A Bisl Torah

Head Towards The Exit

A wonderful colleague of mine is leaving for the east coast. We decided to sit down and conduct “exit interviews.” An exit interview is usually a chance to explain the positives of an organization and offer suggestions for improvement, helping the next person that takes the vacant position to flourish and grow. It allows supervisors and peers to look inside themselves and determine where and when they have been an exemplary employee and where they fall short.

Because this colleague and I have been friends and co-workers for seven years, the “exit interview” became much more. We were able to discuss our rabbinates, some of our dreams, our fears for the future, where we know we personally and professionally make mistakes and how we hope to do better. It was one of the few times where someone shared with me real areas that I need to work on without either of us feeling inferior or threatened. It became clear how important it is to find someone in life, someone outside of family or marriage, that can help you look in a mirror and periodically find your strengths and identify your faults.

I think we both left the conversation feeling lifted by our trust, mutual admiration, and desire to see the other succeed. Perhaps it is because we labeled it an “exit interview” in which we felt so open. But then, why can’t all of us head towards the “exit” more often? Though we may feel vulnerable and exposed, think of the possibilities that appear when we allow someone to help us reveal where and when we can do better.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks reminds us, “We have an almost infinite capacity for interpreting the facts to vindicate ourselves.” He uses the Talmud to convey this idea. Bekhorot 38b explains, “No one can see his own blemishes, his own impurities.” Which means we need someone else to conduct our exit interview.

Whether or not we are leaving a job or just adjusting through life’s everyday details, it is a gift to look inward, to grow. May we all be blessed to find someone that can help us to do just that, reaching further towards the divine persona God wishes for each of us.

Shabbat Shalom 

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