Navigating yeshiva life has presented a unique set of challenges for me. The emphasis on Torah study and adhering to a rigorous learning schedule (seder) created a situation where I often postponed mundane tasks like laundry, grocery shopping, writing, podcasting and even self-care activities like exercising and taking naps. The fear of being away from the designated study time became a genuine concern, reshaping my daily priorities.
While this might sound like a trivial issue, especially when viewed from a broader perspective, it genuinely posed a challenge for me. Striking a balance between the demands of yeshiva life and attending to more mundane aspects of daily living proved to be an ongoing struggle. There were moments when squeezing in these necessary tasks felt like a puzzle, rarely fitting seamlessly, and other times disrupting the flow of my learning schedule.
On a deeper level, I recognize the paramount importance of Torah study and maintaining a disciplined schedule. However, it's essential not to lose sight of the fact that engaging in diverse activities can actually enhance the quality of our primary pursuits. In my case, the balancing act manifested in managing Torah learning and adhering to the seder. Yet, this principle extends beyond the realm of yeshiva life; it applies to spending time with family, pursuing a career, and other core values. The seemingly "other" activities are not merely distractions; rather, they contribute to and enrich the very essence of our "main" activities, enhancing their overall quality.
Perhaps you've encountered a situation in your life where certain priorities take precedence, causing you to neglect seemingly "smaller" tasks that appear less significant. In facing this challenge, I came across a valuable insight from Rabbi Goldberg: "Bittula Zehu Kiyuma" — canceling something is what fulfills it.
By intentionally setting aside or "canceling" a specific study session, like missing seder this time, you open the door to more engaging learning opportunities on other occasions. This intentional break allows you not only to absorb information more effectively but also broadens the perspective of what aligns with the yeshiva's study schedule. In this light, taking a pause becomes a meaningful part of the overall learning structure.
This concept is akin to the permission granted by the sages to violate a melacha (prohibited work) on Shabbos if doing so enables a person to observe Shabbos properly on numerous other occasions.
It's crucial to recognize that the yeshiva schedule, much like another individual, is not to be blamed. Rather, it's about learning how to enhance one's relationship with it. Just as someone may struggle to communicate with a person who speaks rudely, it's not about blaming the other person; it's about figuring out how to respond and interact more effectively. Similarly, with the yeshiva schedule, the goal is to improve the relationship, making it a source of enrichment in life and learning, rather than a limitation. As the saying goes, "a person is only free when he’s learning Torah," and the purpose of Torah learning is to nourish and elevate our lives.
In essence, as creators of our lives, we bear the responsibility for our choices. We are pieces of infinity, leaving no room for blame on external factors such as people or schedules. Instead, the focus should be on improving our relationship with these factors. This empowerment allows us to respond and adapt to any circumstance, breaking free from a victim mentality.
Remember to approach life with joy (b’simcha) and maintain a light-hearted perspective. Missing a segment of Torah learning isn't the end of the world; in fact, it might enhance both your understanding of the material and, most importantly, your alignment with G-d.