web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



The Longer, Shorter Way

“See, I was standing right there,” I hold out the brochure for my children, pointing to the famous Panama Canal.


I had just returned from a speaking engagement in Panama. In between lectures, Selma, a friendly woman from the community, graciously offered to give me a tour of special attractions. My children are eager to hear all about the sites that I visited.


“Far on my right, I could view the Pacific Ocean and on the left was the Atlantic Ocean! And here was the canal, attaching the two.”


Out came the world map. My husband gingerly placed it on the kitchen table and all our heads locked together as we located Panama.


“Here, it even says ‘Panama Canal’,” Shira was the first to locate it. “This must have been where you were.”


“I was able to see how the Canal works, as a ship traveled through.” I offered.


“But why did they have to build the Canal? And what is a canal, anyway?” My youngest son, Yisroel queried.


“Well, for ships that are traveling from Europe, it’s very convenient to cut through the Panama Canal instead of going all around South America to get to the other side,” I began.


My husband is tracing for the children the route that ships travel and illustrating the long detour that would be necessary without the Canal.


The Panama Canal is 80 kilometers long from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was cut through one of the narrowest and lowest saddles of the long, mountainous Isthmus that joins the North- and South -American Continents.


Recalling the information I had learned about the Canal, I continued. “For centuries, ever since Panama was discovered by Christopher Columbus, people were trying to make a route, cutting through Panama to shorten their sea travels. First, King Charles of Spain ordered a survey of the area, but it was beyond the possibilities of that time.


“Three centuries later, the French were the first to actually begin construction. But they faced a difficult climate, constant landslides and tropical diseases. Many people died along the way and eventually, their funds ran out.


“Finally, in the early 1900s, the Americans took up the challenge. It took 10 years and the labor of more than 75,000 workers,” I emphasized the numbers. “They faced many hurdles as they tried to dig across the Isthmus and build huge locks to hold the water levels steady,” I paused.


“The Canal is made up from locks that open and close to raise the ship from sea level to lake level and then back again to sea level,” I point to the picture of the large locks on the brochure.


“The incredible determination and will of the men and women who built the Canal resulted in its successful completion in 1914,” I conclude.


“Was the ship that you watched crossing the Canal large?” asked Shira.


“It was very big and it originated in Israel. I could tell from the Hebrew letters forming the company name that were emblazoned on its side,” I explain. “Every ship is charged a toll, based on the value of merchandise that it transports. Guess how much it cost for that ship to pass through the canal.”


“One hundred dollars,” Yisroel was the first to speculate.


“Much, much more.” I responded.


“One thousand dollars,” Naomi suggested.


“Much more.” I repeated.


“Five thousand dollars,” Shira ventured.


I shook my head.


“Twenty thousand dollars,” my husband was enjoying this guessing game.


“No, again,” I rejoined. “It cost that Israeli ship $200,000!”


My children gasped.


“But even that amount must be well worth it to save the long detour all around South America,” my husband mused.


I continued telling my family all about Panama and the wonderful community that I met. And we continued talking about the Canal and the ships, while perusing the world map and the brochures that I had brought back.


And as we spoke, I thought about how sometimes in life we are faced with a huge obstacle – a large piece of rough terrain that stands in our way. It takes a lot of work, energy and determination – on ourselves and on our environment – to slowly chisel away at this obstacle.


Sometimes, we may opt for the shorter route – avoid it or travel around it, rather than facing the challenge and dealing with it.


This is what the Talmud refers to as the shorter, longer route. It seems the quicker route to travel, but if we haven’t transformed our environment, or worked on our own character traits, ultimately the obstacle remains, blocking our path from here on in.


On the other hand, if we do expend the necessary efforts, and face the challenges that life presents us, head on, we have traveled the “longer, shorter route,” longer and more difficult initially, but ultimately a more enduring and invaluable investment.


An investment so great, in fact, it was easily worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for one large ship that was passing through.


Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, the latest, Divine Whispers – Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul (Targum/Feldheim). She is also a columnist for www.chabad.org’s Weekly Magazine. Weisberg lectures on issues relating to women, faith, relationships and the Jewish soul. To book a talk for your community or for information on her books or speaking schedule, please contact: weisberg@sympatico.ca 







About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Longer, Shorter Way”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS executioner holding British aid worker Alan Henning as a hostage.
Muslims Plead with ISIS for Life of UK Aid Worker Alan Henning
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Chana Weisberg

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/the-longer-shorter-way/2006/02/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: