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Jan. 28, 2022

Heated Car Seats (Mishpatim)

So, there I was, when all of a sudden, I received a phone call from my wife. “You want to hear something crazy?” she asked. A bit nervous, I asked her, “What do you mean? What happened?” She told me something I will never forget, “Our car has heated seats!”

My wife happened to have been giving a ride to my brother-in-law in our car, and he was kind enough to point out that the car had heated seats that were not being utilized.

You see, my wife and I got a new car in the summer, and we had absolutely no idea that there was an option to heat the seats. It wasn’t on our radar; it wasn’t on our minds. Little did we know that there was a simple button right next to the seat that would turn on the heated seats. Oh, and did I mention, this story took place in middle of the winter. You can do the math, but that means that for half the winter, we were freezing simply because we didn’t know about the heated seats.

My friends, there is such an important mussar that we can learn from this story. How often in life do we neglect to do things simply because we are unaware of our inner strengths? How often do we hold our selves back from achieving greatness simply because we don’t realize that the greatness already exists inside of us? How often do we fail to bring out our true potential simply because we don’t know how lofty our potential actually is?

The heated seats existed the entire time, but so long that we didn’t know about it, what use were they? The number one key in life is דעת, knowledge. Simple knowledge of the true facts is crucial and fundamental for us to be able to accomplish in life. If we knew that we already have internal greatness, wouldn’t we hold back from doing things we shouldn’t, saying certain things we shouldn’t, and thinking about certain things we shouldn’t? If we knew that our potential is incredible, wouldn’t we be stronger in our conviction to do the right thing? If we realized how unique and talented each of us are, wouldn’t we accomplish so much more?

The first step to becoming a better person is the understanding, knowledge, and realization that becoming a better person is within grasp. The “heated seats” are right here. Utilize them. Don’t ignore them. The only person you are hurting is yourself if you neglect to use that which is in your personal tool box of life.

According to Rashi (21:6), the core problem of the עבד עברי – Jewish bondsman – who decided to stay with his human master, is that instead of being a direct servant to Hashem, he would now be a “servant to a servant.” In other words, by having a human master who himself is a servant of Hashem, that would make the עבד עברי one step removed from Hashem.

Ideally, we are not meant to be one step removed from Hashem. We are supposed to connect and relate directly to Him, no in-betweens, no intermediaries, and no agents. Our holy souls are a piece of Hashem Himself, and we have to realize that this exists. Once we realize and are aware of this deep and direct connection that we have with Hashem, then we are in position to utilizing this tool to become the greatest people that we can possibly become.

Have a holy Shabbos!