The famous song “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” released in 1965 by the group The Byrds says: “To everything there is a season, and there is time to every purpose under Heaven”. Of course, this song is based almost word by word on King Solomon Ecclesiastes 3: לכל זמן ועת תחת השמים – everything has a season, and there is a time for every purpose under Heaven.
This also applies to people. We all have our moment and purpose in life. At times we can find our moment early in the early part of our lifetime, and at times we find it later. However, there are also people amongst us who live their entire life and without ever recognizing their moment to shine.
For those of us who do find their moment and purpose, do not wait, be afraid or hesitate. We cannot worry whether or not it is acceptable or politically correct. The world is full of spectacular moments – we’ve all witnessed them – someone recognizes a need and makes a difference in the lives of people and in the history of the world. Unfortunately, the world is also full of missed moments and opportunities that could have changed the world we live in. The more we seize opportunities for positive change, the better our world will be.
Perashat Pinehas describes such a moment. Pinehas the son of the High Priest Elazar and the grandson of the High Priest Aharon, seeing that a public display of immorality with audacity and depravity was taking place, understood it was his moment to act and stop it. He did not hesitate, he was not afraid and he did not wait to act. His act was commended by the A-mighty and it changed the course of history for the Israelites.
How many moments in the history of the world have been missed and bypassed? Had leaders at that time ceased the moments without hesitation, fear or vacillation, perhaps the world would have been saved from many tyrants and devastation. Our Bet Hamikdash would not have been destroyed, the exile of our people would not have taken place, the Inquisition would not have occurred, the world would have been sparred of WWII and the Holocaust, and the collective death of 100 million people would not have happened. In recent years, moments were missed that allowed North Korea to become a nuclear power and are allowing Iran to become a nuclear power.
It is the responsibility of not only our leaders, but all people to seize those moments, not to hesitate, not to be afraid, and to make a positive difference in our world.
In our small, communal and personal world, we also have the opportunity and responsibility to recognize our moment, seize it, not be afraid, not to wait and therefore make a difference in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. Who knows if yet another moment will come; we may end up blindly continuing to live our lives and never get that opportunity again.
Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D.