Welcome to being human

Wednesday, 28 December, 2022 - 1:48 pm

We all make mistakes. 

We say something we shouldn't have and unintentionally hurt someone we love. It happens that I send a solicitation email and forget to exclude those who asked to be marked "No fundraising" and I frustrate them. We drink too much at a party and feel we can't show our face. We sell our brother and are embarrassed to stand in front of him.

It's not ok to do any of these things. However, doing most of them are human and normal. Mistakes are natural.

The problem begins when we feel shame and embarrassment. When we define ourselves by the wrong thing we did. You made a mistake? Apologize, commit to trying to avoid a repeat performance and don’t allow the mistake to be a source of shame.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read how Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. Following his disclosure, he tells them: אַל־תֵּעָ֣צְב֗וּ, usually translated as don't be sad or don't wrestle. Joseph was telling his brothers that G-d has a plan, and your mistake is part of the plan. There is no need to wrestle anymore about what you did. Joseph continues to say that he understood that their mistake was in order "for it to preserve life that G-d sent me before you."

We should not allow our mistakes to be a source of shame. You made a mistake? OK! Apologize and try not to do it again. You are a good person who made a mistake.

Welcome to being human! Get rid of the shame.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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