Off the Pulpit: Fall, fail rise

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

David had the strength to defeat Goliath. Yet he had moments of despair, as expressed in the Psalms “I am worn out calling for help” (Ps. 69:3). Jeremiah was a prophet of legendary power and will, but he called out “Oh, that I had a refuge in the wilderness that I might leave and go away from the people” (Jer. 9:2). Elijah fought with the Priests of Baal and defeated them. Yet he cries to God: “I have had enough, O Lord, take my life.” (1Kings 19:4).

If you have low moments in this difficult time, you are not alone. The most powerful spiritual figures in history have felt sometimes that the burden was too great, the battle too overwhelming.

The secret we learn from them is not that there can never be moments of despair, but that those moments cannot define us. Rising again, rising anew, is the debt we owe to ourselves, to each other and to God who fashioned us. Feel dismay, express despair, experience defeat; fall and fail. Then stand and breathing deep, carry on.

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)

Share Button