May 20, 2019

A Moment in Time: Do You Use Your Car Blinkers When You are in the Middle of Nowhere?

Dear all,

I recently found myself at a small intersection. (It was not quite as rural as the one pictured. I am using this for dramatic effect!)

As I approached the crossroad, I instinctively activated the car blinker for the right-hand turn.

There were no cars, it seemed, within miles. And it dawned on me: “Why use the blinkers when no one is around?” Well, I learned in driving school that I am supposed to. But really?


This same question has implications in so many areas of our lives:

Do we do the right thing, even if no one will ever know it?
Do we do the wrong thing, even if we can get away with it?
Do we make time to pray , even when we aren’t with a community who will see our reverence?
Is our radar generally on? Are we aware of how our movements impact others around us?

There’s a teaching from Rabbi Ben Azai in the Mishna: “Doing one Mitzvah leads to doing another.” A Mitzvah is a commandment. Loosely translated, however, it means “doing the right thing.” When we get into the habit of doing the right thing, even when no one is around, it leads us to doing the right thing in other times of our lives.

And sometimes, life is about doing the right thing at any given moment in time – not so that others will notice – but just because it is the right thing to do.

With love and shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro


A change in perspective can shift the focus of our day – and even our lives.  We have an opportunity to harness “a moment in time,” allowing our souls to be both grounded and lifted.  This blog shows how the simplest of daily experiences can become the most meaningful of life’s blessings.  All it takes is a moment in time.
Rabbi Zach Shapiro is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Akiba, a Reform Jewish Congregation in Culver City, CA.  He earned his B.A. in Spanish from Colby College in 1992, and his M.A.H.L. from HUC-JIR in 1996.  He was ordained from HUC-JIR – Cincinnati, in 1997.