A federal appeals court has overturned a "Passenger Bill of Rights" enacted by the New York legislature. The law was passed in response to lengthy delays on New York runways during the winter of 2006-07, and required airlines to provide food, water and fresh air to passengers stuck on the ground during long delays.

The court ruled that New York's Passenger Bill of Rights conflicts with a federal law that prohibits states from regulating airlines. A patchwork of laws by states and localities would be impractical and harmful to consumer interests. "If New York's view regarding the scope of its regulatory authority carried the day, another state could be free to enact a law prohibiting the service of soda on flights departing from its airports, while another could require allergen-free food options on its outbound flights, unraveling the centralized federal framework for air travel."

The onus is now on the federal government to enact a similar law to be uniformly applied within all the states. The House has already passed such legislation, and now there's hope that this ruling will lead to action in the Senate, too.

My first thought as I read this news item was that, thankfully, the judicial branch has pulled through once again—the system is operating exactly as intended. While the court conceded that the intentions behind the bill were laudable, and the current situation certainly requires redress, nevertheless, good intentions don't always justify behavior.

There are good-intentioned acts that may be wrongly executed, or for which the timing is off. Or, perhaps, I may be the wrong person to tackle this project—it's not my jurisdiction altogether. This is a concept that can be applied to virtually every area of life – business, family, and religion too – and an objective outside observation is needed to determine the proper course of action.

But it occurred to me that this whole episode is perhaps a metaphor for something deeper, too.

After all, we are all travelers; spiritual entities journeying through a terrestrial realm. We have rules that guide and limit us—we all have to buckle our seatbelts and certain potentially dangerous items are banned on board all flights. But each of us also has his or her own needs; and each of us are entitled to a "bill of rights" that addresses them.

To whom do we direct our demands concerning these needs? There are so many bodies that have some sort of jurisdiction over us and seemingly have the ability to provide some or all of our needs—our employers, our spouses, the government, etc.

Well, the US Court of Appeals just ruled that it is the federal government's responsibility. When addressing our basic needs, the buck stops right at the top.

In the words of the Rebbe:

Torah study and the observance of mitzvot are the wedding ring with which G‑d betrothed Israel and obligated Himself to provide them with sustenance and livelihood.

So, we turn right to the Top and ask that You provide the needs of each and every one of us. After all, You put us on this journey.