This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 7:50 PM

Shabbat Ends: 8:52 PM

Torah Message:


Show Me the Waze To Go Home

“Come to Cheshbon” (21:27)

I well remember, before setting off on a trip, pulling out my somewhat dog-eared maps and carefully planning my route. I carefully considered the prevailing traffic at my estimated times along journey, and committed to memory the route, jotting down the names or numbers of the highways that I would need to take.

Who’d a-thought that that just a few short years later, my maps would be gathering mold at the bottom the trunk of my car, and a satellite miles above me in the sky would be guiding me to my destination on a screen in my car? And not only that, but if the traffic situation changed, it would reroute me as I was driving!

Waze sure is a wonderful invention. Only problem is if the satellite doesn’t work, or your phone can’t pick up the signal.

A few years ago, one of my sons was attending a Yeshiva in the south of Israel, and my wife and I made several trips to visit him. I jumped in the car, fired up Waze, and off we went. We must have made the journey at least five or six times, when one day I realized that Waze had gone “on the blink.” I suddenly started to pay attention to the road signs and cast my eyes to the left and the right, trying to recognize the scenery.

I had absolutely no idea where I was.

Or how to get to where I wanted to get.

Our lives are full of labor-saving devices that can make our lives full of labor.

When the personal computer first came out, I suggested that every computer that left the factory should have a little sticker on it saying, “You can waste your life saving time.”

One of the most dangerous things in life is to travel through it on “auto-pilot.” Although we may have traveled though similar situations in the past, life choices require constant reevaluation. The “Negative Drive” is a master of misrouting. And what may have been a necessary strategy in the past — or even a mitzvah — now, on this particular journey, the road that we are on may take us far from our goal.

“Come to Cheshbon.”

The Talmud (Bava Batra 78b) expounds this verse in this manner: “Therefore, the allegorists say, ‘Come to Cheshbon.’ … Those who rule over their negative drive say, ‘Come and evaluate the cheshbon (“balance sheet of the world”) — the loss of a mitzvah versus its gain — and the gain of a transgression versus its loss…’ ”

When we fail to do life’s essential map work, we may find ourselves far “awaze” from where we want to be.