Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Virtue of Failure

Have you ever failed at something that left you feeling really deflated? Have you had your share of setbacks and disappointments? If you have, then you are like everyone in life. There is no one since the beginning of time until the very moment that you are reading this blog that has not failed at something. The question is, how do we react to our failures? Do we wallow in self-pity and despair? Have we fallen down that it is it too hard to get up? Or is it possible to somehow transform a failure into a positive experience?

I think there is a great lesson in this weeks parsha that speaks to this idea. The Torah articulates the 42 stops the Jewish people made along the way from Egypt into the Land of Israel over the course of their 40 year journey. Why was it necessary for the Torah to repeat all the times they stopped at a 7-11 along the way? Rashi explains this with a parable. There once was a king who had a very ill son. They traveled to a faraway land to seek the assistance of a well-known physician. They finally reached their destination and with G-D's help -- the child was cured from this deadly disease. On the way home, the king pointed out to his son all the difficulties that took place along the route to the destination. 

Rashi applies this lesson to the parsha. Now that we had reached the final destination -- the border of the Holy Land, G-d was pointing out all of our failures as well. This is where we had the Golden calf, the story of the Spies, Korach etc.

We were being reminded of our failures because it is precisely because of our failures that we were able to become successful. The people transformed the setbacks and disappointments into learning experiences for the future.

There was once a basketball player who said this about his career. "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

This player is Michael Jordan -- the greatest player of all time.

Enough Said.

Please share your thoughts.

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