Why is the Torah so brutally honest about our failings and shortcomings? Why are we constantly called upon to self-reflect, look inwards and improve and improve and improve?
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson shares an idea that address this issue: The problem these days is that we feel obligated to broadcast to the world that we are perfect. We don’t talk enough about our difficulties since we don’t understand that these very difficulties and the challenges they present, lead us to the truth, to an honest assessment of who we are.
Leonard Cohen once sang:
Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.
Sivan Rahav Meir elaborates and says:
There is no reason to be embarrassed by cracks since G-d is in every one of them. As the Chassidim say, there is nothing more complete than a broken heart. It’s like the earth which must be hoed and plowed, split and broken up, in order for new growth to emerge through the cracks. When something is shattered, something new begins to emerge.
We are not perfect.
Even the Torah, which is the essence of perfection, ends with congratulations to Moses for breaking the tablets upon which it was written. And had they not been broken, the magnificent Oral Torah would never have come to be. Only after we are reminded of and see the importance of what is broken can we experience a new beginning once again.