by Rabbi Israel Rubin

The big ship was sailing calmly on the ocean. Suddenly, in the dark of the night, the ship commander saw lights coming straight at him. A collision was imminent.

Alarmed, he quickly radioed an order:

"Change course, shift direction 30 degrees south!"

But the response came right back: "Ship master, you shift 30 degrees north!"

The Ship Commander was incensed by the impudence: "Do you realize to whom you are talking? This is Captain MacArthur, Master of the Seas. You shift 30 Degrees south immediately!!"

The response came right back: "I don't care who you are, you better shift 30 degrees north!"

The Captain shot right back furiously: "How dare you! This is Captain MacArthur and this is a two-hundred-ton destroyer. Get out of the way for your own safety immediately!"

And the response came right back: "I don't care who you are or what you're driving, THIS IS A LIGHTHOUSE!"

Life is full of variables, but some things remain constant and stationary. Often we are in the dark and cannot distinguish between one and the other. We become so fixed on ourselves, and on the fleeting and temporary, that we go full steam ahead and expect every¬thing else to move out of our way.

We may not realize it, but we are on a collision course with Torah, standards, morals and tradition; we expect them to change rather than change ourselves.

Torah and Jewish tradition are a beacon of light, to give us guidance and direction. Some things in life, like fashion and fads, are always changing, but Torah and Mitzvot are constant, giving us stability and permanence for our own good and safety.

© Rabbi Israel Rubin