We learn in today’s daf (Beitzah 13a) that the obligation to take terumah only begins once grain, fruit and vegetables have been gathered and have been readied for use or consumption (גמר מלאכתם).

Similarly, our religious progress and our spiritual growth should be determined based on our sense that we have reached גמר מלאכתם wherever we are, and that we are ready to progress and grow further onto a new chapter in our life.

The problem, however, is that while Chazal, both in our daf and elsewhere, provide guidelines as to when grain, fruit and vegetables is considered to have reached גמר מלאכתם, no such objective measures exist for people – which means that it is up to us to know when we are ready.

There are some who claim there are always ready and who are always making changes. The problem with this, however, is that they don’t have a chance to grow in one place. Conversely, there are others who adopt a permanent stance that no matter wherever they are in life, they have not yet reached גמר מלאכתם and are not yet ready to begin a new chapter in their life.  

Yet unlike grain, fruit and vegetables where the points for transition are clear, these points are rarely – if ever – clear for people. Which is why it is important for us to be honest with ourselves, and if we are truly ready to take the next step, we should be prepared to do so.