Daf Yomi Yevamos 37
‘There’s a bin at the end of the canned food aisle at the supermarket,’ says my friend Joel, ‘labelled damaged goods.’ You can purchase any product for half-price from that bin because the packaging has somehow been damaged. Maybe the tin is a little smashed; maybe the label has started to peel off. And so it’s now 50% off. The funny thing is, says Joel, once you get home and open it up, it’s exactly the same product on the inside. It was only the outside that was dented and yet it got this label of ‘damaged goods’ that it had to live with.
The Mishnah states: One who performs the levirate marriage with his brother’s widow, only to subsequently discover that she is pregnant, if she gives birth to a healthy child, they must separate and bring a sin offering. But if the baby does not survive, they remain together. If they are unsure whether the child is his brother’s or his, they must separate. But the baby is completely legitimate.
The Rabbis taught in a Beraisa: This child is fit to be the High Priest!
Think about this poor kid. From day one of his life on earth, he’s been told we don’t really know who your real dad is. Technically, he’s not illegitimate, but as long as he can remember, he’s been taunted and teased in the schoolyard. He feels like garbage. He comes from nothing and will amount to nothing.
Along come the Rabbis of the Beraisa and make an incredible declaration, “This child is fit to be the High Priest!” Suddenly, his self-image does a 180. He realizes that the damaged goods label is an external distraction. In reality, he is a completely legitimate child of the Almighty and he has unlimited potential in life!
Maybe you had an awful childhood. Perhaps you’ve been through a harrowing divorce. Maybe you suffered from an attention deficit disorder at school. And now you feel like you can never recover because you feel yourself to be damaged goods.
Don’t let that label hold you back from becoming the High Priest! You are a child of G-d. You have incredible potential. Peel off the damaged goods label forever. The exterior appearance is nonsense – inside the product is just as good as any other, if not better!
(NB This is not a recommendation to purchase dented canned food. There may be other health concerns.)