It’s time to debunk some myths. These perceptions are common to most people- you may well have mulled them over yourself- but it’s time to say it like it is: “They’re false!”
MYTH 1: IF HASHEM WOULD... I WOULD
We’re all waiting for that special miracle in our lives. G-d is a nice idea. We understand- in theory- that we should do all those things that He wants us to do. But, if He would just drop in and say “hi”, you know, show us a sign that He’s around and that He cares, then we’d commit to doing whatever He wants. “If I make that deal, I’ll give more charity”; “When my mother recovers, I’ll start keeping Shabbos”.
History proves that this idyllic theory doesn’t work.
Hashem took the Jews out of Egypt. For 210 years, they had dreamed of living Egypt and I’m sure they uttered their fair share of pledges of what they’d do when the grand day would arrive. They got more than they bargained for- Exodus, splitting the Sea, living off heaven-sent fast food and enjoying climate control in the harsh desert. To top it off, Hashem Himself spoke to them, telling them exactly what he wanted.
It didn’t help. Just weeks after history’s greatest Divine revelation, as they stood there at Sinai, the Jews turned their back on G-d and made a Golden Calf.
Commitment comes from commitment, not from inspiration.
MYTH 2: YOU’RE ON A LOSING WICKET, YOU MAY AS WELL GIVE UP
We’d all like to be inspired and consistently grow in our Yiddishkeit. You imagine the goals you need to attain in your Judaism and what it will take to achieve them. You set off confidentaly to make the minyan, learn Torah regularly, keep kosher or avoid speaking badly of others. You get off to a flying start,
But, then you oversleep one morning, watch the soccer instead of the shiur, grab a Steers burger on impulse or blurt out some hot gossip. Before you know it, you’ve lost sight of our goals, promises to self and spiritual direction.
That’s understandable. Your biggest mistake would be to say “Oh well”, throw up your hands in despair and go with the flow.
The Jews messed up terribly when they made the Golden Calf. Rather than despair, they turned 180 degrees, fixed their act, got new Tablets and even brought about a new Yom Tov- Yom Kippur. Bouncing back from failure is more powerful than straight success.