Teach Us to Measure (and Treasure ) Each Day

Last week, our group’s rebbe and meditation teacher played this melody for us written by Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield. He set to music Psalms, 90:12 — Teach us to treasure each day that we may open our hearts to Your wisdom.”  This is a looser translation than the traditional one, “Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a wise heart.” Reb Sally mentioned a linguistic connection between the Hebrew verb limnot (to count or measure) and the word manna in the Hebrew Bible. When the manna fell, it was apportioned to each freed Israelite in the exact quantity needed to sustain that individual for the day.  Not too little nor so much that it would go to waste, but a portion that was just right. 

As the pandemic continues, I find myself measuring my days in a variety of ways. I am stunned to realize we are closing in on 365 days of Covid and are on the cusp of a second year. Hundreds of thousands of loved ones did not even have 365. My husband has measured the days until we will both have our vaccines. One evening last week       I couldn’t enter a Zoom meeting. Frantically, I emailed the host. Turns out the meeting was scheduled for the next day. I know I’m not the only one for whom a week is often made up of seven Blursdays.

The days we’ve been given remain mysterious, yet this year each one is ever more precious, ever more vulnerable. I treasure the small gifts of walks in the neighborhood with my husband and the recent large gift of 7 days with our son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters. Relationship struggles are pandemic-immune, alas. Those days are harder to treasure, yet they offer opportunities to take measure of my responses and reactions.

A year has flown; yet curiously the days have been slow and full. Something within each day sustains me. Before opening my eyes for the day and upon closing them before sleep, I offer up a prayer of gratitude.  Pandemic or no, there are still days I do not use as wisely as I might. Each day has been given to me as if my name, and my name alone, has been written upon it. I strive to treasure it because like manna, it comes to me in the exact measure of my need.

(Clock designed and made  by Elliot Darvick.)