In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the appeal for each person to contribute half a shekel to be included in the census. This was part of the atonement process for the sin of the Golden Calf.
The request for half a shekel and not a whole shekel was intentional. Humans are not whole; we err, we sin, we make mistakes.
Do not fear imperfection, learn from errors to grow and be better. Leverage the ways that we are flawed to strengthen our relationships and build connections.
We like to quip: “a perfect parent is one with excellent child-rearing theories, but no actual kids.” It is easy to be the perfect parent, the perfect spouse – if you do not actually have children, or if you are not actually married. Real life is messy. It is not perfect. It is not meant to be.
It is not our responsibility to be perfect; it is our responsibility to light up a dark world.
The Torah recounts very few that died sinless and they are relatively unknown personalities. They remained pure because they lived a life of isolation and segregation. They did not deal with people, they did not lead, and they hardly affected the world.
Our greatest leaders, the ones that truly made a difference and are role models for eternity, are ones that made mistakes. Moses, David, Aaron, Jacob… they were not known for their perfection, but for their willingness to step up and act.
Our objective is to live in this world and elevate it – Tikun Olam. Torah respects and recognizes that we each have a complex journey.
Failure and imperfection are part of life – when we embrace that, we can live life perfectly.– Rabbi Shmulik Yeshayahu
The message is that we are complete because we are imperfect. The goal is not perfection; the goal is self-acceptance, inclusion, and interdependence.
We are not perfect – and that is ok. Let us be self- confident anyway. Imperfection allows us to connect and support others and to achieve a unity greater than perfection. In our jobs, relationships, and spiritual life, let us celebrate our successes, and keep moving forward.
“There is nothing so whole as a broken heart.” – Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
Our wholeness, our completeness, is a process. We need to be open to engage with the world and allow ourselves to feel and be vulnerable enough to be broken. If we have never been broken, we can never be truly whole.
Healthy communities, friendships, and relationships are richer when people acknowledge their own strengths, and are aware of their own weaknesses. No person is perfect – humans were not created that way.
When we fail, when we break, we are reminded that we are only half -and that is ok. We will reach out for help from other imperfect people, and from G-d. Failure and imperfection is part of life – when we embrace that, we can live life perfectly.