Mr C. M. King was a stern man. His demeanor bore the imprint of high society; he was a cultured individual and well educated. His passion for sharing guided to him to become a school headmaster. It was a good fit indeed.
As was fashionable in those days, he expected faultless penmanship. With his own perfect handwriting he crafted practice sheets for learning cursive. Once we had mastered the basic letters, he compiled sentences, idioms and epigrams, for us to imitate. I have forgotten almost all of these wise witticisms, but one remains vivid in my memory:
Jerusalem wasn’t built in a day.
It was many years before I learnt that this was only an adaption from the famous adage ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. This maxim carries an important message. It teaches us that patience is necessary in order to build something large, impressive and complex.
Embarking on new projects can be both formidable and exciting. In an effort to conform to the demands of the endeavor, it is essential to pace one’s self appropriately to one’s capabilities. Those who undertake too much too quickly, often suffer from burn-out.
I treasure the following remark which I gleaned from a self-help guide. Targeting those embarking on de-cluttering one’s home, the author recommended the following mantra – “Your house didn’t get messy in a day, and it won’t get cleaned in a day”. People are consumed by the desire to have a tidy home and in desperation for the finished product they overextend themselves. This is counterproductive. A healthy dose of patience, coupled with pacing oneself correctly will generate the much wanted results.
On the first day of a Cohen’s active duty in the Mishkan, he brings a Flour Offering. This donation had a distinct service. In contrast to standard offerings which are sacrificed all at once, half of his Mincha was offered on the Altar in the morning, and the remaining half was presented that afternoon.
This is the offering of Aaron and his sons … on the day when anointed: One tenth of an Ephah of fine flour … half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening. (Vayikra 6:13)
What a great way to induct this fresh Cohen in to his new position. Work in proportion to your capabilities - don’t bite more than you can chew. It is not necessary to complete everything at once if you aren’t capable. With the right attitude you can be a contributing member to the Temple service.
Remember, Jerusalem wasn’t built in a day.