Written by the Vertical Jew
I was talking to someone recently who is trying to pass his driving exam. We talked a bit about his previous driving exam experiences and about the mistakes that where made that caused him to fail. While we were talking, I remembered the famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that everything that one sees and hears should be interpreted as a lesson in how to serve Hashem. So, I thought to myself, what lesson could be gleaned from this person’s driving experience?
Before a person starts to drive, they spends their whole life in the passenger seat, when they learn to drive, they move over to the driver’s seat. In serving Hashem, one could either be in the passenger seat or the driver’s seat. Serving Hashem through the driver’s seat means that one’s attitude towards Torah and Mitzvos is more of a passive approach. A day cannot go by without Davening or Learning Torah. Even though this level is extremely significant and every person should feel this level of dedication, it is still serving Hashem passively. Serving Hashem from the driver’s seat means realizing what the goal is, and to take active steps to achieve it.
The Rebbe (Sefer Hasichos 5751, 28 Nissan) issued an emotional call to his followers “do all that you can to bring the Moshiach, immediately! I have done my part. From this point on, all is in your hands.” What the Rebbe was telling us is that it is time to move out the passenger seat and shift in to the driver’s seat. A person has to ask themselves every day, what are they actively doing to make this world a better place.
In the Medrash Yalkut Shimoni (Bamidbar chapter 8) writes “if you guard the Shabbos candle, I will show you the candles of Yerushalim. Let us all make an effort to improve the way we observe the Shabbos (by guarding it with our words etc.) and through this may we merit the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu speedily in our days.