“Today is my birthday!” Nechamah announced joyfully. “I’m getting calls from so many people blessing me with good things. It’s really nice to feel so well liked.”
“All personal milestones need reflection as well as celebration,” her brother Shaulie replied. “For example, when a couple celebrates their wedding anniversary, they should consider the successes and failures of the previous year and make a plan to do better.”
“I don’t know why you’re always so serious, Shaulie,” Nechamah responded. “Why can’t you leave me and my birthday alone?”
The cycle of life goes round and round; occasions worth commemorating return. How should one react to them?
Our Torah requires that a person grow and achieve from day to day. There will be times when one slips backwards, but every new day of life brings with it renewed responsibility to grow even more. One must approach each new day with this resolve. Then, when an anniversary arrives, it is time to evaluate one’s progress. Only after many days have passed can achievement be measured.
This is akin to time-lapse photography. A photographer who would like to record the growth of a plant sets his camera to snap one frame at set intervals. Let’s say he sets it to snap once in 24 hours. After thousands of imperceptible-to-the-naked-eye changes have taken place and been recorded, the photographer can play the series of snapshots back rapidly and the plant grows from a seed to a sapling in one minute, right before our eyes. Only after the sequence of small changes is combined do we see the growth.
Our days are busy and often hectic as we try our best to succeed in our multiple endeavors. An anniversary signals a time to pause and reflect. Where are we now, compared to where we once were? A path in the wrong direction should be changed. Areas of spiritual success should be built upon. Our goal is for our time-lapse video to show our seed growing into a giant cedar tree.