A Broken Heart

I signed up for Rabbi Simon Jacobson’s 60 Day Journey to the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) email list. I get an email every day to prepare me spiritually and mentally for this Jewish New Year and the Yom Kippur. The emails have been amazing, but none better than today’s email. Here it is:

Wednesday, September 9
Elul 20


We all make mistakes and break things in our life, but life also breaks us. We’ve all been broken in one way or another. We have all experienced broken promises or broken relationships; we have experienced the loss of a job or the loss of a loved one.

Different people react in a different manner to the hurt that inevitably accompanies breakage. Some people are devastated. Others grow because of it.

Some people have strength, some don’t. And there is a reason why. A tree that doesn’t fall over in a storm is a tree that was strong before the storm. The storm just revealed the strength of the trees. But a tree with no roots may be able to stand up in normal weather, but it breaks when a storm strikes.

And yet, the miracle of creation is that, paradoxically, the more broken you are now the more whole you have the chance to become.

The Rebbes teach that there is nothing as complete as a broken heart. When your heart is broken, you are in a place that is real.

Why is a broken wall the holiest place for Jews? Why do Jews stand and pray at a broken wall when there are such beautiful edifices around? Because, Jews know that this isn’t a perfect world. As long as the world is not perfect, Jews cannot stand in a beautiful edifice. Jews can only stand and cry at a broken wall.

The illusion of perfect edifices in an imperfect world makes us feel good. But it is an illusion nevertheless—good for Hollywood and Broadway, but it’s not reality.

The reality is that the world is a broken place—it’s a broken place full of broken people whose job is to mend what is broken.

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