19 Tamuz 5779 / Monday, July 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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Sin and Startups    

Sin and Startups

Why is Israel so successful at startups? It has a lot to do with its Jewish makeup. Why is G-d Israeli? Because here everything is negotiable, even sin…


Why is Israel the most successful startup environment on earth? It has a lot to do with its Jewish makeup. Why is G-d Israeli? Because in His Land everything is negotiable, even sin. What is the connection between the average Israeli startup, Torah, and teshuva?




King Solomon states that the righteous fall seven times. They fail numerous times before they accomplish their life's mission. Rabbi Lazer Brody makes it clear: you cannot fail unless you have the guts to do something. It can all be summed up by the greatest startup success. A man who formed his startup in a college dorm, but by his 20s amassed more wealth than any Jew, at that age, since King Solomon himself:


Move fast and break things.


They are all saying the same thing. If you are motivated to do something go for it! True, it could lead to sin. You can take that plum job and get so obsessed with work you begin to neglect your Torah learning, your wife, your children, your prayers, and the rest of your Divine service.


Do it anyway!


Do it because the only way you can live a life of balance is if you live a life out of balance. In Israel we say “Fail quickly.” Better to sin, or make a mistake, get punished by Hashem as a form of education, learn from your mistake, make teshuva and raise your entire life to a higher level than to not do anything at all! In the Holy Land, among secular and religious alike, it is anticipated that we will get it wrong before we get it right so the sooner we start the process, the better.


It was the nation of King Solomon, Rav Shalom Arush and Mark Zuckerberg that said it best:


We will do and we will hear.


The Torah is a chronicle of the Jewish People doing, erring, building on those mistakes, and getting it right. Once we burned down the golden calf we built a Tabernacle. Forty years after we sent spies to scout out the Land under Moses, we did it again under Joshua, and fulfilled Moses' mission by proceeding to enter the Land.


After you burn out over obsessing about a 75 hour work week, and Hashem blesses you with mistakes on the job, a clearly upset wife, and a personal happiness level of almost nothing, you try something new. You learn an additional hour each day. You prepare lunch for the kids and dress them every morning. You promise your wife that at the end of every day you will do the dishes and take out the trash, and twice a week you will be home by 7PM to make her favorite cup of tea and listen to everything she wants to share with you.


Your entire life, and the life of everyone close to you has been sweetened simply because you decided to do something you've never done before.


That’s startup nation in a nutshell. That's the core of the faith of the people who inhabit it. Hashem created a faith where a sin can become a mitzvah. G-d knows the frailty of man. He still permits us to make decisions, knowing that they will lead to sin, for the primary purpose of allowing us to transform them into better decisions, and the darkness into a greater light!


G-d wants us to act. He wants us to do. He wants us to grow in this world. He blesses us with the chance to do exactly what He is counting on: to fail. To learn. To become greater, and to redefine that failure as merely a stepping stone to a greater success. . .

.  . . and that sin as a simply a necessary evil to a greater good.

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