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02/06/2023 10:30:42 AM


Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Yesterday, Jewish people around the world celebrated Shabbat Shirah, the Shabbat of Song, in honor of the song the Israelites sang when they crossed the sea and escaped from slavery to freedom. But when the Israelites leave Egypt, we learn that God leads Israelites on a roundabout path by the sea, rather than a more direct route in order to avoid the Philistines (Exodus 13:17-18).  Why did God lead them on this winding path, we often wonder. In the Talmud, we read a story about Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya, who once met a child sitting by a crossroads and asked which path was shorter. The child said, “This one is short and long. The other is long and short.” Rabbi Yehoshua chose the short long road but found his path blocked by gardens and orchards. He returned to the child and scolded him, “didn’t you tell me this was the short road?” to which the child replied, “But didn’t I tell you that it was also long?” (Babylonian Talmud Eruvin 53b). Given the hectic nature of our lives, it is often tempting to take a shortcut when it’s offered. And yet, a shortcut isn’t always what it seems. While we may reach the end sooner, we miss out on the wisdom and experiences that the longer road provides. We miss critical interactions with people who may shape our perspectives and we sacrifice opportunities to learn new skills that we may need for the road ahead. The short long road may be tempting, but it may not always be the best choice in the long run.  

This special edition of Temple Talk comes from the Omaha World-Herald's "From the Pulpit" series. Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin contributes to this printed series every few months. This is her submission as it appeared in the February 5 edition of the Omaha World-Herald. 

Fri, March 31 2023 9 Nisan 5783