock. That horrible clock which dominates every moment of our lives, for the better, most of the time, but is like a tyrant, for the worse, nonetheless.

On this day, I would forget about time, forget about my point in time and how-many-hours-until . . . I would become a point in the fifth dimension, a point in a celestial continuum.

That year, I succeeded in my resolve. I did not look at the shul clock (to be honest — except for once, not on purpose, but by habit). I practiced shemiras einayim and stayed within my gilded soap bubble. And when I finally made it to the finish line, let me tell you: it felt very, very good.

I must tell others about it, I thought, and resolved to write about my discovery and my feelings about it. I kept on postponing it because I wanted the message to be so clear, so perfect, so apparent, so self-evident once you realized it yourself.

And then here it was, the YATED deadline. The clock was still ticking on and I wanted to create a lifeline. I finally sat down to write it, but it falls short of my expectations. How can one report a visit to a magical world after having landed bump back into the 300 plus days of mundane living? I can remember it, but have I conveyed a miniscule non-moment of the heady experience?

All I can say is — if you're at the stage where you are already spending the day in shul and have no time- grounded responsibilities — forget the clock. Discover what makes your own soul tick. Make that extra special effort not to look at the worldclock and not to think about time.

Maybe next year, dear reader and fellow writer — someone out there who has tasted it will be able to better express the experience and provide us all with those wings to fly beyond the gravity of earth, beyond the chronosphere and into the stratosphere of the fifth dimension.


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