This is something that my dear friend, Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, has written about quite often—I suppose he must have a lot of setbacks. Or maybe he just identifies with rubber bands.

His writing on the subject first appeared in the daily mailing called The Daily Dose. But it's all collected in the two volumes of Bringing Heaven Down To Earth—meditations on the wisdom of the Rebbe and in The Book of Purpose.

Here are some excerpts I could think of:

Progressive Failure

There are two ways to ascend: You can step upward, leaving one foot in its place as the other moves ahead. Or you can crouch down and leap.

This is the true meaning of failure: Failure is not just a setback. Everything in life is a step forward, because everything has meaning.

So too, failure: It is the crouch before the jump, the break away from the past so that we can leap into the future.

Bouncing Up

Why does Man destroy? Why does he wreak havoc in the world?

This world was designed so that there is no progress forward without first a step backward. Night comes before day, pain before pleasure, confusion before wisdom.

But then G_d made man, who strives beyond the design of things, who yearns to leap past nature, to embrace the infinite.

Man, too, must first fall so that he can leap upward. But since his leap is beyond nature, he must first fall beneath it.

That is sin—a fall beneath nature.

And that is the power of return
—to leap beyond nature.

The River Up

When the Divine Light began its epic descent—a journey that conceived worlds lower and lower for endless worlds, condensing its unbounded state again and again into innumerable finite packages until focused to a fine, crystallized resolution—it did so with purpose: to bring forth a world of continuous ascent. Since that beginning, not a day has passed that does not transcend its yesterday.

Like a mighty river rushing to reach its ocean, no dam can hold it back, no creature can struggle against its current. Even we, its voyageurs, cannot turn back. We must only move on with the river, on in its relentless ascent to the sea.

We may appear to take a wrong turn, to lose a day in failure—it is our delusion, for we have no map to know the river's way. We see from within, but the river knows its path from Above. And to that place Above it is drawn.

We are not masters of that river— not of our ultimate destiny, not of the stops along the way, not even of the direction of our travel. We did not create the river—its flow creates us. It is the blood and soul of our world, its pulse and its very fibers.

Yet of one thing we have been granted mastery: Not of the journey, but of our role within it. How soon will we arrive? How complete? How fulfilled? Will we be the spectators? The props? Or will we be the heroes?

That is all. And that is all that counts.