Best Plan

A helicopter landing-pad was once as far from being a generic household item as could possibly be. But that may soon change. OK, not for full-grown helicopters. But, still, it has vertical take-off and landing and certainly at least as much agility as the traditional choppers. The fact that they call them drones doesn’t make them any less impressive, does it? Although, if they would have asked me, I would have suggested something with a bit more pizzazz. Maybe something like micro-copter or mini-flash. Be that as it may, Amazon’s full-throttle-ahead push towards drastically cutting down on delivery times via the use of delivery drones — the service is called “Amazon PrimeAir,” with the little smiley arrow of course (now that’s a lot catchier than “drone delivery,” isn’t it, although I think they would have done better with just “AmazonAir”) — will likely make drone landing pads a ubiquitous feature of households across the country (world?) in the not-too-distant future. At least, that is, households that have some area where they can roll out the Amazon logo-adorned landing mat that serves as a homing beacon of sorts for the delivery drone. A solution for apartment complexes and townhouses that don’t have backyards — while certainly in the cooker of Amazon’s think tank — has not made a public debut yet, even in the what’s-up-next news sources such as Popular Mechanics (kudos to them, though, for their Feb. 19 article about the Amazon PrimeAir bit).

Technology momentarily aside, let’s try to think about this from the human point of view — specifically, the “What’s in it for me?” factor. Or, why is Amazon pushing so hard for this? How much do they stand to gain in terms of delivery time reduction? Well, next-day and same-day deliveries are already in widespread use by many sales companies. And Amazon already has a within-one-hour delivery option in a number of major U.S. cities. But, apparently, that’s just not good enough. Consumers want their goods, and they want it now! So how quick will PrimeAir make it? Thirty minutes! Yes, the fastest delivery time will be improved upon by a whole half hour. Of course, it stands to improve more and more as time goes on and technology gets better. But, for the time being, that’s it. From one hour to 30 minutes.

This should give us reason to pause and ponder, shouldn’t it? We Westerners (as in Western culture) have gotten mighty impatient, haven’t we? I won’t go into how much havoc that worldview can have on our characters, because it’s obvious and has already been addressed time and again. What I would like to point out, in the context of the Yom Tov which is just around the corner, is that leaving Mitzrayim demanded the exact opposite. A whole lot of patience was necessary if you wanted to make it out of there. The men, Chazal tell us, at some point or another were ready to give up. They just couldn’t hold out any longer and were going to surrender all hope of ever being extricated from that gehinnom on Earth. This would have undoubtedly hammered the final nail in the coffin of the Jewish nation, effectively stamping out the fledgling nation before it even had a chance to emerge into the world.

The women, though, did not cave. From where they drew their emotional strength to carry on — not just in the day-to-day, but even in terms of our national perpetuity — is something I have wondered about for many years. For lack of a better solution to this mystery, I figure that this must be some inherent strength with which Hashem has endowed women, much like their enigmatic ability (to us men, that is) to undergo what looks like an excruciatingly tasking process of childbirth, and to undergo it again and again, willingly and with joy!

So, yes, we had to wait an awfully long time to be redeemed. But, then, when it was time to go, we could not take a moment to wait even had we wanted to. We were rushed out of there so expeditiously that we could not give our dough enough time to rise and it had to be baked as matzah! And matzah is a very interesting item, embodying, as it does, both slavery and freedom at the same time. It’s the “poor man’s bread,” as we call it in the Haggadah, which recalls for us the bondage and slavery. And it is also the very item that symbolizes our freedom, reminding us about that glorious moment — for which we had to wait so very long — in which Hakadosh Baruch Hu delivered us from the darkness of slavery into the light of emancipation.

The point, in our context, is that it’s important — perhaps even critical — to recognize that Fast and Good are not necessarily synonymous. Western culture markets a world in which convenience and instant gratification are the barometers of Good. But that is patently, well, not true. We live in the Ribbono shel Olam’s world, not Amazon’s or Google’s world, and the Ribbono shel Olam has a plan for each and every one of us that transcends whatever whimsical notions may be fluttering through our minds at any given moment. It’s a plan that is there for us to achieve something bigger, something greater. Sometimes that plan calls for waiting — perhaps even a very long time — and sometimes that plan calls for a mad-dash rush, with not a moment to spare for catching your breath. But one thing is for sure: Wherever you may find yourself, whether it be waiting, rushing, or otherwise, it is most certainly Good, because it is being orchestrated by Hashem.