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Monday, 29 February 2016

Stay on course

Daf Yomi Gittin 73

Albert Einstein was five years old when his father bought him a special present that would change his life and humankind’s scientific progress forever.  What was it?  A compass.  Young Einstein was determined to trick the needle into pointing in a different direction, but try as he might, the needle always pointed north.  

Later in life, Einstein would explain that it was this incredible phenomenon that stayed with him and motivated him to strive to better understand the world around him.  Like the compass needle itself, Einstein never lost his bearing and direction, always staying on course to explore and investigate the secrets of the universe.

Rav Papa and Rav Huna the son of Rav Yehoshua purchased sesame seeds on the banks of the Kings River.  They then hired seamen to transport the goods, who accepted responsibility for any mishaps.  Eventually, they reached a point where the river had been dammed. 
The rabbis said to the seamen, “Rent donkeys to transport the goods to us, for you accepted full responsibility for any mishaps!”
They came before Rava for adjudication, who said to them, “Old men, you are taking the shirts off these people’s backs!  What happened was a completely unforeseen mishap!”

In life, many people have a plan and a vision to achieve their goals and dreams.  But they fail to plan for unforeseen bumps along the road.  They will hire a ship to transport their goods through the river of life, but when they suddenly reach a point where the river is dammed, what then?

Some people will give up.  Life didn’t go their way.  They will become despondent.  They will drift to try something new.  They will reassess their goals and dreams.  They will try a different river to float down.

But when you keep switching the goalposts, you will never score.  The opposing forces will never cease to rise against you and make sure you cannot reach your goals.  So when the new track and new vision don’t work, then what?  Will you then start all over again with a new goal and vision?!

The way to accomplish your goals and dreams in life is to stay on course.  If the river is dammed and the ship cannot go any further, hire a donkey to transport you by land!  It may take a little longer, but as long as you are heading in the right direction, you will eventually reach your goal!

The problem is that many of us are impatient.  In our original vision, we believed we would reach our goals in no time at all.  We tell ourselves that if the path to our goals has reached an impasse, we should just give up and look for some other goal to work towards.  But when you do that, it might seem that you are taking a new approach and that you will get there faster, but who can tell what obstacles you will encounter on your new journey? 

Instead, you need to stay on track to reach the dream you set out to achieve.   No obstacle is insurmountable.  As long as you are heading in the right direction, you will get there eventually!

How do you make sure you’re heading in the right direction?  Remember Albert Einstein.   He hiked through life with his compass.  Just like a hiker carefully watches his compass knowing that he cannot be heading round and round in circles if he is paying attention to the compass needle, when you stay focused on the destination, you will get there!


The difference between successful and unsuccessful people in this world is the commitment to staying on course.  Never give up on your dreams.  Never be put off by obstacles along the way.  May you merit achieving the vision the Almighty originally planted in your mind very soon!