Do It Today

November 4, 2011 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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There are many people suffer from a procrastination problem that can be very destructive…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie.

Rabbi Michol Gourarie photo: Henry Benjamin

They live by the rule – what we can do tomorrow why do today. Postponing important things  that might be difficult, often leads to cancelling them and losing the opportunity.

One of the most famous stories in the Torah is the test of the Akeida – when Abraham was called upon by G-d to sacrifice his only son. This episode is the symbol of ultimate commitment and self-sacrifice. But the mystics explain that the greatness of the story is not Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for the sake of G-d. After all Abraham was a holy individual who experienced direct Divine communication, and it would not be surprising that he would follow G-d’s instruction. The greatness of Abraham lies in the swiftness and speed with which he acted. He did not contemplate putting off this difficult command for a few weeks or even days .As soon as he was given the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment, he responded immediately with joy, passion and excitement.

There are many reasons that we put off and delay things that are important.  Often the task seems too difficult and overwhelming and sometimes we are simply afraid of failure. But our sages tell us that it is all about taking the first small step.  Once we take the plunge and we taste a little success, our fears disappear and the rest follows with greater ease.

So as soon as you finish reading this article make one difficult phone call, tidy a small part of your desk or help someone in need. But do it today – tomorrow the opportunity might be gone.


One Response to “Do It Today”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    If Abraham did indeed respond with joy, passion and excitement to G-d’s instruction to sacrifice his only son, then this serves to make the story even more problematic than it already is. Jewish interpretations of scriptures and Jewish law holds the preservation of life above anything else, so it’s obvious that this example belies that. I’m well aware that this is supposed to be a test of Abraham’s commitment to G-d, and all was well in the end, however that is not the point, as at the time of decision Abraham is not aware of this. I find it difficult to understand Rabbi Gourarie’s easy use of this particular story from the Torah as an example that might prompt people to get on with doing things quickly and avoid procrastination. G-d gave us the capacity to think and judge, which is why we should be contemplating Abraham’s response to G-d more deeply. There are occasions in the biblical text where G-d is argued with, the wrath of G-d at the people of Sodom being one such occasion.

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