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Trust One Who Failed A Driving Test

11/09/2018 12:10:05 PM


When I made a silly mistake on my first drivers test, I began to sweat and become very anxious that I would fail. My examiner was a sweetheart and allowed me to pass.

At the time I considered myself very lucky. Ever since, I've been proud of my badge of honor having passed on my first try.

However, according to recent research, I may not be as good of a driver as I'd like to think.

The British insurance company Ingenie has discovered that the number of times you fail your test could be a positive indicator of your abilities behind the wheel. In their study they assessed how their customers drive, by analyzing their speed, acceleration, braking and cornering.

All of these factors accumulated to a final score out of 100. On average, drivers who passed their test on their first try earned a score of 78, while drivers who were on their fourth try scored 84.

The study showed new drivers that failing their test could in actual fact be a blessing in disguise.

A similar lesson is taught in this week's Torah portion Toldot. Abraham dug wells in order to feed his family and flock. After he passed away, the local Philistines became very jealous and suspicious of his son Isaac. Jealous of his great wealth and suspicious that he would use these wells to attract an invading army. So, they went and blocked up all the wells.

The Torah spends describes at considerable length how Isaac redug the wells which his father had once dug. Though he encountered opposition, as is hinted in the names he called the wells ("contention", "harassment"), apparently these wells lasted.

Things often don't succeed the first time round. How do we react when we try something new and fail? Too often we become dejected and give up.

But the lesson from our portion, and from the research of a car insurance company, is that we must continue to try again. And in fact, the failure itself, coupled with the more intense efforts, will lead to a greater result the next time round.

Kabbalistic teachings discuss the power and virtue of teshuvah. Teshuvah means the act of correcting a wrongdoing or fixing a failure. The pure righteous person - the Tzadik - always gets it right the first time. But the one who struggles - the Baal Teshuvah - lives a life of constantly falling and getting back up. The mystics explain that one can only take a leap after bending downwards first. And the lower one bends, the higher they can jump. Hence the Talmud teaches, "No person, not even a Tzadik, can reach the same spiritual heights of the Baal Teshuvah."

(To be clear, this concept isn't a license for you to deliberately plan on a failure. By definition, something can only be considered a failure when you aimed to succeed.)

So, do you still want to succeed on your first try?

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784