13 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, October 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
 
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A Second Chance at Life    

A Second Chance at Life



There is no such thing as a life that cannot be turned around for the better. I am testimony that there is always a second chance at life!

 



I sat on the couch in my house, reading The Garden of Emuna for the umpteenth time. I was in the middle of a painful divorce, and I was reeling. I felt like I was carrying an elephant on my shoulders from all the strain I was under in every area of my life. Reading The Garden of Emuna was the natural way to unwind from the hard day at work and at home, preparing me for my hour of personal prayer. I like to say that if the Torah is compared to water, then emuna is air! For sure, you need water/Torah every day, preferably multiple times through the day - but air – you can’t make it one second without it. Emuna was definitely my air during those challenging times, as it is now. I literally felt like I was coming up for air during my nightly sessions with the book. 

 

As I was reading on that particular day, I got to a section dealing with repentance. The focus was on the fact that there is no despair at all in the world! If you believe you can break, then believe that you can repair! Repent, fix the mistakes you made, strengthen your emuna and Hashem will turn your mistakes into strengths! G-d will fix it all, so that the seeming mistake will now be a stepping stone which takes you to your true purpose in life!  

 

I broke into tears. What? With all the serious mistakes I had made which landed me in the pit I was in, there was really a way out? Not just a way out that would bring me back to zero – just crawling out of the pit. But a way out that would actually specifically put me on the right path, finally? 

 

I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was one big, walking X – failure. I was now a young divorcee, I had been laid off my job in the middle of a downturn, my house was underwater, and my entire social network had been decimated. I had basically no life, almost no friends, and a shred of a community, and most of the people I knew thought I was the Wicked Witch of the West. And from this wreckage, I could still get to my destiny? In the midst of such negative, I had hoped just to get to zero – and here, Rabbi Arush is telling me that I can actually become a “plus”? Is such a thing possible? 

 

Yes, such a thing is possible. With emuna, anything and everything is possible. G-d created the World and He re-creates it every day and every moment. Rabbi Arush explains that an hour of personal prayer a day, including a serious accounting of your actions that day, is called teshuva m’ahava  repentance from love. Unlike repentance from fear which only wipes away your sins (which still ain’t bad!), repentance from love, from a true desire to serve G-d properly and fully, from a desire to come closer to G-d – your sins become merits! In function, that means that the mistake is no longer a mistake – because you used it to come closer to G-d than you would have been otherwise. This corresponds into the physical world as well – Hashem now uses the mistake as a springboard to bring you back onto your path in life! 

 

I prayed. I begged G-d from the bottom of my heart to enable this to become me. I pleaded that one day I would look back and see all the mistakes that I made, and how far I veered from the path, and know that it actually was just a yerida l’shem aliya  a fall for the sake of going up. I believed Harav Arush that it was possible, but I really was hanging by a string that it could really happen to me. 

 

It not only happened to me, it happened to me HUGE! To the point that now, I wish I could go back to myself, sitting on the floor of my old house bawling, and tell myself: “Get up and dance, girl! G-d is doing huge things for you! He will save you, and oh will He save you! Everything will work out and you will use the lessons you learned from all these mistakes to build the life of your dreams, and a life of meaning! Don’t cry! Dance and say ‘thank you Hashem!” 

 

Don’t think I am some wonder. It’s true that I did my best to repent. Besides fixing some big, glaring mistakes I had made in not following Jewish law properly which directly influenced me into that mistake marriage, I learned through the entire process humility. Specifically, the humility to recognize that I don’t know what is best for me! I don’t know what to do with my life! I thought that this was my soul mate, I thought I knew the best career for me, I thought I knew where I wanted to live, etc. etc. And it was all WRONG! Hashem had mercy on me and let me go the way I wanted, so that I could watch it all blow up in my face, in order for me to learn this important life lesson well before I even turned 30. Only G-d knows our soul, and therefore only G-d can lead us in the right path for us – and we just need to turn to Him and want for Him to lead us in on our path, without being willful for something in particular.  

 

From the time that I got that lesson, and just came to Hashem in prayer saying: “Whatever you want, G-d! You know what You are doing, much better than I know! I am sure that what You want for me is a zillion times better than whatever I want for myself! I don’t want anything! 

 

As the Israelis say, yo yo yo  YO did Hashem give me a zillion times better than what I ever dreamed of for myself, especially in spirituality. And specifically because of what I went through, and more importantly what I learned from it all, I was now open to letting Hashem put me back on the right path for me.  

 

This is exactly the lesson of Pesach Sheni – there is always a second chance! There is no “missed the boat”! If Hashem could get me out of the mess I was in and send me a new and much improved life, even with all the “handicaps” that I received from the mistakes I made – He can certainly do it for anyone else! I am testimony to the fact that with emuna and repentance ANYTHING is possible.  

 

Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t think you are stuck wherever you are. The most important thing is just: Don’t wait any longer to connect to Hashem and give yourself a second chance at life! 

 

 

Pesach Sheni is the anniversary of the passing of the tzaddik Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess (Worker of Miracles). Listen to the encouraging words of Rabbi Arush about the tzaddik's power to work huge salvations and overcome all obstacles.

 





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