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Traveling Safely

Friday, 6 December, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Canva - Time Lapse Cars on Fast Motion.jpgIn the last two weeks, I have traveled to New York State no less than three times for various reasons and I have driven many hundreds of miles each time. I also drove locally this week during the bad weather and while I only flew off the rode once and landed in a snow bank after the car lost control on ice, and made it back safely home a short while later, it made me think of how grateful we should all be for all the travel that we do safely each and every day of the year.

Travel and journeys are not just what we do in cars, for life itself is one long journey, with lots of metaphorical turns, bends, ice, rain, snow, red lights, crashes, and more along the way. Each and every day of our lives, our job is to reach the day's destination and goals, which collectively help us to continue to move down a path of moral and spiritual success, where the world around us becomes better through our experiences and interactions with it.

GPS Navigation is helpful, as it allows us to bypass traffic, and accomplish more. In the years since GPS navigation, life has become simpler on some levels and our ability to reach destinations more accurately, has improved greatly. Our spiritual GPS and Moral Compass comes from our rich teachings of Judaism and the Torah which provide us with a guidance system that helps us achieve our goals and arrive at our destinations.

This idea, is the spiritual concept that is alluded to in the beginning of this week's Torah portion of Vayetze, which describes the journey of Jacob as he leaves the city of Beer Sheva, which was symbolic of a peaceful and productive spiritual place, as alluded to by its name which means the Well of an Oath (of peace). Jacob then heads on towards choppy waters as he travels to Charan, which was considered an immoral and spiritually challenging place.

Jacob journeys, and stops to pray at the place where the Temple would later be built, as he asks G-d to help him succeed in his journey as he goes into a challenging world, and that he should succeed at imbuing and infusing the future with the spiritual values of his upbringing. Jacob doesn't have it easy, but ultimately he succeeds in a beautiful way as together with his wives Rachel and Leah, he builds a home and raises their children who would become the Jewish people.

Jacob may have lived thousands of years ago, but he was our spiritual ancestor and his life messages are relevant to us in a very pertinent way. Just like Jacob, our individual journeys today, are not too different and consist of many trials, challenges and tribulations as we seek to move forward and engage the world around us and accomplish great things at the same time.

Like Jacob, we too have been endowed with a spiritual soul and moral compass which helps us have the ability to succeed in our individual journeys. We are put into this world with a purpose and a mission, to live up to the potential that has been invested in us, and to make the world a better place in the process. We may get stuck in traffic sometimes, we may go off the road sometimes, and perhaps we might even get lost and hit a dead end. Yet our job is always to find a way to travel on, even if it means backing up sometimes, or doing a U Turn, and finding a way to head to our goals and destinations.

Like Jacob, moments of prayer and  and connecting with G-d as well as creating times for Torah study and introspection, help us nurture our inner compass, and provide us with the spiritual battery power for our GPS to be able to pick up the correct signals.

We may still hit metaphorical traffic, but we may be better prepared to deal with what comes our way, or know how to get off an exit beforehand, and sometimes, we might be able to avoid some of the challenges and pitfalls, by proceeding on an alternative path, than what social pressures dictate. 

Drive safely and avoid the traffic and good luck at arriving at your daily destinations.

Good Shabbos


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