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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Failure, the secret of success


Beitzah 34

Israel ranks number two on the world list of SuperEntrepreneurs, or self-made billionaires.     On the latest listing, we managed to beat out the United States, United Kingdom and all of Europe.   In the last number of years, Israel has achieved international fame as a Startup Nation and we are truly beginning to see the fruits of the backbreaking labour of the pioneers of the State.  

What’s the secret of our success?

The Mishnah states: We may not heat tiles to roast on them on Yom Tov.
“What’s the problem,” asks the Talmud.  We are permitted to cook on Yom Tov!
Rabbah, the grandson of Chanah explains that the Mishnah is specifically proscribing new tiles, for two reasons.  Firstly, they need to be checked and secondly, they need to be hardened.

Rashi clarifies that the first time you heat up tiles, it is a test run.  Are they tough enough to maintain the temperature or will they break?  If they fail the test, the result is that “you have toiled unnecessarily on Yom Tov.”  We are only permitted to engage in necessary ‘toil’ on Yom Tov, activities that will aid in the cooking process.  Since heating the new tiles is not guaranteed to be useful, it is prohibited on the holy day.

Rashi elucidates the second concern of hardening as follows: The first time you use new tiles is a strengthening procedure, whereby you toughen them up for ensuing use.  The problem with the procedure is that by hardening them you are doing the final act of “creating a vessel,” a forbidden act on the holy day.

New tiles will often break when you heat them up. On Yom Tov, we may not toil unnecessarily.  But during the week, if you want to achieve success, you must be prepared to toil unnecessarily.  Speak to any successful person and they will tell you all the stories of how they failed before they made it - all the ventures that went bust and was “unnecessary toil” at the end of the day.

But it wasn’t all for naught.  Every venture that they failed at was part of the strengthening process that prepared them to be "a vessel" for their ultimate success.  People who are unsuccessful in life are the ones who give up after their first failure.

The Talmud teaches us that if you want to succeed, know that there will be many unsuccessful trial runs before you get exactly the right temperature and approach.   But in the meantime, while it may appear that you are toiling unnecessarily, you are being toughened up for the final grand achievement.

Whether you are seeking financial success or educational triumph, musical aptitude or sports prowess, or you are seeking your mate in life, it rarely happens on the first shot.   You may have to toil and toil in a seemingly endless course of unnecessary experiments, but each challenge is a step to get you to your final destination.

Don’t ever give up!  The secret to our success is our resilience!  The more you try, the closer you will get to your goal and may the Almighty help you achieve your dreams very soon!