The first human being to successfully glide through the air with man-made wings was a German Jew by the name of Otto Lilienthal, the man who Wilbur Wright called, "the father of aviation."

While enjoying the beauty of the Baja California coastline, my children and I spotted two giant birds frolicking together by a cliff. "No Dad," one said, "those are not birds." We watched in jealous wonder as the two defeated gravity for at least two hours, eventually landing on the sandy beach.

I always tell my kids, "You can learn from books, but real learning is from being a nudnik." So we ran over to the people-birds to nudnik. That's how I learned the lesson of this week's episode. As they put it, "It would be nice to get lost in the flow of air, the thrill of flight. But you can't do that—if you did, it would probably be your last flight. Instead, while you glide upward, downward and all around, you're always glancing down, saying "There's my place to land. But if not there, I can always do that other spot."

The Talmud tells of four wise men who meditated upon the mystic names of G‑d and entered into Paradise. One went insane, another's soul expired, a third underwent a dark transformation to become a heretic. Only one, Rabbi Akiva, "entered in peace and left in peace."

The Talmud is careful in choosing it's words, providing us not just a story but a lesson. Why was Rabbi Akiva alone able to leave in peace? Because he entered in peace. The Rebbe explained: The others entered in disharmony between their own body and soul, therefore heaven and earth were for them also in conflict. They were forced to choose one or the other, or fall into insanity. All except for Rabbi Akiva. When he entered, he looked below and said, "Where am I going to land?" How will this journey through heaven help me in my journey on earth?"

The current record for long distance hand gliding is 705 kilometers, about the distance from Toronto to NY.