There’s an old English proverb: “The early bird catches the worm.” The earlier you get started, the better your shot at success.

But did you ever wonder what would happen if the bird got there too early? If the worm hasn’t emerged yet, then being early is not an advantage.

In life, we are often impatient. We are eager to move on to the next big thing, and we rush to get there as soon as we can. We feel like that next milestone must be met today and that next goal needs to be achieved now.

But is this really a healthy urge? Do we sometimes fall into the trap of “arriving” too early?

This year, in the Jewish calendar, is a leap year. We add an extra month (Adar I) so that Passover will fall during the spring.

The Jewish months are based on the cycle of the moon, with every month being just about 29.5 days. Twelve such months give you 354 days—11 days less than the solar year of 365 days. After three such years, we are 33 days ahead of the solar year, and thus Passover would fall out during the late winter instead of spring.

To avoid falling into this trap, we have the leap year. We add an extra month of Adar, thereby slowing us down and timing the arrival Passover to coincide perfectly with the spring.

There is a profound lesson here: rushing ahead is not always advantageous.

When our forefather Abraham set out to sacrifice his son Isaac, we are told, “And Abraham woke up early in the morning.” The Talmud learns from this that one should always set out to perform a mitzvah at the soonest possible time—like Abraham, who woke up earlier than usual and set out to fulfill the special commandment he received from G‑d.

But if so, why didn’t he leave in middle of the night?

The answer is the same. Early is good, but too early is not. Abraham needed to be well rested for his long journey, and leaving in the middle of the night could have jeopardized the whole mission. Also, travelling at night can be dangerous.

So although eager to set out in fulfillment of G‑d’s wishes, Abraham knew that it would be wiser to wait until morning.

Back to Passover.

Passover is the festival of freedom. We went from being slaves to a foreign power to becoming our own sovereign nation. Every year on Passover we are reborn and get the chance to start over. One can become an entirely new person and begin a brand new spiritual life.

It is only appropriate for this holiday to be in the spring. Spring is that season of new beginnings. During winter the trees stand bare, everything comes to a standstill and there is little movement or growth. With spring, a whole new life emerges. Trees put out leaves, flowers begin to bloom—a new year is ushered in.

Winter is simply not the optimal time for making big changes and new beginnings. The atmosphere is cold and people are gloomy. If we would attempt to get ahead and experience the festival of freedom too early, in middle of the winter, we might find ourselves lacking the motivation, and therefore despairing—never again to attempt such a change.

But if we get the timing right and make the new beginning in the spring, when the atmosphere is bright and people’s spirits high, we have a much better shot at success. “Keep the month of spring, and make Passover to the L‑rd, your G‑d” the Torah tells us. It is the right time for the holiday of Passover.

The same is true in life. Just because something is good, it doesn't mean it's good for you now. One has to make sure the timing is right before setting off in pursuit of a dream.

Getting married and starting a family is a major milestone. It is a dream we all share and a goal we all aspire to. But one needs to be ready. If one is not yet mature, it's probably best to wait before deciding upon a soul-mate.

Accepting a promotion at work can be a wonderful opportunity. But again, the timing has to be right. If as a result, the person won't have the time for family, it’s probably best to wait. Maybe once children have grown up and become more independent, the time will be right to accept it.

When it comes to raising children, this lesson cannot be overstated. Many parents have the urge to push their children to do too much. Every accomplishment has to make sense for the child at his or her age, and the timing has to be right.

Let’s heed the message of the leap year to slow down and live life in the present, without always rushing ahead to the next big thing. Let’s appreciate what we have now and keep in mind – it’s all about the timing.