My Tough Decision

Yesterday I made an agonizing but correct choice.

As you probably are aware, I have been working on strengthening my arm so I could drive my power chair!


Let me tell you that this has been an exercise with much blood sweat and tears.

Unfortunately this process has yielded limited positive results 😦

Just last week I told my physiotherapist with a determined and  tear soaked face that, “I will never give up!”.

There was silence after my outburst. I’ve said those words so many times during the past 5 years to stimulate success!

I later found out that my wife left the room in tears. The reason for this will become clear soon.

My outburst came on the heels of a discussion about alternatives to driving with my hand, such as head controls to maneuver the chair. Considering the proficiency with which I had driven before my hospitalization, I felt I could get back to that place.  As well, I viewed not driving with albeit limited movement in my hand as a loss of my independence.  Please understand that my independence is something that’s very precious to me!!

Following a few more failed attempts, I found myself at a crossroad.

Should I keep with my dream no matter how long it would take, or was there a compelling reason to forgo on my dream?

If you know me, the reason to forgo would have to be pretty compelling!

After much soul searching and serious discussion with my wife, we decided to forgo on our dream.

The reason for which was because we discovered the true priority in my life.

After nearly dying last summer, I attained a sharper focus on what life is all about.

If I am in this world, I want to live my life to the fullest!  That might mean sacrificing a personal goal for a better outcome.

I want to spend time with my family on outings just like we used to! I want to fully participate in my family’s lives and not have to stay home and miss out!

If I spend the warm Ottawa months practicing to drive on my own,  I will necessarily miss out on a meaningful period of my children’s  lives.

This is my priority!

But I must realistically admit that it comes at a great personal price.

I cherish any independence that I can muster!  Life has become  a huge loss of  my independence.  So anything that I can do on my own is so precious for me !

Therefore it pains me emotionally to not drive myself.

The linchpin is that my power-chair weights 400 pounds!  And my family and caregivers actually have had to push this monstrous chair around the house so long that I could not drive it myself.

In short,  I took a look at the high price I`d be paying by my extended learning curve and I decided that life is too short.

As well,  I did not want to be a burden on others.

In all of our lives,  we will find ourselves at a cross road that necessitates us to make tough choice.

We can do the convenient or desired thing,  or we can choose the right thing.

Lets hope that we have the wherewithal to make the right choices for us and our families!





  1. Adam Moscoe · · Reply

    Thank you Rabbi Simes — this was difficult to read, but ultimately inspiring thanks to your remarkable courage to prioritize. Shabbat Shalom to you and the whole family.

    1. Nice to hear from you, Adam! I wish you and your wonderful family the same!

  2. Zachary Muroff · · Reply

    As usual your words inspire me so much! Have a wonderful Shabbos.

    1. You too, my tefellin man!

  3. Micah Shotkin · · Reply

    WOW! That leaves me speachless and in tears. You are the man! I wish I could do that! n Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    1. I know you can when the opportunity comes!

  4. Rina Lederman · · Reply

    Wow I’m soo glad that I don’t have to make such difficult decisions.

  5. Janet Kaiman · · Reply

    rabbi , you are the most courageous and thoughtful person i have ever met,,,shabbat shalom

    1. I appreciate those sentiments!

  6. יהודית ניומן · · Reply

    What ever you decide will be the right decision. It was hard to understand what your decision was, but I understood that you’re going to give up on driving your chair with your arm and drive with your head. Did I understand you right? I think that using you head is a great idea, and I don’t understand why using your head means giving up on your arms. Can’t you get a chair that will be maneuvered by head movements, and then if your arms improve enough, you can go back to using that chair? Why is this an all or nothing decision? You are amazing Yehuda! Don’t let the decision to use your head to maneuver your chair make you feel less confident in yourself and your abilities. You are so motivated and such a hard worker, I’m sure it is no negative reflection on your motivation or work. Does using your head to maneuver mean you will be any less able to get around independently? If not, then of course that is the way to go. Can’t wait to see you and speak with you soon! Love, Judy

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Your point about the head controlled chair is well taken. But I wont be going that route because learning and practicing would take up the precious few Ottawa summer months. My goal is to be able to get out in the sunshine before the snow and cold comes. I would also gain the various physio strengthening exercises now that my time will be freed up. So the manual wheelchair will have to do until the dreaded winter comes, Then I will go back practicing driving with my hand again.

  7. Zev Singer · · Reply

    Having the emunah and the courage to follow Hashem’s will is the real “driving force” behind Rabbi Simes.

    1. You too, my friend, you too! Lets keep rolling along the bumps in the road!

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