Tradition & Innovation

Everything Is But a Moment: A Meditation on Kohelet

brown woman with close cropped hair sitting in meditation with other meditators and candles in background

A meditation on Kohelet 3:1–8

לַכֹּל זְמָן וְעֵת לְכָל־חֵפֶץ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם

[3:1] To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;

עֵת לָלֶדֶת וְעֵת לָמוּת

[3:2] A time to be born and a time to die:
Death compliments birth, they form the bookends of life.
Resting between them is a life filled with an abundance of things
to see, to feel, to touch, to taste, to understand, to do . . .

עֵת לָטַעַת וְעֵת לַֽעֲקוֹר נָטוּעַ:

There is a time to plant
– envisioning a future
and a time to harvest
– seeing one’s dreams fulfilled;

עת לַֽהֲרוֹג וְעֵת לִרְפּוֹא

[3:3] There is a time to kill
– weeding a garden, breaking a fall, stopping aggression, completing a task, closing a chapter
and a time to heal
– binding a wound, blotting a tear, forgiving a mistake, returning home.

עֵת לִפְרוֹץ וְעֵת לִבְנוֹת:

There is a time to break down the walls that confine us
– setting us free
and a time to build the bridges that connect us
– binding us together

עֵת לִבְכּוֹת וְעֵת לִשְׂחוֹק

[3:4] There is time to weep and a time to laugh;
and sometimes weeping and laughing arrive as one
when memory brings joy and absence, sorrow.

עֵת סְפוֹד וְעֵת רְקוֹד:

There is a time to mourn
– marching to the solemn beat of a funeral procession
and a time to dance
– turning and spinning at a wedding

עֵת לְהַשְׁלִיךְ אֲבָנִים וְעֵת כְּנוֹס אֲבָנִים

[3:5] There is time to cast away stones
– clearing a field for planting,
and a time to gather stones together
– building a house, or covering a grave.

עֵת לַֽחֲבוֹק וְעֵת לִרְחֹ֥ק מֵחַבֵּק:

There is a time to hold a loved one tightly never wanting to let go,
and a time to release one’s embrace and set one’s dear one free;

עֵת לְבַקֵּשׁ֙ וְעֵת לְאַבֵּד

[3:6] There is a time to seek
– looking for answers, chasing a goal, pursing ambition,
and a time to lose
– accepting failure, forgiving wrongs, moving on;

עֵת לִשְׁמוֹר וְעֵת לְהַשְׁלִיךְ:

There is a time to keep as we build our lives and fill our homes,
and a time to cast away as we let go of that which holds us back;

עֵת לִקְרוֹעַ וְעֵת לִתְפּוֹר

[3:7] There is a time to rend
– tearing our garments in grief,
and a time to sew
– mending them again,
but the seam will always remain;

עֵת לַֽחֲשׁוֹת וְעֵת לְדַבּֽר:

There is a time to keep silence
– listening to our hearts
and a time to speak
– sharing our thoughts with others

עֵת לֶאֱהֹב וְעֵת לִשְׂנֹא

[3:8] There is a time to love
– bringing close those who enrich our lives
and a time to hate
– distancing ourselves from those who diminish us.

עֵת מִלְחָמָה וְעֵת שָׁלֽוֹם:

There is a time of strife because no life is without struggle,
and a time of peace,
when all is done,
when all is complete,
when our days are full,
when the story is told,
when we are all together,
when the circle is whole.

הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים אָמַר קֹהֶלֶת הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים הַכֹּל הָבֶל:

Moment upon moment, everything is but for a moment – says Kohelet, the preacher (Kohelet 1:2)
So let us cherish this moment, each moment, and all the moments we share and shared.


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