Moshe asks of Hashem, "To count our days so teach us, then we shall acquire wisdom (Psalm 90, verse 12)." Psalm 90 is one of the eleven psalms composed by Moshe that David incorporated into his Tehillim.
What does Moshe mean when he asks for instruction in counting the days? Surely Moshe, the pre-eminent teacher of the Jewish people, knew the value of time. He was not a time-waster. In our day, we have an ambivalent relationship with time. On the one hand, we are a culture that marks time, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and commemorating yarzheits and historical events. On the other hand, we waste much time in 'trivial pursuits', and are constantly on the lookout for new ways to conserve time and energy. What then is the Divine time instruction that we seek?
The Ibn Ezra explains that Moshe is seeking Divine guidance in learning to value time, to be mindful of it. Time on this earth is limited, and it is our task to use time wisely and well. From the
awareness of our limited time span, we must learn to count our days well. Framed differently, we must learn to make each day count. With Hashem as our guide, we make better choices and live more deeply. Rav Hirsch further comments that we ask Hashem to give us the wisdom to treasure each moment that we are granted. We ask for the discernment to recognize that each minute provides us with the opportunity to do Hashem's will and to fulfill the true purpose of our existence.
Reprinted from Rachel Lerner's Tehillim Thought of the Day.