May 18, 2024
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The Importance of the ‘25th Hour’

Highlighting: “The 25th Hour” by Rabbi Dov Keilson. Mesorah Publications Ltd. 2023. Hardcover. 518 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1422638293.

(Courtesy of Artscroll) Time… It’s our greatest gift. With all the time-saving technology around us, we still seem to have less time than ever.

In “The 25th Hour,” Rabbi Dov Keilson, mashgiach ruchani of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, shares 120 daily readings on the value of time and how to get the most out of Hashem’s most precious gift to us. In“The 25th Hour,” you learn to:

  • Strengthen your trust in Hashem;
  • Control your time, instead of having time control you;
  • Understand the value of each minute of life;
  • Discover how to appreciate—and utilize—every day, no matter what is happening;
  • Avoid the “same old, same old” syndrome and keep life fresh—every single day.

People are always looking for more time in the 24-hour day. The truth is that if we learn how to really use the time that Hashem has already given us, we will understand that the “25th hour,” we are seeking can actually be found … within the other 24.

With its unique blend of mussar, Torah hashkafa, powerful chizuk and practical advice, “The 25th Hour,” shows us how to deeply appreciate the immeasurable gift of time. So come and travel through time, with the Torah as your guide. It’s quite a trip.

The following is a brief excerpt from this fascinating book:

 

This Day Will Never Return

Avraham Avinu, Moshe Rabbeinu and all of our great leaders and sages are at this very moment experiencing the greatest reward and happiness possible. As the mishna teaches, “How wonderful is the spiritual bliss of Olam Haba, greater than the entire life (the pleasures) of this world … ”

The reward of the world-to-come is greater than all of the pleasures of this world. Avraham and Moshe are experiencing a happiness that will not end for all eternity, and their joy becomes greater each and every day. But there is one thing that they will never have again, and that is the diamond called “free will.” The ability to choose between good and evil, the opportunity to achieve and to accomplish and fulfill the will of Hashem from one’s own effort—that precious opportunity they will never have again.

This is what Chazal refer to in the above mishna when they say, “Better one moment of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of Olam Haba.” For just as no happiness in this world can compare to that of the world of truth, so too, no achievement in the next world can ever compare to that of this world.

Some explain that this is the meaning behind the well-known Yiddish song that has been sung by klal Yisrael for generations, “Olam Haba is a gutte zach … lernen Torah iz a bessere zach!—The world-to-come is a good thing, learning Torah is a better thing!” That is, as great as the world-to- come is and will always be, learning Torah in this world is even better! For that ability—to learn using one’s own free will—one will no longer have in the world-to-come…

Life is a one-time chance that will never be given again. Life is a small window in eternity to make that eternal difference.

Rav Avigdor Miller often brought out this point through the tragic story of Korach. During his last few seconds on this earth, Korach could have totally changed his fate, as his holy sons did. Because of their last-minute repentance, they were miraculously spared from Gehinnom.

Chazal teaches that Korach has screamed, “Moshe is true and his Torah is true!” in the world-of-truth—day after day—for thousands of years. And if, as he was falling into the earth, he would have said those words just once, he would have been saved.

But he did not. He clenched his teeth and refused to admit the truth. Therefore, he is now fated to say it over and over forever. In his last moment in this world, had he grabbed that window of opportunity, it would have made the difference of eternity.

How precious—how beyond words—is the chance of life!

This is true about every single day of life for each of us, as well. Every day of life is like an entire world in itself. No two days are alike. Each day is its own unique creation, a uniqueness that never was and will never be again for all eternity.

Viewing our days like this could literally change our entire outlook on life. We wake up in the morning not to a day that was like the day before, but to a day that has its own character and mission. A day that has its own color and potential, its own beauty and influence. Who can fathom the greatness of a day? Who can measure the accomplishment that one day affords?

Let us try to open our eyes and see the days of our lives through a different lens than we have seen them before. This experience will be life-changing.

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