Do You Have a Moment? 

By: Daniella Weiss Emily Goldberg  |  March 26, 2024

By Daniella Weiss, Staff Writer, and Emily Goldberg, Publication Manager and Layout Editor

What could you do in a minute? How many great things could you accomplish if you were to maximize even just a few spare moments in your life? Everyone has the ability to achieve great things. What would happen if we all started taking advantage of our free time as moments to work towards fulfilling those goals? 

The Cafeteria at Stern’s 245 Lexington Avenue building was full to the brim with girls chattering over their chicken schnitzel dinners, a majority of whom were taking a well deserved break from their intense midterm studying schedules. I (Emily) approached the table where two of my friends were sitting, pages of a Tanach study guide strewn all over the neon blue tablecloth. “I’ll see you in the Brookdale beis in 19 minutes?” I asked Daniella. “B’ezras Hashem,” she responded. “What are you guys doing?” asked our other friend. “We are writing an article for the YU Observer,” I responded. “The funny thing is, we are writing about the value of time,” Daniella added. “That’s correct,” I said, “Which is why I will see you in the Brookdale beis in 18 minutes.” 

“What is this, Shabbos?!” asked Daniella.  

Yet, after we thought about it, we came to the realization that Shabbos actually exemplifies the true preciousness of time. Picture this: it is erev Shabbos, ten minutes before candle lighting, and the clock says 5:05. The second hand is ticking in the background as you are rushing to finish last minute preparations. How you wish you had a few more minutes to finish all that you have to do in these last few moments. The sun is quickly setting and the day is running away. Night will soon creep in, and with it all your preparations will have to come to a halt, whether you like it or not.  

Only now do you realize that you should have started preparing even just five minutes earlier. 

This scene can serve as a model for our entire lives. As college students, even though our days are often filled with late night study sessions and never-ending Canvas assignments, we also have free moments that we can maximize, if only we would grasp onto the opportunity to do so. Yet, often, we let these spare moments go to waste. On the surface, a few minutes might not seem like much, but over time, they add up. Take advantage of them now before looking back and realizing it is too late. 

In Masechet Avoda Zara 10b Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi states, “One can acquire his share in the World-to-Come in a single moment.” Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi could not be more clear how much we can accomplish in one moment. Think about it: how often do we spend looking at our phones, even for just a second? In reality, that moment usually does not last for merely a second, but rather, extends into a prolonged period of time. In that same moment, you could have smiled at the person next to you in the elevator. You could have said a perek of Tehillim for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael. You will never know what the impact of that moment could have been. 

If we all stop for a minute and recognize the significance of the moment, we will be able to make a great difference in the world. Do not let yourself think that those few seconds are small and will not matter in the long run. As it says in Chovos Halevavos, chapter 5 paragraph 6, “What is small for you is big for Hashem.”

In Pirkei Avos, Chapter 4 Mishnah 22a it says “One moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the entire life of the world to come.” We would be able to accomplish so much more in this life if we truly internalized this line of the Mishnah and applied it to our lives. Even just one minute a day adds up and becomes six hours of the year that you can use to accomplish something great. Achieving your goals takes time and dedication. Be intentional with how you spend those moments.

You might be wondering, how can I do this? Fulfilling the task of maximizing your time might seem daunting and unachievable, but if you put in even just a little bit more effort, it can be done. When you find yourself with a free minute, challenge yourself not to pick up your phone. Instead, say a perek of Tehillim, ask someone about their day, learn a Mishnah, or thank Hashem for a bracha in your life. Over time, you will see that these small acts add up and transform you as a person into a better eved Hashem.

Think about it; how precious would this moment be to you if you knew it was your last? What would you do with it then? 

Now go do just that.