The secret of success: construction begins with failure

The lessons of the Rebbe, Rabbi Josiah Pinto, Shlita, are renowned in the Jewish world. They combine Hasidism and thought, along with tips for a better life. We have gathered pearls from his teachings that are relevant to our daily lives. And this week: The Jethro Affair

And Jethro Cohen heard from the judgment of Moses’ son-in-law (18:1).

On the opening verse of the portion – “And Jethro heard,” the holy Rashi writes, “What rumor heard and came, the splitting of the Red Sea and the war of Amalek Jethro heard the splitting of the Red Sea and the war of Amalek and came.” Then the Holy Torah tells of Moses’ meeting with Jethro, Moses stands and tells Jethro everything that happened to the Israelites in the Exodus from Egypt about Israel,  Everythingthat happened with them along the way and then “and together Jethro” – Jethro was terrified and very anxious.

And here we must understand, what did Moses have to add and say more? After all, the holy Torah says, “And Jethro heard,” meaning that he had already heard about the Red Sea and the Amalek War, so what did Moses have to add more stories to, after all, the whole world had heard about the splitting of the Red Sea, and the whole world had heard about the Amalek War. What else could be added to that until it caused Jethro great anxiety? And in general,  Before he became a priest of Midian, Jethro was one of Pharaoh’s advisors. He knew very well what was happening in Egypt, what else did Moses need to tell?

Rather, we are used to a person who has success and is happy with it and sees it as one thing. And if he has a failure, he sees failure as something else. People don’t mix success and failure together. If a person has a good time, he sees the good time alone, and if he has a hard time, he sees it for himself. People don’t mix the good time and the hard time together and see them as two separate things.

But from the perspective of the holy Torah, this is not so. A person who wants to see life in the way of G-d must see life as one thing, that success and failure are one thing. When a person has a time that seems like a failure, it is not a failure but part of the success – a descent for the purpose of an increase.

בזמן שבני ישראל היו במצרים, מי שהיה מסתכל על מה שקורה במצרים היה רואה זאת בתור תקופה קשה שעם ישראל עוברים.מצרים משעבדים אותם, מצרים עושים להם דברים קשים ומענים אותם. אדם כזה היה אומר שעל עם ישראל עוברים זמנים קשים. אחרי כן הוא היה רואה שהם מגיעים לזמנים טובים – יצאו ממצרים,נגאלו ונושעו. אלא שזו ראיה של אדם שאינו ירא שמים. אדם שרואה את הטוב והרע שבחייו כשני זמנים נפרדים. לעומת זאת, בראיה של אדם ירא שמים הוא רואה את הכל כזמן אחד.

כאשר יתרו שמע על קריעת ים סוף ומלחמת עמלק, הוא שמע זאתכסיפוראחד ואת מה שהיה לבני ישראל במצרים הוא ראה כסיפור שני. הוא ראה את ההצלחה של בני ישראל עם כל מה שקרה כשיצאו ממצרים כסיפור אחד, ואת הייסורים שבני ישראל עברו במצרים הוא ראה כזמן קשה שעבר עליהם. אבל משה רבנו בא ומסדר את הראיה של יתרו – לפני שיתרו נהיה חלק מעם ישראל ונהיה כה חשוב שפרשה נקראת על שמו, וכה חשוב עד שהוא נותן Moses had the advice to put judges among the people of Israel. And so Moses stands and teaches Jethro a great element in life – to see the times of success and the times of failure as one time. Part of the failure, part of the hard time is the time of construction.

A person begins to build up in the difficult times he goes through. When he has hard times, they are part of his growth. And as the Holy Zohar says, every fruit that is sown in the ground does not begin to grow until it rots – only after it rots, then it begins to grow. Salvation does not come to man until he goes through a difficult time, and then the good time comes.  Before there is 

light there is darkness, before there are good times you have to go through hard times.In Jethro’s view, the time of enslavement was one thing and the time 

of the Exodus was another. Moses stands and ties the two times together and explains to him, “When we were in Egypt and there were hard times, when Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites and killed the children, all this was part of salvation and success, part of the construction for the continuation of the time of redemption and the great and good time.” So “together Jethro” Jethro was very anxious because he didn’t understand this until Moses deepened his insight It is this God that failure and success are one thing.

We must see this as the foundation of life: the hard times are the beginning of the good times. When a person has good times, he should remember that these good times began during the difficult time when he studied and educated, and during the difficult time when he grew stronger in faith in God, then his salvation and success began.

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