If someone as depraved as Nasrallah, for whom lying is as easy as breathing, can see how productive examining one’s mistakes is, then why isn’t it universally practiced?
Why do we so many of us, from governments to businesses to individuals, down to our own inner mind games, live in a world of denial? Our minds naturally avoid responsibility for errors, and we only admit when there is no other choice.
It’s easy to see in all the people around us — how counter-productive denial and avoidance is, and how these vices create massive amounts of pain, suffering and self-inflicted dead-ends. But it’s not so easy to see in ourselves because we have trained our eye to look away and ignore any personal faults.
This is the reason why people find Yom Kippur so frustrating. We are afraid of our mistakes. This in and of itself is a massive mistake, because what you do wrong has more opportunity for growth than anything you do right.
The Talmud says, “Where someone who has corrected a mistake stands, even a completely righteous person, who has never erred, cannot stand.”
Let me give you a paradigm of life: A horse race.
In this race one of the jockeys has a severe headache and loses. After they dismount, the jockey in question politely explains to the winner his problem and asks for a "do over."
Oh, I forgot to mention it’s the Kentucky Derby. It’s the Super Bowl. It’s the World Series, Wimbledon, or maybe the Olympics. It’s life.
There is no “do over” button in life. King George can’t say to George Washington, “We really weren’t at our best, do you mind if we start all over again from Lexington?” You did it, or didn’t do it, or you messed up big time. You can’t fix the past, it’s done.
The reason people don’t look at their mistakes is because you can’t go back in time. What gain therefore, is there in figuring out what you did wrong?
Yes, I know, there is a small chance that this same situation will arise again, and therefore by learning you won’t do it again. But that’s only a slight possibility, what is almost an inevitable outcome is that your blunder will mark you as a failure, or worse. With that in mind, denying you were the one who overpaid, or forgot to put it in the mail, or any number of real life gaffes, sounds reasonable.
However, learning from your mistakes is much more than a competitive advantage concept. If that was all it was, then it would have never been anything more than a nice idea. Practiced by no one. No one would be that brave to raise their hand to say, “It was me.”
Rather, it’s a concept of Holiness. The secret to Yom Kippur.
Let me explain.
G-d is not limited in time. If you enter G-d’s space, you enter a place where the past is as real as the present.
If you fix the present, then G-d can fix and change the past in such a way that your mistake never happened. This is why and how we enter the Holy of Holies – by sitting with G-d in His place. In His place everything is possible, even the past.
As long as you say, I have everything under control, then you are still here on Terra Firma in the present. But if you can say, “I messed up and I don’t know how to fix it anymore, I give it to You.” Then you have entered G-d’s space and time doesn’t matter anymore. That experience and encounter is so transformative, so meaningful and so utterly uplifting, that even our enemies take notice.
Therefore, I wish you all on this Yom Kippur, an experience of the great overwhelming love and Holiness that derives when we connect to our Creator.
The door to bliss is in you — it’s the one marked "mistakes."