The Rebbe Rashab suffered from stones in his gall bladder. Once, when Dr. Shachor was visiting, the Rebbe Rashab was beset by very severe pains, during which he took a break to pray Mincha. Soon after he finished his prayers, the pains ceased.
The doctor asked him: “Rebbe, couldn’t you have waited for a brief while until the pains subsided, and prayed then?”
“I didn’t know; I calculated that the pains could have worsened, so I prayed as long as I could,” the Rebbe Rashab explained.
Shemu’os V’Sipurim, Vol. 1, p. 165.
Sometimes there are so many things going on in our lives that we tell ourselves that “for now” we need to delay learning Torah, delay praying with concentration (kavana), delay attending farbrengens ... until we’re less stressed, less overworked, have a clearer mind, and more patience.
“Until a rainy day.”
But oddly enough, often the more that we delay devoting time to the spiritual, the more the material concerns pile up, and the more the spiritual eludes us.
However, when we manage to overcome the distractions and difficulties and make the time, even if it means “stealing” time, to focus on learning Torah and prayer, we suddenly start to see that more time becomes available.
In any case, since we never know what the future may bring, we can’t delay anything. We must grab every opportunity that comes our way. As our sages say, “Grab and eat; grab and drink!” (Eruvin 54a). Likewise, they say, “Don’t say, ‘When I have free time I will learn, lest you never have free time’” (Avos 2:6). Moreover, “It is not given to man to tell [the Angel of Death]: ‘Wait until I have settled my accounts and arranged my household’” for “who knows when his time will come?” (Devarim Rabba 9:3).