Some marketing people are really geniuses. Think of the one who invented the term “gluten-free.”
Before that, they used terms such as “without gluten” or “does not contain gluten.” Both terms are accurate, but when you see the words “gluten-free,” you almost get excited.
So I decided to coin my own term: perfection-free.
Here, try it for yourself. First, say “we are imperfect” and “none of us is perfect.” It feels kind of sad, doesn’t it?
Now, say “we are perfection-free.” Wow! It feels so wonderful to be free of the chains of perfection. We are perfection-free! Congratulations to us all!
Modern psychology encourages us to “embrace ourselves” and our state of imperfection (oops: I meant to say perfection-free). Yet the Torah instructs us to look even deeper and not just accept it, but also to understand why it is there in the first place.
Let us turn our attention to the kiddush. The classical text that we say every Friday night, which tells the story of creation and how God rested on the seventh day.
Just before we say the blessing on the wine, we say this:
“And God blessed the seventh day and He hallowed it, for thereon He abstained from all His work that God created to do.”
This verse does not sound grammatically correct. What does it mean that God rested from all his work that he had created to do?
Rashi explains that the Torah is teaching us an important lesson. Everything that God has created, He has created “to do.” He intentionally left it unfinished and imperfect, so it will be up to us to improve and perfect it.
Think of it in this way: God didn’t want us to be passive participants in his creation. He wanted us to be partners and contributors, so he left his world (including us) unperfect.
Every time we encounter an imperfection in ourselves or around us, we should not be afraid. Rather, we should see it as another opportunity for us to make a positive mark on the creation of God.
Thus, our lack of perfection is indeed a reason to celebrate. Because it reminds us of the crucial role that we play in this world.
May we all be blessed with the courage, energy and perseverance to continually improve ourselves and the world around us!
The ultimate goal is to unlock a new phase of the creation, when the world will indeed be wholesome. That will happen with the coming of Mashiach, may it happen soon, amen.
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the rabbi of Chabad of Hackensack. He welcomes your comments at [email protected]