Mesorah (Jewish stuff)

When Falling Down Means Going Up

It was one of those days.  It started with some small yet challenging events, but the challenges kept coming, more quickly, and the more they came, the more mistakes I made in dealing with them.  By evening, it was like a roaring crescendo of mistakes culminating in one really lousy day.

Making so many mistakes all in one day can be very disheartening, especially when they are the same old slip-ups.   Like many people, I make the same mistakes over and over and over again, and it’s very frustrating.  After having a particularly unsuccessful day, it’s easy to feel discouraged, and to get stuck in an unhelpful frame of mind, thinking that I’m “never going to fix this,” or I’m “always going to make the same mistakes.”

There’s a verse for that.  

Proverbs 24:16 has a beneficial nugget of wisdom which encourages me on displeasing days:  “For a righteous man can fall seven times and rise…”  Yes, it’s saying that even righteous people make mistakes.  Not just once, not twice, but seven times!  That seems like a lot.  But is it really?  Probably not.

The mistakes themselves aren’t meaningful.  After all, we pretty much all make them, and they’re not so special.  It’s what we learn from our mistakes, how we react to them that has significance.  The getting back up, resolving to improve, and taking steps to make that improvement.

Encouraging, right?  But wait, it gets better!

There’s a Chasidish thought which teaches that it’s the falling, the mistake-making, that makes a person righteous.  What does that mean?  It means that through the experience and resolution of challenges, a person can become righteous.  The verse says that a righteous person falls seven times.  The number seven in Judaism represents completion, perfection.  Within our mistakes and challenges is a tremendous opportunity for growth, and for connection with our higher selves, and with God.

Now that’s a thought that can make my day!

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12 thoughts on “When Falling Down Means Going Up

    1. I’m sorry you had a horrible day. Those are really no fun. I’m so glad that my post could give you a little lift. I actually wrote it after one of those horrible days, sometime last month actually, but I didn’t publish it until now. And why? Probably because it was something you needed now, not last month. Coincidence? I think not!

  1. Always love reading your articles but keep your vocabulary list handy at all times. Could you possibly expand your list of words to the newly frum like me who are still getting used to the jargon? Thanks, Tzivia Wolf

    1. Thank you, Tzivia! I would be glad to expand the list. It can be a lot to assimilate into your vocabulary, I know. :) Are there any words in particular that you would like me to include? Feel free to send me an email whenever there’s a word you’re wondering about. Anytime, really. I’m happy to help.

  2. After the month I’ve been having, this is really helpful. I’m finding as my kids get older, there are so many more opportunities to make mistakes each day. A teacher once told me, in regard to the Chassidishe concept, that it wasn’t the fall itself, but recognizing what tripped the person that made them righteous. Everyone stumbles, everyone makes mistakes, but recognizing what caused you to make that mistake is half the battle. Thanks so much!

    1. It seems like nearly everyone I know has been having a rough month! I like the addition to the Chassidishe concept. Identifying my triggers has been very, very helpful. Though sometimes it’s even MORE frustrating when I make the mistake. Like, I should’ve seen that coming! Oh well, part of the human experience of tikkunim.

  3. First, your blog looks so cute! I have a weakness where birdies are concerned. Great post, and so good to remember. I sometimes learn MORE from my failures than my successess. Somehow it also makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one traveling that path. Thanks for the reminder and the company. :-)

    1. Thank you! I thought of you when I added that bird! I agree that failures can be a much more fertile ground for lessons learned than success. Most “successful” people have failed more times than most of us have ever attempted, you know? It’s nice to have such good company. :)

    1. Thanks, I’m glad to turn a frustrating day into something useful. I treat my blog like I do the furniture in my house. It can only be the same for so long until I need a change of scenery!

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