Dear Readers,

Have you ever imagined what would have been if Adam and Eve had acted differently?

I don’t mean that they wouldn’t have eaten the forbidden fruit. On some level, that was part of the Divine plan. We weren’t created perfectly, like mechanical robots, always doing the right thing. Temptation, challenges and failings are part of our human journey.

But how do we react to our failings?

Suppose when G‑d confronted Adam and Eve about not obeying His explicit commandment, they would have contritely said, “Oy, we can’t believe we just did that!”

After all, “You gave us everything we could ever want and just asked us to abstain from one thing, and we disregarded it. We’re so sorry. You must be so disappointed. Please, forgive our ungratefulness, selfishness and lack of care.”

I know it is hypothetical, but how do you think G‑d might have responded? It’s hard to admonish and punish those who so humbly and profusely apologize for their misdeed.

Instead, after eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve do something illogical; they hide from G‑d.

When G‑d calls to Adam, giving him an opportunity to express his regret, he messes up by avoiding to take responsibility, “I heard you calling and I was afraid because I am naked.”

And finally, in his fait accompli, when G‑d rebukes him point blank about his sin, Adam blames someone else for his actions: “The woman that You gave me … it was all her fault!”

Eve, similarly, has a disastrous response, blaming the snake and saying: “The serpent enticed me.”

Does it sound familiar? How do we react when we’re confronted by a mistake? Do we try to hide and avoid the issue? In defending ourselves, do we then lie, deny or make excuses for what we did? Finally, when pressed, do we blame someone else for our own actions?

Hide: “I’m not avoiding you … I had a lot on my head. I thought I’d let you cool off first.”

Deny: “It’s not true; I didn’t. You are taking this totally the wrong way!”

Blame: “Come to think of it, it’s really your fault!”

As humans, we all make mistakes. Inevitably, we will succumb to our shortcomings, and there will be times when we fail. But how will we react to those failings?

The hardest three words to say are “I am sorry” or “I messed up.” But they are also our most empowering.

G‑d has gifted us with the treasure of teshuvah, “repentance,” which literally means “return.”

In its process, we can turn the clock back, return to what we were, and not only undo what we have done wrong, but become greater people in the process. It only works, though, when we are ready to acknowledge our mistakes and own up to our actions.

Wishing you a week of greatness!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW