Has it ever happened that you were engrossed in the process of fulfilling a dream, saw the vision in front of your eyes, and really wanted to fulfill it, and in the end, it didn’t come to fruition?
How was this experience for you?
Did you experience it as a failure?
Most of us tend to experience lack of success in our ability to fulfill our dreams and visions, as failure. Inspired by Rav David Ingbar, I would like to suggest that we see it as an invitation to recalculate our route.
How does this relate to this week’s Torah portion Va’Etchanan?
In the Parsha Moshe begs God to reverse his decision and allow him to enter the Promised Land — and encounters a complete refusal.
How might he have felt when he accepted the refusal? Did he feel “failed”?
Or did he feel he missed an opportunity — that he did not get to fulfill his dream, to enter the Promised Land?
What might help him come to terms with God’s refusal and continue to teach Torah to the people?
Perhaps when God shows him things from his point of view: And the LORD said to him: Rav Lecha! Meaning: You have (achieved) a lot!
Now Moses can see things from a different angle, to internalize that he actually has achieved a lot, he can take credit for a lot of things– his vocation has been completed. He brought the people to this point. He was as their shepherd for 40 years in the wilderness, served as a mediator between them and God, instilled in them laws and judgments, made them a “mench”, a good person … he succeeded!
Maybe now instead of feeling he missed an opportunity – his lack of fulfilling this dream of reaching the good land, lack of feeling valued – and perhaps feeling rejected and disappointed after begging God who might still allow him to enter — Moses can replace the “movie” within in his head with – I have achieved a lot, I did not fail in anything.
And how relevant is it for us?
Perhaps we can learn from this, that if it sometimes happens that our dream does not come true, perhaps we should let go of it and see if it does indeed serve our purpose? Because our dream and our destiny are not always synchronized.
Maybe sometimes, precisely when we are “refused” and our path winds and does not lead us in a straight line to the fulfillment of the dream, does this achieve another important and hidden goal in our destiny?
May we be blessed to be able to reframe our “failures” into new dreams and hence be comforted.