What I Learned From A Muffler

Rabbi Nebel's Blog Posted on March 17, 2019 by midwesttorah

Did you ever wonder how a seemingly religious person suddenly turns off and starts to live a secular life, abandoning kosher, shabbat, etc? While I’m sure a myriad amount of reasons could be presented, I’d like to present a possible scenario, a lesson, if you will, that I learned from my muffler. I bought a car that has two mufflers. Recently, as my car was being backed up, it hit a snowbank. When I was told about it, I saw that some snow was in one of my mufflers and while I tried to get it out, some was really jammed in it. So I figured that as I drive the heat from the muffler will melt the snow within minutes and I could happily go on my way. To my chagrin, upon coming to my point of destination, I saw that the snow was still in my muffler. Not understanding how that could happen, I decided to touch the muffler, like an item that you’re not sure whether or not it’s hot, only to find it was cold. I surmised that the second muffler was just there for show. As time went on and I had to have my car repaired for something else, the mechanic told me that both of my mufflers were disconnected, as they had rotted out at the connection point. The only thing that was keeping them in place were the brackets. That was fascinating to me. For all intent and purposes, the mufflers looked like they are attached. They were not hanging down, they were where they should be, yet unattached. I asked how quickly I needed to fix them, and if they were a hazard to me. His response was to fix it asap, but that it was not a hazard to me at all…rather to the guy behind me if I should ever hit a bump as it may just slip out. On my way home, attempting to avoid any holes, which is a good practice anyway, I started to think about what he told me and realized that it was a lesson of life. Just because I look connected and engaged, doesn’t mean that I am connected and engaged.
People go through the motions and as a result, most people observing, assume all is fine, because they seem connected. Yet, in reality, the fire is not burning. There may some some dying embers, but for the most part, one is disconnected from the source. The question becomes, is there a way to reconnect them to the source or do we have to just let them fall away? Some have chosen the latter, others the former. What do you think should happen?