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At Each Junction, Check your GPS

Published on Wednesday January 1st, 2020

Imagine driving in your car for a good hour or so when suddenly you find yourself distracted and you do not know where you are. Annoying, no? But not tragic: GPS to the rescue, you will probably end up finding your way...

But imagine now that not only do you no longer know where you are, but you have completely forgotten where you want to go!

This mashal, given by Rav Pinkus z"al can apply quite well to all of us 'women of value'! Every housewife, whether she is aware of it or not, is at the head of a flotilla that she must govern and lead to safety.

Initially, we usually have a more or less precise idea of ​​our objectives. But often, after we get behind the wheel, we realize that we do not really know where we are or, especially, where we are heading.

Often, we continue to drive - while scrupulously respecting the rules of the road, of course - but without knowing where we are going...

In our life as mothers of families, we find ourselves constantly in front of intersections. An example: We got married, we had a job, good or bad, irrelevant. Then, baruch Hashem, we experienced the joy of bringing children into the world. At first, it was obvious that we would continue working, but then, in spite of all the obligations incumbent upon us at home, we continue because..., and because... There may be a host of good and bad reasons: money ('if there is no flour, there is no Torah says, not the man of the house, but our Sages in Pirkei Avot); the need to breathe; the impossibility of giving up a well-started career, etc… It may be that these reasons are excellent, and this is not the time to discuss them. But did we take the time to think deeply about the question? Another example: You are an accomplished housewife, your home is always impeccable and perfectly cared for, you are convinced, a real kiddush Hashem. We will not discuss this either now. But have you ever wondered if your children have a place in your perfectly sterile home and if you have enough time, energy, and good will to provide them with the vitamins that they need?

"Kol Yisrael yesh lahem cheleck leolam haba", assert our Sages: a piece of land is reserved for each of us in the future world. A plot of land, very well. But what will it grow?

Rav Diamant illustrates this with a parable: Two empty plots of land were found in a bustling city. Some flowers were growing there and the schoolboys would play there after school. One of these lots was sold and construction began. It took money, time, effort... Tractors came, drills, cement mixers, and so on. All this made a lot of noise, a lot of dust, a lot of mess. But little by little, a building rose and today, on this once empty piece of land, lies a magnificent yeshiva where the voice of the Torah can be heard day and night.

As for the other plot of land, its owner, who did not like noise, dust, or disorder, preferred to leave it as it was, with its spring flowers. Slowly though, the flowers turned into weeds, and little by little the charming plot was turned into a municipal dump...

What exactly are our place and our duty? The Mesilat Yesharim recommends that before anything else, we must meditate about what is our duty in this world, and our duty to ourselves.

Every day we ask G-d "and give us understanding, discernment, and wisdom". The Creator has put at our disposal a great tool - thought and wisdom - and most of the time we neglect or forget to take advantage of it!

So, let us build a plan, let us know what our priorities are and consult our different GPS. Let us be aware of the shortcuts, the beautiful country roads that may turn out to be no-entry routes or, even worse, lead us straight to the precipice. Let us remember this anecdote reported by the Gemara to emphasize the wisdom of the children of Jerusalem: A Sage once asked a child what was the path that led to such and such a place. The child answered, "This path is long and short, while that one is short and long''.

What do you mean? asked the wise man.

"This path is shorter, but it is riddled with ruts and undergrowth, making the journey much longer and more difficult," said the child. ''This one, however, is longer but the way is clear. The journey is much easier in the end, and it will get you safely to the destination."

We all have a plot of land. It is up to us to grow on it, not necessarily a yeshiva, but what we can. For that, we must set ourselves a program - and follow it. Planting requires effort and reflection, it is dust, mud and sometimes it seems a waste since the seed that is buried rots and dies...

On the other hand, let us know that if we leave our parcel as it is, charming as it is, it will end up covered with weeds and serve as a dump.

Building a home and raising children requires setting goals - and sticking to them.

It takes effort, it makes disorder, dust; often, we feel like we are sowing in vain, and our parcel of land looks like a battlefield. Let us continue, however, to sow, to plant, to water, for it is from this land that the fruits will come and reward us for our labors.

And, above all, let us constantly remember the goals we have set for ourselves. Let's think intelligently to establish a program that will allow us to achieve our objectives and, above all, continue calmly to consult our GPS, the famous map which, as the Mesilat Yesharim so aptly describes, will help us to find the right way out of the labyrinth: by seeking the council, with each hesitation and every junction, of our Masters and our rabbis.

And let us never forget to continually ask G-d to grant us intelligence, discernment, and wisdom - and to use it! ─ because it is on Him that everything depends.

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