Shabbat Shalom: Success Through Failure

Mar 9, 2023 | Article

Shabbat Shalom: Success Through Failure

Mar 9, 2023

By: Jillian Feiger
Director of Jewish Student Connection (JSC) and Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour (IST)

In this Shabbat’s Parsha, Moses descends from Mount Sinai with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Upon his descent, he finds that in his absence, his brother Aaron, along with the People of Israel, created a golden calf to be worshiped as an idol. After Moses sees the golden calf and all the debauchery, in his anger, he drops and shatters the tablets.

Despite his disappointment in their behavior, Moses did not abandon his leadership role or the People of Israel. Rather, Moses recognized that true success often comes on the heels of failure. He used this as an opportunity to lead the people and continue to move forward. He realized that failure ultimately helps a leader grow. Moses returns to God to ask for atonement, and as a result of Moses’ conviction and dedication, God gave him a second set of tablets to bring to the people. 

As I reflect on this week’s Torah portion, I am reminded that sometimes the way to happiness and success is through a setback or failure. Given an opportunity to set things right, we must ask forgiveness and try again. Instead of conceding, Moses asked for a second chance to lead and get it right. Certainly, things don’t always go the way we plan. As Jews, we are a people whose history teaches us time and again that life can be replete with second chances. We’re also taught that we are often lucky enough to put things right. And as we do, we keep moving forward toward a brighter future.

Please email Jillian Feiger at with questions or comments.