Day 2: 168 – My Favorite Number

This past fall when I attended a leadership program at Kellogg School of Management, Harry Kramer, one of the Business School professors, exclaimed “I love the number 168!” In Judaism, numbers possess meaning as the number 40, 13 or 10. What is so special about 168?

We have just embarked on the 40 Days to a Better You. However, before we realize it, time passes by. One day blends into the next until we wonder where the days have gone.

Judaism teaches that our first mandate as a people is to sanctify time. The ritual mitzvah given to mankind is to observe the Sabbath, an oasis in time. The first mitzvah to the nation of Israel is sanctification of our calendar through the Jewish months and holidays.

Forty days may seem like a long time, but 168 signifies the hours in a week. When we view our weeks not in terms of days but hours, we contemplate their value more deeply. How many hours will I spend sleeping this week? How many hours watching TV or on my computer? How many hours at work? How many hours with the ones I love?

King David teaches in Psalms “Teach us to number our days, that we may attain a heart of wisdom.” We often find that we are too busy to think and reflect on life. Yet, if we can find an hour to distinguish between the urgent vs. the important and to evaluate our priorities, the other 167 will be so much more meaningful.

Do we go through life explicitly asking how do I spend my time or implicitly, letting time go by?

Are we merely active or are we productive?

Find a few minutes or even an hour once a week to contemplate your personal mission statement.

The Kotzker Rebbe writes that we are not living every day unless we think and challenge ourselves to grow. Turn off the outside distraction and power down your Blackberry. Turn on your inner self and power up your spiritual life.

168 – I love the number and hope you will too!

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