Rabbi Avin the Levite said: All who try to force the moment (literally, “the hour”) the moment forces them,

and all who yield to the moment, the moment yields to them.       

כל הדוחק את השעה שעה דוחקתו וכל הנדחה מפני השעה שעה נדחת מפניו

Talmud Berakhot 64a


I’m looking for language to describe this wonderful enigma as a Rabbinic expression of wisdom more East than West.

There is something universally spiritual in this saying about life in time, repeated several times in the Talmud and other Rabbinic teachings. Could we call this paradoxical statement from our Sages a Talmudic Koan? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a Koan is “a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.” (Some have suggested that Talmudic study provides a similar kind of training.)

Or perhaps the universal message in this particular Rabbinic teaching resonates well with Taoist and Zen wisdom to yield and live gracefully in the flow of life:

The sages instruct us to accept with equanimity the reality of evil in the world, but not its sovereignty; and to accept that while cruelty is a part of life, it is not a part of our common bond as intelligent human beings. Yes, we do our best to go with the flow—but not with the torrent of injustice.

Dr. Ronald Pies

No surprise that the very term “current events” also connotes a metaphor of flowing waterThere is a spiritual art to riding and even guiding the current of events in our lives and in our world.

Consider and Comment: What does this saying mean to you? What does it feel like to you when you yield to the moment? When you force the moment? Could this saying also have to do with the right season of life for doing things? With readiness?

Featured Image: Winter stream in Rockefeller State Park Preserve, JHD, via Instagram.


In the Gateway of Seasons, continue on to learn about Climate Change, or return to the Gateway of Flowing Water