Today Is Your Day
Yael Eckstein | August 10, 2020
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today… — Deuteronomy 11:26-27
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Re’eh, which means “see,” from Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17.
Before my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, when 12-year-old Jewish girls come of age, I took her on a heritage trip to Ukraine, where many great rabbis once lived. I wanted her to connect with Jewish wisdom and see for herself how ancient teachings can be so relevant to our lives today.
One of the rabbis whose life and teachings we explored was Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a Hasidic master in the eighteenth century. He once said, “In this world, a person has only the very day and very moment in which he finds himself. Tomorrow is a completely different world.” In other words, today is an entire world unto itself. Tomorrow, it will be gone, and another one will take its place. Every moment, each day, is a precious gift we dare not squander.
Jewish sages taught that each day has its own “spark” — its own opportunities and challenges; its own potential for greatness and also for failure; the possibility for new blessings and also, heaven forbid, for curses. Once the day is done, that spark is gone forever, and with it, all the options and opportunities that were open to us at just that very morning.
This week’s Torah portion begins: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today.” In these verses, the word “today” could have easily been omitted and the verses would have had the same general meaning. Yet, the word is used not once, but twice, in order to stress the importance of this very day.
Every day is an opportunity to choose God, obedience, and blessings. It does not matter how righteous I was yesterday. I need to choose God all over again today. In the same way, it doesn’t matter how miserably I failed yesterday. Today is a new day, and I can make better choices and be a righteous person.
Let’s choose God today and every day. Make this day count; make it one that draws down blessings. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come, and today is a gift. As the psalmist reminds us, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24 ESV)!
What unique opportunities are available to you today?