Rebuilding Life After Disaster explores the theme of rebirth in the face of life's challenges and setbacks. A novel interpretation of a perplexing Midrash; the elderly Rabbi who rebuilt Judaism after losing everything; the young politician who gave a “shipwreck” of a speech but later changed the course of history; the now world-famous music group that was told they had no future; the Chassid who learned the hard way about how to view reality--these and other vignettes flesh out the point that great human beings are not those who never experience defeat. They are those who survive defeat, keep on going, and never give up.
In every field, sacred or secular, people are tested not by their successes, but by their failures. Great people are not those who never make mistakes. They are those who learn from every mistake. They treat failure as an opportunity to become better. And with every refusal to be defeated, they become stronger, wiser, and more determined.
We all experience defeat: broken relationships, shattered careers, or disappointment with our children (Jews have two syllables for all of this: “Oy vey!”) And we all have to figure out what to do with the fragments of our broken worlds, before they clutter up our lives and hold us back from truly living.
When we look at our lives, do we focus on what is broken and what we have done wrong and let those things hold us hostage, or do we move forward and build a new world?
On Rosh Hashanah, G-d gives us the strength to move forward -- to build a new world.