From Spirit of Matter (#16) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
I’ll repeat for you a little picture that I once drew for you here. There’s a case of a man who won a contest, and the prize for the contest was five seconds in Tiffany’s vault. Tiffany used to have a vault. The great day came when this man came to Tiffany with all his relatives, and he was dressed in his Shabbas garments. He made sure that his wife sewed in extra pockets in all sides of the lining. Of course reporters and photographers were there, and the president of the bank was there in full dress; and also a representative of the Internal Revenue Service.
He had to wait because that vault doesn’t open by itself, it opens by a clock at a certain moment. And finally a bell rang and that heavy massive door began to open up, and he was amazed at what he saw. He was stunned by the blaze that he saw on all shelves, glittering stones, white, and some blue. But the presence nudged him, hurry up, it’s late, you only have five seconds. So he lunged into the vault and fell down on his face and hands starting grabbing. But then the president of the bank took him by his coattails and pulled him right out, the bell rang and the door closed. Five seconds were up. And that’s what life is.
Life is opportunity to snatch the precious stones
Life is opportunity to snatch the precious stones of achievement. If you think that the picture is exaggerated, no matter how glorious those five seconds would appear to you, it is nothing at all compared to five seconds of life. Because in this life you can acquire diamonds that have no peer in beauty and lasting qualities and in price, and never again will this opportunity be repeated.
When the hearse comes in front of the synagogue on the way to the cemetery, and they open the door for a moment in order to say kel malei rachamim, the dead man would like to get out and run into the synagogue just for a moment. But they don’t let him. But he more than anyone else appreciates how precious the opportunity would be…
Today is the time to do mitzvos. The Next World is a world of happiness, a world of enjoyment, a world of ecstasy, of glory, but no more accomplishment. Today and now is the time to achieve.