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Failure is part of Success

Thursday, 20 November, 2014 - 8:00 am

I write this as I head to NY for the Kinus Hashluchim - the annual conference for Chabad Rabbis around the world.

Getting together with other Rabbis, we learn from each other’s successes and failures. At the same time, we get the opportunity to reflect on our own successes and failures.

Thank G-d there are many blessings in the life and the work of a Chabad Rabbi. A Rabbi's desire is that the blessings should be noticeable. What about when there is failure? Is there blessing in the failures? At the Kinus, one of the things we learn is that "failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it", attributed to Arianna Huffington of the huffington post.

We see this in the blessings of Yitzchak (Issac) to Yaakov (Jacob). The language used is Vayiten - and G-d will give.  The commentaries learn that the seemingly extra word "and" implies that He will give more than once. When we do good deeds, we are creating light and goodness in the world. When we make a mistake and do something wrong, G-d gives us the opportunity to receive again (and more than the conventional way), it is an opportunity to change darkness to light, causing a greater illumination.

For example, conventionally - a Jew cannot elevate non-kosher food to a holy status. However, when a Jew chooses to take on Kosher as a commitment of love, known as “teshuvah mahavah", the non-kosher food of the past is then elevated to a holy status. This is through an experience known as "zedonot naaseh kezachiyot" - advertent errors become merits.  Or, in the words of Arianna Huffington: Failure is not the opposite of success it is part of it.

Have a restful Shabbos,


Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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