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Can you fly?

Thursday, 17 August, 2017 - 8:52 am

Happy Thursday :) 

G-d willing tonight I will sleep in my own bed for the first time this week. Thank G-d it was a busy week; learning, teaching, helping other Rabbis and a CEO to enhance their synagogues and businesses respectively, and their lives as a whole.

My travels took me on 3 flights to 3 states. I noticed that on all three flights (note: these trips were alone without my wife and our children) the noisiest part of the flight was from takeoff until we broke through the clouds. There is a known teaching of the Baal Shem Tov: "Every single thing that a person sees or hears is an instruction to him in his conduct in the service of G‑d". 

Which got me thinking; what can I learn from this extra noise and why specifically at that part of the flight process?

Just like an airplane needs to combat the natural forces that would cause it to fall or remain on the ground in order to fly, so too we need to combat our natural force, our "ego" or "self", that does not allow us to soar spiritually. These forces can take on many forms like preconceived notions, self-talk, e.g. "I can never go kosher", "there is no way I can keep Shabbos", etc. or others.

When we start to fly and are struggling against those forces, there is a lot of noise. Sometimes, it is an external noise: "you eat kosher?!" or "I didn't know that you became more observant". Other times, it is an internal noise: "c'mon, just taste it" or "what will my friends say?" etc. It is true, for the first “10,000 feet” it is hard, it is noisy, you cannot use approved electronic devices, your seat belt must remain fastened etc. Then, the noise slowly fades and you keep climbing. You can now use electronic devices (excluding Shabbos). Having reached cruising altitude, you can get out of your seat and move around. Nonetheless, do not become complacent at your new level, if you are not vigilant, you may hit turbulence or other complications and you will need to refasten your seatbelts just to stay safe.

Ignore the noise, make sure you did the correct safety checks and get ready to fly, get ready to get high in honor of the High Holidays.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

P.S. I found the technical answers to plane noises online, here

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