“What’s been keeping you up at night, Yaakov?” his maggid shiur asked. “You’ve been late or even missed davening often lately.”
“I realize that, Rebbi,” Yaakov said, “but it’s for a good cause. I’ve been doing review late into the night and I’ve broadened my knowledge base by studying sefarim that I can’t seem to get to during the daily yeshivah routine.”
“Have you spent time with your wife and children?” Rebbi inquired.
“Not really,” Yaakov admitted. “I know I should, but I think they’ll all be so proud of me when I’m a gadol. Honestly speaking, I believe that Rebbi was the one who encouraged us to make the most of our time.”
“Yes, I did,” Rebbi said, “but sometimes things taken to an extreme aren’t beneficial. Shlomo Hamelech said everything has a time. Your life has many components, and to be successful you have to apportion your time to make sure all important factors are part of your daily routine. Extremism, even in learning, can be counterproductive.”
In a letter printed in a collection called Training for a Yeshivah Student, Hagaon Harav Eliezer Menachem Shach, zt”l, wrote: “Know, my dear one, that it’s forbidden for you to strain too much. You’re required to daven on time, to learn in its time, to eat at the proper time and to sleep when it’s time. You shouldn’t slack off in this because that’s one of the tricks of the yetzer hara because this weakness will yield a great loss. On the other hand, learning and sleeping on time will produce great profits for you and you can then become a gadol in Yisrael” (5753 edition, letter 22).
What sage advice from a wise man!
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Since community service is an essential part of Yiddishkeit, it follows that it is possible for everyone to find a way to serve which is fulfilling and a source of happiness. Those who have not yet found a way or who have been disappointed in the past should therefore consider the possibility that the team they were on was perhaps not the team best suited to them, and look for another. (Rabbi Yisroel Miller, What’s Wrong With Being Human?, p.169–70)