There’s Always the Tow Truck

towtruck.jpgHas your car ever broken down? No matter which car you drive, sometimes (and hopefully it will be a very rare occurrence) the car is not working, it just won’t drive.

So you take it to the mechanic. And he looks it over and diagnoses the problem. Sometimes he can fix it with something as routine as changing the car battery. Other times it may be more serious and the engine will need replacing. Yet other times the car will be so far gone that it is totaled. It needs to be towed to the scrap yard and it’s time to start again and buy a new car.

If the car needs to be fixed or even replaced, it boils down to money. Do we harp over the lost car and how sad it is that it needs to be laid to rest or do we focus on getting a new car? Is there a point in crying over spilt milk, or over broken cars? The only thing that may bother us is the cost involved, but there is no doubt what we should do. Go fix the car or replace it!

This reminds me of what we read about in this week’s Parsha of Ki Sisa. Moshe Rabeinu comes down the mountain with the Ten Statements that G‑d had engraved on the two tablets. But alas, when Moshe arrives back in the camp he finds the people having a party. They are worshiping a false G‑d – the golden calf. And Moshe throws down the tablets and they shatter on the ground. The tablets that had been received from Hashem are no more.

Moshe tells the people off for the terrible thing that they had done, but the next morning Moshe ascends the mountain to have a meeting with G‑d. He implores Hashem to forgive the people and accept their repentance. Eventually Moshe succeeds in making the case that the Jews deserve another chance. Sure enough Hashem agrees to have a second set of tablets prepared (Moshe himself prepares it) and Hashem will inscribe the Ten Commandments a second time.

Sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes we fail. When this happens there are two choices. We can allow the mistake or the failing to define us, “I am so ashamed of the things that I have done and therefore I am never going to measure up.” Or we can admit that we made a mistake, clean up the mess, pick up the pieces and get back on the road.

There is a great gift that Hashem gave us in this week’s portion; it is called repentance and forgiveness. This is a great novelty, because for many things in this world there isn’t always a second chance. Whether it is a plane crash or a house burned in a fire - the deed is done. Even if the car can get fixed, the broken part of the car is still discarded.

And yet when we make a mistake that affects our relationship with Hashem there is a second chance. So too in relationships with other people, there is the chance to make amends and repair the hurt. This should be cause for great joy, knowing that we get a second chance to fix the mistakes that we may have made in the past. Even if they are as extreme as the worshiping idols – which in Judaism is one of the three cardinal sins.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we should become careless about our behavior, thinking that we can always fix up the mistakes, so it doesn’t matter. But we should know that when we do mess up, that doesn’t define who we are. We can fix it and start over.

Let’s drink to that! Lechaim!

Shabbat shalom