Don't we all wish we had more time? So many projects we'd love to embark upon, so many places to see and things to do, but so little time available. Of course we'd love to study Torah, spend quality time with our loved ones, and pursue hobbies and dreams which we have always postponed — but between the duties of work and chores at home, there seems to be nary an extra moment to devote to these important endeavors.

We are currently in the midst of the seven-week Omer counting period. The mitzvah which dominates these days involves counting time; or, in other words, making time count. This is certainly an appropriate time to discuss the chronic lack of time which is seemingly the lot of the most of us.

Let's consider what occupied the "leisure" time of the person who lived in the 19th centuryPerhaps a peek at the history of leisure time will give us some much needed perspective in the area of time management. Let's consider what sort of tasks occupied the "leisure" time of the average person who lived in the 19th century:

Preparing meals was an everyday adventure. If the meal was to be baked, firewood had to be chopped. If cooked fare was on the menu, water needed to be drawn from the town well too. The chicken purchased in the market needed to be flicked and gutted. When the meal was finished, the dishes needed to be washed — the hot water required for this chore necessitating more wood and more water... And then the house needed to be heated for the night... the horse needed to be groomed and fed...

Acquiring and maintaining a fashionable wardrobe remains a time-consuming enterprise until this very day — but in this area we don't hold a candle to our ancestors. In times bygone, fashion started at home, where the household's clothing was knitted and sewn. I could only assume that white wasn't the color preferred by the average housewife, considering the amount of effort and time required to launder dirty garments. A cauldron of water was boiled — yes that means more wood chopped and more water drawn — the clothing boiled, then scoured with bars of soap, wrung beaten and hung to dry.

Think about all this next time you load your dishwasher after eating a ready-made kosher microwaveable meal.

Did I fail to mention that workday hours have decreased, workweeks were shortened to five days, and the average American is given eighteen days of vacation?

So what are we doing with all the extra time afforded to us by modern technology? To answer this question, most of us need only to look in the direction of some of the other "conveniences" and distractions provided by the very same sciences.

So what are we doing with all the extra time afforded to us by modern technology?One of the main characteristics of the Messianic Era is the promise of abundant time. Maimonides writes (Laws of Kings 12:4): "The sages and prophets longed for the Messianic Era... only in order to be free to study Torah and its wisdom; with no oppressor or deterrence."

As the date of our rendezvous with Redemption approaches ever nearer, we are experiencing a taste of this awesome possibility. And as time becomes more plentiful, knowledge has also become more accessible by quantum leaps. In times past the average person needed to trudge to a library or synagogue for study texts; now it is within the means of the average consumer to own a modest personal library and, for everyone, the internet offers so many opportunities to broaden horizons, with hundreds of thousands of pages of Torah knowledge and so many audio classed to boot.

As we "count time" this Omer period, let us resolve to make more of our time. The time is there — the question is only how we will choose to use it.