New Years 2018 was our first opportunity to drive a hybrid car, a Ford Fusion Hybrid to be exact. As the Baal Shem Tov taught, and as we are wont to do, here are two life-lessons we learned from our one-day experience driving a Hybrid. Please note that we are by no means hybrid experts and make these observations solely based on our observations and understanding but may be mistaken when it comes to the technology etc.
WHICH DRIVE IS POWERING THE CAR?
The dashboard has some very interesting (distracting?) models and displays, including a feature that tells the driver which power source is powering the car: gas or electric. Often actually, it is a mixture of the two, which results (supposedly) in better gas mileage.
Tanya, the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidic classic, speaks of the two opposing yet complimentary drives within each person, the G-dly soul and the Animal (or human) soul. It can be a great challenge to know which of these two drives are powering our desires and interests at any given time, especially for those gray areas of life that can be confusing.
The hybrid model is a good example of how these two opposing drives can also be complimentary, and how we are often powered by both at the same time, and how the G-dly soul needs the animal (human) soul to cooperate, to be part of the experience for it to be most effective.
ENERGY FROM BRAKING OR SLOWING
One of the most interesting things is how a hybrid engine utilizes expended gas power when slowing or braking to recharge the battery. In conventional cars every time we brake for a red light or to turn or change lines or whatever – we’re wasting the gas that worked up the engine until that point. But not in a hybrid! A large percentage of that “wasted” gas energy during braking or slowing is re-invested away from the engine into recharging the battery.
This has an important Jewish message. Torah’s Mitzvot are divided between “positive” (do) and “negative” (don’t) Mitzvot. It’s far easier to find meaning, inspiration and energy in the DO Mitzvot, whereas the DON’T Mitzvot feel passive and low-energy. But a hybrid car teaches us that there can be energy harvested and utilized even when braking or slowing down! Braking also creates energy!
One more message that an alumnus added (after my sharing this in brief on Twitter): It’s also possible for friction in life to create positive energy.