Thursday, May 23, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Beha’aloscha
15 Sivan 5773/May 24, 2013
Pirkei Avos – perek 2

There is no doubt that one who crouches humbly behind everyone else, and has a clear view of the goings on, will have a unique perspective on everything. That was the secret of acknowledged philosopher, Yogi Berra (who incidentally also played catcher for the New York Yankees). Among his other noted witticisms, Berra once quipped that ‘if you come to a fork in the road, take it!’
The crossroads of life are among the most confusing and challenging ordeals we inevitably encounter. We are forced to confront them at all stages of the life cycle, from youth and adolescence, to adulthood and family life, all the way through our golden years.
A number of years ago, I found myself at one such critical juncture of my life. I imminently had to make some difficult decisions which would affect my long-term future. At that time, a friend related to me the following poignant analogy which I have since thought of many times, and related to others as well:
While driving, when one arrives at an intersection with the intention of making a left turn, he first looks both ways carefully. At that point he has ample time to wait until he feels comfortable making the turn, without danger from oncoming traffic. But once he has made his decision to proceed and has begun accelerating, he must follow through. Once in the intersection, even if he realizes that it was a mistake to go, at that point he is better off proceeding than braking or trying to reverse. If, G-d forbid, there will be a collision, he will be better off trying to get out of the way as much as possible, than to stop and bear more of the brunt of the impact.
When we have a critical decision to make and must decide which direction to follow, we should take time to carefully contemplate and weigh our options. What will be the impact of our decision? Will it put us on a collision course? What are our choices? But once we decide to proceed, based on our contemplations and discussions with others, we should trust ourselves and proceed intrepidly with our decision.
I hope Mr. Berra won’t be offended when I argue that when you come to a fork in the road, you should first weigh your options carefully. But if afterwards you decide to proceed, by all means take it! 

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
    R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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