Many Americans, myself included, spent much time this past Thursday glued to their TVs, or, as was my case, to their computers, watching, praying and hoping that there would be a happy ending to the passenger plane that landed in the Hudson River in New York. Indeed it did.

Try to picture the fear experienced, and the elation that followed, by all parties. For many Americans, the immediate thought was: Uh oh, here we go again, another terrorist attack... For the passengers on board the flight, this could only have been the most surreal moment of their lives, wondering whether they'd live to tell the tale.

I must imagine, however, that more than anyone else, this was most frightening for the pilot. The knowledge that not only was his own life in his hands, but the lives of over 150 others was dependent on his quick thinking and skillful decision making and maneuvering, is more than I can contemplate.

The pilot reached beyond not only his norm, but the norm of anyone before himAnd yet, miracles of miracles: a decision was made and executed, and we can all breathe easier because G‑d was gracious once again and everything ended well.

As a follower of Chassidic thought, I am taught to find the message or lesson in every event in life, including and especially current news events.

According to news reports I've seen, the pilot was instructed to try to make it to a nearby airport, some fifteen miles away, rather than try to return to LaGuardia. Communications being down, and that option being uncertain at best and risking the lives of those on board the plane and many more on the ground if there wasn't enough lift to get them to that airport, the pilot had another thought. He decided that he would attempt to do something that was rarely if ever successfully done previously with a commercial airliner, and make a successful water landing.

[In December 2002, The Economist quoted an expert as claiming that "No large airliner has ever made an emergency landing on water" in an article that goes on to charge, "So the life jackets...have little purpose other than to make passengers feel better." This claim was repeated in The Economist in September 2006 in an article which reported that "in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero..."]

The pilot had to ensure that the plane doesn't break up in pieces on impact, and hope and pray that there would be enough sea vessels nearby to save the stranded passengers before the frigid air and water snuffed the lives of the survivors.

The pilot reached beyond not only his norm, but the norm of anyone before him, and decided that he needed to do the undoable. He strove for higher and he succeeded.

The lesson is so clear and has such clear application to us all. Very often in life we find ourselves in a situation were we are seemingly faced with no good options. Particularly now, with the crisis in the Middle East, financial meltdown, the more personal challenges of loss of loved ones and health etc., we often feel like throwing our hands up in the air and crying, "I have no good options so I will just give up, or pick the better of the two (or more) bad options, curl up in a ball and cry, or worse.

Yet here we see a perfect example of what Chassidism holds to be a basic axiom: there is always, always, another better option. To think outside the box, reach higher and further than one might ordinarily contemplate. Do the undoable, accomplish the unthinkable, make a genuine effort at doing more than was previously imaginable and ask G‑d to fill in the blanks when mankind's efforts come up short. When we have that kind of bitachon, that kind of faith, Kabbalah teaches that we open up completely new channels of Divine energy that allows a completely different, and better, reality to enter our realm of possibilities.

That is what that pilot did. He gave it his best effort and G‑d, the Master of the universe, rewarded his efforts by opening a new and uncharted channel of Divine participation and brought a happy ending to what could have been a catastrophe of major proportions.

Reach high. Reach for the sky. Because "nothing stands in the way of our will."

Thank you to Rabbi Daniel Moskowitz for planting the seed that led to this article.