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Go to an Israeli soccer game; when a player misses the goal you’ll hear thousands of fans shouting “Chet!” In soccer, “Chet” means to miss the goal. And that is exactly how the Torah defines sin. You missed your goal. You wandered off the road. “Teshuvah” means to find your way back again. If we combine the two, we realize that Jewish life is a constant journey, during which we sometimes are on track and sometimes we are not. This speech uses the image of driving a car on a highway as a metaphor for life’s travels.
As we journey along the highway of life, much like actual highways, the first thing we need to know is our destination. The Shofar’s blast teaches us not to get behind the wheel of a car and steer aimlessly, without a destination in mind. The dangers of doing so are pointed out by an intriguing scientific experiment.
As we journey along the highway of life, there are signs. In this speech we’ll learn how to pay attention to these signs, so we can reach our ultimate destination of a richer and more spiritual life.
A two-page advertisement in the New York Times proclaims the virtue of a luxury BMW. In bold letters it said: From 0 to 60 mph in 4.03 seconds! A marvel of engineering. But please tell me, given modern traffic, just where on earth can one put this feature to use? What does this ad tell us about how to live as a Jew?
A Talmudic lesson reminds us to beware of shortcuts.
“Weigh the loss of the mitzvah against its reward and the reward of the sin against its loss.” This injunction from Ethics of the Fathers has a very strange structure. Find out the very surprising answer why and we’ll see how this was beautifully expressed in a lesson a father taught his bar mitzvah age son one cold morning in Russia.
This gives us the true directions on the Highway of Life.
Dedicated in the merit of Binyomin Zev ben Tziviya Hinda for a complete and speedy recovery