June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Freddie’s Fix-It Shop wasn’t doing quite well, which, considering how it started off, was very disappointing. During Grand Opening Week customers from near and far flocked to Freddie’s to have their appliances, electronics, sports equipment and watches fixed (among other things). Having trained under the great fixers Bob Veeler and Alan Borland, Freddie Foxworthy was a world-famous repairman whose list of clients included the Queen of England and Cristiano Ronaldo. Eventually, Freddie tired of the celebrity fix-it lifestyle and decided to bring his talents to the regular folks by opening his store. Freddie’s reputation was clearly the reason for the successful opening week, but what could have caused such a drastic drop-off in customers?

Although Freddie could not understand the issue, anyone listening to him answer the phone at the store would figure it out immediately. Here’s one sample phone call so you get the idea: “Hello, Freddy’s. We can fix anything. How can I help you?” “Hi. My Bluetooth air fryer is broken and…” “Broken bluetooth air fryer? Nope; can’t fix that. Sorry.” Here’s another call that same day: “Hello, Freddy’s. We can fix anything. How— No, sorry. If it’s broken I can’t fix it. Yes, I know what fixing means. Can I ask— Hello? Hello?”

For some crazy reason, Freddie seemed unable to fix anything. Forget that; he wouldn’t even try. As a result, the Fix-It Shop’s reputation went south faster than a plane heading to Florida for Pesach. The Yelp reviews were almost completely negative, and people simply stopped considering Freddie’s for their repair needs.

Fortunately for Freddie Foxworthy, his favorite female fix-it friend Felicia Frankfurter stopped by the store one day to get Freddie’s advice for fixing a microwave. While tinkering with the microwave, Freddie received three phone calls, all of which received a response of “sorry, I can’t fix that.” Puzzled by the possibility of Freddie not being able to fix three straight items, Felicia let her curiosity take the lead. “Freddie, I never thought there would be one object you couldn’t fix, let alone three. What did those callers need?” Freddie frowned. “Just two broken refrigerators and a broken vacuum cleaner.” Now it was Felicia’s turn to frown. “And you—the great Freddie Foxworthy—can’t fix a refrigerator or vacuum?” Freddie’s frown got even frownier. “Of course I can fix those things, but not if they are broken.”

Immediately, Felicia understood. For his entire professional life, Freddie had been summoned to the homes of the wealthy and was shown the malfunctioning objects. Maybe the owner explained that the “sound isn’t working,” or that “my Smart Oven isn’t synching with my Smart Countertop and my Smart Knives,” but Freddie was never told “this thing is broken.” And even if he were told that an object was broken, Freddie could always look at it and say, “No it isn’t; I can see the problem and I can fix it!” However, when people called in, Freddie took them at their word that their objects were broken because he had no way of knowing otherwise.

Felicia took Freddie aside and explained this all to him, and after their conversation, she understood something even more amazing about the great Freddie Foxworthy: Due to the fact that Freddie was such a skilled repairman, nothing was ever really broken to him. In other words, because he was able to see the way out, he never gave up hope. To Freddie the word “broken” could only be used in an impossible situation.

As one could imagine, now that Felicia straightened Freddie out, all the business started to roll back in. It started slowly, but once Freddy pulled off a few miraculous fixes—including reviving a cell phone that had been run over by a dump truck—the customers started pouring back in. And now Freddy had a response to being told something was broken. “Broken?!” Freddie would exclaim, “Not if I can help it!”

Rosh Hashanah is a time to consider how we can fix ourselves. Despite needing some fixing, we must not feel as if we are broken. As long as there is an opportunity to change—to do teshuva—we are not broken. This is best symbolized by the sounds that are made by the shofar. The main sound of the day—the teruah—is a “broken” sound; one long blast is broken up into an explosion of quick sounds. However, we make sure to surround this “broken” sound with two tekiyot—two complete, “fixed” blasts of the shofar. This reminds us that although we may feel completely broken like the teruah, we are in fact still whole, like the tekiyot. The broken phase is just that—a phase in between two periods of wholeness—as long as we put our minds to fixing.

Shana Tova!


Yair Daar can be reached at [email protected].

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