Shoftim: Are You a Procrastinator?



Which of these two statements sounds like you: a) “Why do something today, if I can do it tomorrow?” Or: b) “Why do something tomorrow, if I can do it today?”

If (b) fits you better, you are likely living life to the fullest. If (a) fits you better you are likely a procrastinator.

But don’t despair. If you are a procrastinator, you have lots of company. In our society, procrastination is quite common. But all kidding aside, it’s generally not a great thing. Procrastination is a silent enemy, whose far-reaching consequences often remain hidden forever. Because how can we know what would have been if a person had acted more quickly? How many opportunities may have been lost due to dawdling?

But then again, not everything has to be rushed. There are times when we need to deliberate carefully and take our time before making a decision. How then do we distinguish between unhealthy procrastination and necessary deliberation?

We have just entered the last month of the Hebrew year, Elul – our last chance to account for the year and repair any errors – a time of urgency (when there is no longer time to procrastinate) as well as introspection.

This sermon analyzes an enigmatic verse on the Torah about waiting and cites the Baal Shem Tov’s fascinating explanation which refers to the month of Elul. As such it presents the ultimate antidote to procrastination, and also teaches us a new form of procrastination: the healthy sort.

If not now, when?


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