17/18 February 2023, 27 Sh’vat 5783

There is one tiny line in this week’s portion that caught my eye.

You shall not put off (lo te’aher) the skimming of the first yield of your vats….

Why should Torah be concerned with timeliness in the midst of so many other mitzvot? What does God mean by not putting off and more to the point why does God care? I read some learning by Rabbi Jonathan K. Crane where he identified great interest in this sense of doing things with alacrity, not delay. Rashi, French commentator of the 11th century says don’t disturb prescribed order-Spanish Ibn Ezra a generation later goes a little further by suggesting this phrase speaks to couples not delaying their time together. Either way the message is seize the day, carpe diem. Moments don’t always last.

For me I am intrigued by this call to promptness. As someone as prone to procrastination as the next person I understand well the truth; if you know you want to do something good, why delay? How often I have had a good idea, or instinct for an act of kindness and I put it off momentarily and the moment passes? Amidst the sea of mishpatim-laws in this parasha the learning about focus and timeliness is useful.  Last term our Taste of Torah class wrestled with the words of Kohelet;

When you make a vow/commitment, do not delay (lo te’aher) in fulfilling it for God has no pleasure in fools, what you vow, fulfil. Ecclesiastes 5:3.

Within the busyness of our lives how easy is it to put things off and be constantly caught up with other obligations. This is the reminder to us to approach and give time to everything we can – and to do so with alacrity.

We have so much to respond to in the life of our synagogue. This week we are called upon to support the rescue and support efforts in Turkey and Syria. World Jewish Relief as they so often do are leading the community to do so. Click here to donate.

Dear friend of the congregation Nsreen Kaa who came to Barnet with VPRS, has asked for financial support for her family caught up with the disaster in Northern Syria. Reach out if you would like to help her family. This on Shabbat Shekalim when we are called upon to think about our home and what we need to sustain it. Please see below invitations to join us for our first ‘Sip and See’ evenings for Renewing our Home. We want you all to be part of this.

Shabbat Shalom