Growing up, my husband dreamed of riding in the Tour de France. He trained for years, investing hours a day, with an incredible focus and dedication. He rode against the best. He lost against the best. And then, in the final race which would determine who would be able to ride in the Tour, he missed the cutoff.


Fortunately, my husband’s talents are far and wide, and riding was only one of them. Because he didn’t pursue biking professionally, it allowed him to discover a love for philosophy that led to a love for Torah learning, and now he is a world-renowned rabbi and expert on Kabbalah and chassidic philosophy. But every year, until recently, he would watch the Tour and comment on how many of the riders he knew, how many he had raced with, how many he had lost against.

After all these years, the truth finally came outAnd then, after all these years, the truth finally came out. It was never a fair competition to begin with. He was racing against dopers. He was racing against some of the fastest riders in the world, who made themselves unbeatable through the use of performance-enhancement drugs.

My husband has never had more than a sip of alcohol in his life. He has never smoked a cigarette. Needless to say, he never, ever would have agreed to doping.

Looking back, it is hard to know if he would have made the cutoff for the Tour had the other riders that did been drug-free. It is impossible to know if they were truly even on drugs during that particular race. But it is a question he will always ask himself.

I am grateful he never made that team. I am grateful that he never became a professional cyclist. If he had, our lives would have gone a very different way. We all know that every decision we make moves us in a certain direction, and wherever one foot goes, the other is going to follow. No matter how we step, there are never guarantees. And we should question if we are moving in the right direction, or if perhaps we should retrace those steps, or even leap somewhere else.

While hindsight is 20/20, our understanding of the present is limited. Our only guide is heading in the direction where we want to eventually land, and making honest choices to get there. The Alter Rebbe, the first rebbe of the Chabad movement, teaches us that in life there are two paths, the shorter longer way or the longer shorter way.

Rarely are there true shortcuts in life. The diet that promises that you will lose 10 pounds in a week is at best false advertisement, and at worse a dangerous starvation method that will likely cause even more weight gain in the future. The great deal on something discounted much more than any other store is most likely not the real deal. We want to get ahead, we want to succeed, we want to win . . . but we need to ensure that we not cheat ourselves or others along the way.

It is hard to know if he would have made the cutoff for the Tour had the other riders that did been drug-freeWhat is so sad about this systematic doping revelation is that it not only destroys the reputations and records or those who were found guilty, but that we now have to wonder who the real winners were: who were the deserving athletes who trained so hard and never received their recognition? By the “winners” attempting to take the shorter road, they forced everyone else onto the longer road. But the longer road is really the only road. And ultimately, is the truly shorter one.

Nothing can take back what has happened. But the lesson can, hopefully, teach and inspire us to recognize that our long road is really shorter than it seems. And as long as we are being truthful, moral, and ensuring our actions are not hurtful to ourselves or others, we should move ahead confidently and enjoy the view along the way.

And while my husband never did have the chance to ride in the Tour, he now has the chance to ride with our four children . . . and that is most definitely the road he wants to be on!