Just for today
It is written, "[Yaakov] blessed [Efraim and Menasheh] on that day…" (48:20). We
can explain, Yaakov blessed them that they should always focus 'on that
day.' They shouldn’t think about the past, nor about the future.
It says, 'tfochois nosato yomai' - 'like handbreadths (t'fochim) You set my days' (Tehillim 39). Rebbe Bunim of Peshischa zt'l explained: A person can be holding a very long rope
that's seventy amos long, but in his hand there's only one tefach. In life, too, there's a long life ahead of us, be'ezras Hashem, but keep your focus on that one tefach; on the day that's in your hand today. Make today good. Focus on each day individually and you will
succeed in life.
Reb Moshe Yosef Teitelbaum zt'l, the
son of the Yeitev Leiv zt'l once traveled
to the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinov zt'l for
Shabbos. On motzei Shabbbos, Reb
Moshe Yosef paced in front of the
Rebbe's home, contemplating what he
could take home with him from this
As he was pacing, the Shinover Rav
came out of his house, greeted him,
"When I was a young man, I traveled to
the Sar Shalom of Belz zt'l. After
Shabbos, I was pacing in front of the Sar
Shalom's house and I was wondering,
'What can I take back home with me?"
As I was thinking, the Sar Shalom
opened his door and said, "Yungerman,
you must know that the yetzer hara
works very hard to make people 'cold,'
(uninspired) in their avodas Hashem. He
does this by causing people to think
about the past.'"
The Binyan Dovid writes this story and explains with it the words of the Gemara, "Up until here are the words of the yetzer hara. From here further are the words of the yetzer tov" (Shabbos 63).
When we think about what happened until now, it's
the yetzer hara, because it depresses us.
We remain with morose thoughts of, I
should have done more. I should have
been better. When we focus on the
future, 'from here on,' it's the yetzer tov
speaking. The past was and is gone, now
it's time to make the present good.