Friday, March 6, 2015

Using Regret to Our Advantage

In this weeks parsha, Ki Sisa, we read about the sin of the golden calf. Just months after Hashem freed us from the shackles of Egypt, just days after Hashem revealed His essence to us at Mount Sinai. We betrayed Him in the most hurtful way possible. We made and served a false god, and to throw salt on the wound we gave it credit for redeeming us from Egypt.

As a nation this has been our biggest regret to date. It has also been our greatest catalyst to change and get closer to Hashem. It weighs heavily on our national conscience and we continually atone for this grave blunder.

Ultimately it is this that gave us the most powerful tool for atonement, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. It is what shaped us into the great, unwavering, G-D centered, dynamic, world effecting people that we are.

All  of us have regrets, all of us have done things that go against everything that we stand for at one time or another. Embarrassed and ashamed it weighs heavy on us. It feels like a dark cloud following us around.

The question is: Do we let it bring us down into depression? Do we ignore it and become numb, cold and insensitive? Or do you allow it to effect you and become a catalist for positive change?

Falling into depression is not the way. Hashem wants us to serve Him with joy. Becoming cold and insensitive is simply not Jewish. A Yid should be kind and caring.

Being cold or depressed is miserable and no way to live.

It's time to take the bull by the horns. Examine the guilt. If the wrong can be righted, then by all means, do so. If you hurt someone, apologize. You will be suprised how powerful an honest "I'm sorry" can be.

If it cannot be corrected, then allow the guilt to shape you into a better person. The guilt will then be transformed into the event that shaped you into the good person you have become. You will begin to see it as a positive rather than a negative.

Confined to a bed, I have a lot of time to think. How many experiences would I like to change? How many words would I like to take back? How many hurts would I like to soothe?

I know that your lives are busy and it's hard to find the time for this kind of introspection. However, this exercise will unburden you. It will allow you to rise above the hurt, the shame, and the resentments. You will be happier and those around you will be effected by the new and improved you.

If you can, please forgive me, please forgive you and forgive each other.

If you have a way to connect this to Purim, please share your idea in the comments. 


  1. Wow ! Your words are very inspiring! You really exemplify how a person can rise above a situation and stay positive and giving despite tremendous pain and suffering! You are a shining example to us of the power of the soul. Your soul and spirit is shining so bright! May hashem continue to give you strength and peace to Continue going strong!!

  2. Thank you dear rabbi! I hope you know how inspiring your words are to your fan club.

    Like you requested I'm going to attempt to suggest a connection between this to the holiday of Purim:
    In the Megillah it says וקבל היהודים את אשר החלו לעשות ("and the Jews took upon themselves what they had commenced to do") the Gemara explains this to mean that at mt. Sinai the jewish people were essentially forced to accept the Torah and therefore it wasn't received with full enthusiasm, however at the time of hamans decree the jewish people finished the deed which began many years earlier and eagerly accepted the Torah with all that it entails. Now this demands clarification since at the time of Matan Torah the jewish people were at the greatest spiritual heights attainable by human beings - actually communicating with g-d! Contrast that with the story of purim when they were in a spiritual and most definitely a physical rut. So what does the megilla mean with this statement? The rebbe explains that it was precisely the dark time of Hamans decree itself that was the catalyst (as you said) to greatest of achievements, meaning when the yidden were serving hashem while things were smooth (from mattan Torah until the destruction of the beis hamikdash) it was only the beginning of the process (how hard can it be when hashems talkin' to you!) but when the going got tough (purim story) and nevertheless the yidden held steadfast to their emunah and bitachon, withstanding the seemingly helpless situation they were in - it was only then that the Jews fully accepted the torah upon themselves, since that is what the torah is really about and that's when it is the most precious in Hashem's eyes.
    May we merit to serve him with joy only! Lchaim!

    Please let me know what you think ;)

  3. Dear Rabbi Hurwitz
    We have never met but I just wanted to get in touch to say how much I enjoy your Divrei Torah all the way from London UK- they are so insightful, thought provoking and richly meaningful. Thank you. You may not travel far but you are touching people across the globe. May you be blessed with great כח to continue your incredible עבודת הקודש. You certainly have a worldwide army davening for you and your special family. חזק ואמץ.