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

Nobody likes to make mistakes. Sometimes we wish we were perfect, or feel that we should be. But the truth is that even the greatest people sometimes make mistakes. This week’s Torah portion describes the Jewish people’s travels in the desert toward the land of Israel. But in the desert there wasn’t any water to drink, so God decided to make a miracle for them and cause water to come flowing out of a rock. He told Moses to speak to the rock and then the water would come pouring out. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses mistakenly hit it with his stick. If even Moses, the greatest of men, could make a mistake, we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be perfect. We have to try our best and learn from the mistakes we do make.

In our story, a girl learns that it’s okay not to be perfect.

 

Spell Check

Dina seemed to be the perfect student. Nobody could ever remember her getting less than an “A” on a test or a report card. She wore a serious look on her face that made her look older than she really was and she always did her homework on time.

The thing she did the best though, was spell. “Dina, the Dictionary” her friends would call her with amazement. She could spell words that nobody else could even pronounce.

So when it came time for the state-wide spelling championship, everyone—including Dina herself—expected that she would walk away with the crown.

The big day of the contest arrived. Spelling whizzes from all over the state gathered at the beautiful Wilson Auditorium in the state capitol. It was an awesome building with a high gold ceiling and rows of plush red velvet seats.

Dina’s friend Sari made herself comfortable in one of the front rows and watched all the contestants sitting lined up on the auditorium’s stage. A panel of judges sat across from them and asked each of them, one at a time, to spell some of the hardest words Sari had ever heard. If they got their word right, they would go another round. If not, they would have to step down.

Soon the contest was down to two finalists, “Dina the Dictionary” and one other girl.

It was Dina’s turn, and Sari watched from the edge of her seat. The judge asked Dina to spell a word that sounded pretty easy. “Hey, even I could spell that,” thought Sari. Dina grinned, and began to spell. But amazingly, she got it wrong.

“I’m sorry,” called out the judge, “That was not correct.”

The other girl, who was now the winner, jumped for joy.

Dina hid her face in her hands and ran down off the stage. Sari got up and ran after her. She finally caught up with her outside of the auditorium. Sari could see that Dina had been crying. “I can’t believe I blew it,” she said bitterly. “I should have been able to spell a word like that backwards in my sleep!”

Sari tried to think of something to say to her friend. At last she said, “I’m sure that you must feel terrible but these types of things happen to all of us. Everybody makes mistakes.”

“Not me,” sniffled Dina. “I should have done better.”

Sari took her friend by the hand and said, “Dina, I know you’re upset. But nobody’s perfect. Not even you. Nobody expected you to be, and you don’t have to expect it of yourself. God didn’t put us in the world to never make mistakes, just to try our best and learn from the mistakes we do make.”

Dina nodded her head.

Suddenly Sari got an idea. She opened her backpack and pulled out a pocket dictionary. Her copy had been printed with the cover upside down. “See, Dina,” she said with a smile. “Even the dictionary gets it wrong sometimes!” The two friends had a good laugh and headed home.


Nesanel Yoel Safran is a writer, chef and a teacher/student of Jewish spirituality. He blends these assorted vocations on his blog, Soul Foodie, where you can join him on mystical cooking adventures and glean practical wisdom for the kitchen – and for living. https://soulfoodiecom.wordpress.com

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