Lessons from an Lapsed Skydiver

Question of the Week:

I jumped out of a plane last week. I won't do it again. After free falling for a while (which was amazing) I tried to release my parachute. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing happened. So here I was hurtling to the ground without a parachute. I thought this was it. Thank G-d the instructor had a safety parachute, which did work. We landed safely. My question: is G-d trying to tell me something?


People tend to ask the question "Why me?" only when bad things happen. After suffering a loss or experiencing failure, we wonder what we did to deserve it. But we should be asking this question not just when things seem to go wrong but when things go right too. You need to ask this of yourself: I came to the brink of death, and I survived. Why me?

The answer must be that you've got more work to do in this lifetime. Your life has been returned to you so you can get on with your mission, to bring more light and increased goodness to your part of the world, with renewed vigour and freshness.

This should be a turning point for you. The you that jumped out of the plane is not the you that landed on solid ground. You have to be changed by the experience. Imagine that some of your negative past flew out of that plane and disappeared into the distant skies, and you have landed a new person. Take upon yourself a new mitzvah project, a new character trait to work on, another relationship to heal. You have been given new life, with renewed powers to fulfill your mission.

At this time of year, as Rosh Hashana approaches, this message is relevant to us all. We can all ask the same question of ourselves. I have been given another year of life. I am here to see another day. Why me? Why am I still here?

I must have more work to do. And only I can do it. Life has no safety parachutes. I have to do my job myself.

Good Shabbos, and may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year,

Rabbi Moss

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