web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Second Time Around


Share Button

 

Have you ever asked yourself-or anyone else: If you could live your life all over again, what different choices would you make?

 

            Most people-myself included-would answer this question with a slew of situations, big and little that we would handle differently a second, more mature time around. From possibly exchanging the individual they married (ouch!), to choosing a different career path (I always wanted to be an astronaut), from the city or country where they live (Honolulu has fantastic, sunny beaches), the list of things that people would do differently are many.

 

Once, I heard a wise person respond to this question with a slant that caught me totally off guard. “What changes would I make? None. I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

 

Huh? Was he in denial over all his past mistakes? Or was he one of those previously-thought-to-be-non-existent individuals who lead that elusive “perfect” life? Or was he simply too arrogant to learn from his own setbacks to make better choices?

 

Or, perhaps he was truly wiser than most of us. Perhaps he came to a realization that “From G-d, a man’s steps are established” (Psalms 37:23). His destiny was predetermined, his footsteps guided from Above. All those choices he took credit – or discredit – for, were part of G-d’s master-plan.

 

Every decision that “he” made presented him with just the opportunity that he needed. There were no “good” or “bad” choices for him. Ultimately even those situations that were challenging were exactly what he needed in his personal destiny, for his ultimate good.

 

Ever consider that? Imagine how liberating such a perspective would be.

 

But, you ask, what about those decisions you made that really were dreadful. Like the time that you finally stood up to your overbearing Aunt Beatrice and told her precisely what you thought of her advice, only to immediately regret saying what you did, but still causing her not to speak to you for the last two decades since then or the time with your boss, er, former boss-well, you get the picture Or how about regrettable decisions you made in prioritizing your time, not spending enough of it with family and friends?

 

Unlike your job, your spouse, or your city of residence, ethical choices are yours alone. You can’t chalk up those horrid choices to “destiny”-because your loss of composure and resulting behavior was a result of your personal free choice. These are choices that the Torah tells us that we must sincerely regret-that is what teshuvah (repentance) is all about!

 

But here the mystics introduce us to an interesting dichotomy: After we have made those less-than-perfect choices, there is an opportunity for us to exploit these decisions, and even their consequences, for our own benefit. In hindsight – and in hindsight only… – we accept that this is exactly what we needed, at that moment, for our individual spiritual progress. We may have chosen the regrettable path that got us into the bind, but the fact that we now are in a bind, which is ultimately part of His plan-we are intended to use this opportunities for our essential spiritual growth. When properly utilized, these setbacks, and the lessons we take from them, can propel us to incredible heights.

 

So think about your answer to this question. If you could live your life all over again, how would YOU do it?

 

Differently, perhaps.

 

But you don’t get to live life again.

 

So maybe the better question is: If you are living YOUR life today, complete with all the decisions that YOU made, how are you using EVERY one of those decision as an impetus for self-improvement?  

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “The Second Time Around”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Chana Weisberg

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/the-second-time-around/2009/12/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: