Elul Reflections 10 – September 1

Cantorial Soloist Jenna Sagan

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend a baseball game with my congregation’s brotherhood. With thousands of my fellow passionate Angels fans, we cheered and clapped as our team scored run after run. At one point, the opposing team’s catcher made an error, allowing our runner to score. As the crowd went wild, my clergy partner, Rabbi David Young, remarked, “Fascinating..in this sport we get so excited when the other team makes a mistake…”

It got me thinking…as we approach the high holy days (lovingly referred to by many clergy as our spiritual olympics), what does it mean to cheer for other’s mistakes? Do we make proper teshuvah when we delight in the errors of others? Do we give those who have made mistakes the time to reach out to us and make teshuvah?

This Elul, I’m remembering that failure is the greatest of all teachers. Failure allows us the opportunity to reflect, and grow as we look towards the future. Yes, I do in fact believe that we should delight in the failure of others; not for what those failures might do to improve our own personal development, but what they can do for our interpersonal and intrapersonal spiritual development. I will be taking this Elul to personally reflect on my failures as well as my successes, looking towards the future with the goal of rejoicing in the prospect of a brand new year. What opportunities could your future hold if you approached those that you might have failed this year, with an open heart and a willingness to grow and reflect together?


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