Why does Hashem let us make mistakes? Sometimes the mistakes we make can have such long-term, devastating effects. We usually look back and wonder why we did what we did...
by Racheli Reckles
Itís amazing how I get these super profound insights when Iím doing laundry. Maybe itís because my mind is allowed to go where it wants as my hands spray themselves with a toxic bleach/acid combo that works amazingly well for getting rid of stains. So what if I take off a few layers of skin in the process? My kidsí Shabbat shirts will be sparkling white, and to me thatís worth all the second degree burns in the world.
As I was sitting on my cozy freezing tiled floor sorting the laundry, I wondered about the whole concept of mistakes. Why does Hashem let us make mistakes? Sometimes the mistakes we make can have such long-term, devastating effects. We usually look back and wonder why we did what we did, and if weíre spiritual, we may wonder why Hashem let it happen.
If itís a bad business decision, or marrying the ďwrongĒ person, or making life choices that come back to bite us, itís hard to look back and say that everything happened for the best. Thatís especially true when weíre still in the middle of the garbage and things havenít resolved yet.
Thereís no question that we must do our best to believe, to really know, that Hashem is running things. We absolutely need to believe that everything happens the way itís supposed to happen.
This is probably the most life-saving piece of advice we could ever follow.
Many times, itís not enough to just say that Hashem does everything for the best. So many people repeat it like a mantra, but how many really believe it?
Itís true that getting to that point of genuinely feeling that our mistakes are what we needed to go through is very hard, and we need to work on accepting what happened with as much joy as possible.
Hereís what I think is missing: Hashem has another reason, a much more obvious reason, for letting us make mistakes. Itís so obvious that we rarely stop to think about it and dwell on its significance.
Just as a parent must let his child fall in order to learn a lesson, Hashem does the same with us.
Sometimes, when He sees that no other way will work, He lets us make mistakes because this is the only way we will learn and grow.
How many times has someone given you a piece of advice, and you just didnít listen? And then later on, only after you messed up, you regret that you didnít take the good advice to begin with?
As unfortunate as it is, making mistakes is the most efficient way we grow and evolve.
Hereís a great example. So many people go from one abusive relationship to another. Then they wonder why Hashem is punishing them. Yet, they are the ones who continue to make the same poor choices in the first place! Why are they blaming Hashem for their mistakes?
Hashem knows that for such a person, they will only learn the hard way not to accept abuse. If youíve ever tried to convince a friend in any type of bad relationship that their partner is not treating them right, you know that your friend will never break up with her partner because of what youíre saying.
But, if your friend keeps making the same mistakes and keeps dating the wrong kind of guys, there is a chance that one day sheíll wake up and realize that sheís better than that. One day she may decide to stop letting others treat her like garbage. One day, hopefully, she will decide to change.
In all the mistakes we make, we need to realize two things. First, Hashem knows that this is the best way we can learn our lessons. Second, we should recognize how patient, merciful and loving Hashem is.
Who else do you know that will give you endless opportunities to mess up until you get it right?
Have you ever asked your teacher for endless chances to pass your exam if youíve failed the first time? No teacher would consider that! Even asking for a second chance is usually crossing the line.
But Hashem wonít stop giving us second, third, hundredth chances until we get it right.
So donít despair over your mistakes. Try to learn from them. If you donít know what the message is, just ask Hashem. I have no doubt that He will enlighten you as to the lesson you need to learn.
Next time you make a mistake, which might be five minutes from now, donít beat yourself up! Instead, go do some laundry. Who knows? Maybe youíll also get your answer that way!
If doing laundry doesnít enlighten your brain, no worries! Listen to Rav Brodyís awesome CD, Without Questions.
You know, that title just reminded me of my FAVORITE question of all time:
WHATíS FOR DINNER?