Moishey and his family were traveling up to Montreal for a week to visit their cousins. This was the first time they were making the long trip to Canada.
"Don't worry," Uncle Shmuel had said on the phone. "The highways are marked well. Just follow the signs according to my directions and you'll have no trouble at all."
Uncle Shmuel was right. Every turnoff was marked with clear signs, and this made the long trip much easier.
The highways Moishey and his family used are all modern, but road signs are not a modern invention. In this week's parshah, Parshas Shoftim, we read about road signs which HaShem commanded the Jewish people to erect. These signs were put up on the roads to the orei miklat, the cities of refuge.
What are the orei miklat, and who is supposed to live in these cities?
The Torah teaches us that a person who accidentally causes another person to die should be protected. In their sorrow or anger, the dead person's relatives might want to take revenge and harm the person who accidentally killed their relative. The Torah provides protection for that person and instructs him to flee quickly to one of the cities of refuge.
Once he was in the city, the person was protected from harm. There he would do teshuvah, improve his conduct, and ask HaShem that he never be the cause of tragic events again. The Torah tells us to clearly mark the signs on the road that lead to the city.
Our sages teach us, Divrei Torah koltim - the words of the Torah are just like the cities of refuge. When a person does something wrong or he causes something bad to happen, he should turn to the Torah. Studying Torah will help him do teshuvah and better his ways, helping to protect him from evil and harm.
Not everyone knows that studying Torah protects and guides a person, and not everyone knows how and where to study the Torah. If we think back to those signs on the road to the cities of refuge which helped people to get there quickly and easily, we can understand that "signs" leading to Torah study would be a good idea.
Yet what should we write on those signs? And where should we put them?
The answer is simple! Every Jew can be a walking sign - a living example that directs others to the Torah. The way we talk, dress, and play - and everything else we do is a living sign that shows how the Torah guides us. When other people see how we live our lives, they will seek to find their own way to the Torah.
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 623)