Honorable Mensch-ion

Good Mistakes

The Maggid of Yerushalayim would tell a story of a father who complained bitterly that his son had joined a yeshiva. “How could he do this to me?” he lamented. “My parents were religious and I was smart enough to move away from all of that. I brought my son up in a totally irreligious manner and now, of all places, he decides to go to a yeshiva?! Why can’t he be like me?” he complained to the Rabbi.

The Rabbi turned to the father and said, “But he has! He’s grown up just like you. You disregarded what your parents taught you and he disregarded what you taught him. Your boy is just like you . . .”

History has a funny way of repeating itself. When we look upon our personal journeys of Torah, do we learn from the achievements or from the mishaps of those who came before us.The composer John Powell writes, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

The Torah is full of mistakes by our ancestors. They take wrong turns on their way to the Land. Leaders utter the wrong words to their constituents. Parents make the wrong decisions with their children. And yet, without those trials, tribulations, and wrong decisions along the way, we would not be the strong, determined, courageous people we are today. The biggest mistakes often lead to the greatest achievements. May we be blessed with mistakes that guide us to new heights in the days ahead.

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