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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777
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Changing Lanes

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             I am driving along in my small silver sports car. The pace of the cars around me has suddenly become frenzied; the flow of traffic has thickened considerably; I have hit morning rush hour on Toronto’s busy thoroughfares. I need to merge into traffic on a very busy main road. But I am stopped, stuck, as the cars whiz past me.


And yet, I have a destination. I NEED to get onto this road. Finally, I see a very small breather coming up. I will squeeze my way in.


But…the cars are racing past me. I hesitate. I lose my courage to forge forward, and in the process, my opportunity.


So, I am still stuck here, at this stop sign. Still lingering. Still waiting for an easy way to wedge my way into the constant, fast flow of the traffic. But it doesn’t come.


I sit up taller, more confident. I take a deep breath.


I fix my eyes further down the road. Once again, there’s my opportunity, just past the taupe mini van, I’ll make my move.


I push down on the gas pedal. Hard. Faster. You must. Don’t falter.


But for a split second, I almost feel paralyzed. So many cars approaching…so close to mine. I need to speed up to keep up with the flow of traffic, yet my instincts warn me, proceed gradually, cautiously. Slow down and keep an eye on the cars behind. But how can I edge into the traffic if I saunter? How can I keep track of what is behind me, if I am to focus on my progress up ahead?


Look forward. Not behind. Faster. Don’t let fear or doubt overtake you, another voice instructs.Only once you are safely driving in your new direction, coasting along this roadway, can you safely reassess or redefine your position.


There are times in life when we realize the need to change lanes or turn onto a different roadway.


A part of us would like to proceed with caution, keeping an eye and a hold on what we’re leaving behind while slowly introducing something new. But even while all of our instincts are advising slow paced prudence, at some point, we need to take that complete leap of faith, racing off the path of the past in order to embrace that of the future – with confidence, without hesitation, without distraction, and without looking back or around.


Maimonides instructs us to take the middle, golden path on life’s journey. Proceed with deliberation, at a moderate pace, keeping an eye on all that’s around us. But when making an instrumental change in our lives, when changing directions, or when working on uprooting an ingrained habit, tendency or addiction, Maimonides advises us to go to the opposite extreme. Jump right in, without looking back, at the fastest pace possible. Only once we’re steadily on our way can we ease up on our tenacious hold.


You’ve already determined your destination. You’ve chosen your path. Now, push right down on the gas pedal, edge your way in, and enjoy your new journey.

Chana Weisberg

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