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Too Accessible

Rabbi’s Thoughts
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Once upon a time, when you wanted to go somewhere, you needed to first find out directions from someone who knew the way. You would try to speak with someone who was proficient with roads, knew traffic patterns, and which was the best route to take. Then, a few years ago, Mapquest, followed by Google Maps, came into vogue which maps out the route for you. All you had to do was print it out and take it along.

And then came the GPS! No longer does anyone need to know anything more than the destination address. Just plug it in and walla! Follow the little car on the screen. In the words of Rus, “Where you go, I will go.” It not only tells you how to get there, it tells you how long it should take, how fast you are going, and what the approaching roads look like.  

Much has been written about the GPS and the many lessons to be derived from it. But I wish to speak about a seemingly insignificant accessory to the GPS - the holder upon which the GPS is mounted. It may not seem to be too important, but I have learned that without it relying on the GPS can be dangerous.

Recently, the holster which secured our GPS to our dashboard broke. Now whenever I need to use our GPS it becomes an arduous process of trying to balance it in a way that it won’t fall. But no matter how I position it, invariably within a short time it falls off the dashboard, leaving me at a total loss of where to go next. So, here is this amazing piece of technology replete with all the information I need to get to where I am going, and I can’t access any of it, because it has fallen beyond my view.

In our advanced society we have been blessed with many resources to help us learn Torah and do mitzvot with convenience and ease. The drawback is that oftentimes when it’s too accessible and available we don’t feel a pressing need to invest the effort to internalize that wisdom and knowledge. After all, it’s right there whenever we need it. It’s like having a GPS not fastened to the windshield. It will do nothing for you if you don’t have it on display where you can constantly refer to it.

A navigation system can only guide you if you are watching its instruction and following its lead. The captain who keeps his compass in his pocket could have just left it at home. 

The Torah is there for the taking. “It is not distant from you... For the matter is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart to do it.” But only if you keep it in view.

In conclusion I should add that I don’t have the EZ pass stickers on my car either. But that’s a whole separate issue.    

 Rabbi Dani Staum LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as a rebbe and Guidance Counselor at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ, Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor, and a Division Head at Camp Dora Golding. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Looking for “Instant Inspiration” on the parsha in under 5 minutes? Follow him on