At the Right Time
Yael Eckstein | March 3, 2021
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” — Exodus 32:1
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tisa, which means “when you raise up,” from Exodus 30:11—34:35, and the Haftorah is from 1 Kings 18:20–39.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was still a fairly new immigrant to Israel. I was overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiastic well-wishes and blessings that I received from complete strangers, who treated me like I was their own daughter or granddaughter. Israel is a tiny country, and everyone is treated like family.
But to my surprise, instead of saying “Congratulations,” people wished me, “b’shaa tova!” which is an expression meaning, “may the birth happen in a good hour.” As I have since learned, this is what people in Israel wish expectant parents. It reflects the reality that a baby needs to be born at the right time — not too early and not too late, but exactly when it is meant to be.
At the Right Time
In this week’s Torah portion, Scripture tells us that just weeks after God parted the sea for the Israelites, they turned to idol worship and built a golden calf. According to Jewish tradition, the Israelites had made a slight miscalculation in counting the 40 days and 40 nights that Moses would be up on Mount Sinai communing with God. When he failed to appear according to their timetable, they panicked and lost faith.
The Hebrew word used in the verse to say that Moses was delayed is boshesh. The word shesh means the number “six.” According to tradition, Moses was but six hours late in coming down the mountain. Had the Israelites waited patiently for just six more hours, the terrible affair could have been avoided.
Patience is an important virtue in our spiritual journey. As my father taught me, there are two kinds of time in our world — “My time” and “Divine time.” My time is when I think things should happen; Divine time is God’s perfect timing. Whenever we feel impatience overtaking us, we need to remember that God’s time is always at the right time for things to turn out best.
When have you been a recipient of God’s Divine timing? Share your story below!