Parshat Ki Teitzei: When at first you don’t succeed, try again


Zachary Langer | KSDS

This week’s haftorah portion is the fifth in a series of haftorot that represent God comforting us after our actions led to the destruction of the First and Second Temples on Tisha B’Av. Between Tisha B’Av and the High Holidays, God is trying to make us feel better and give us a second chance.

(Courtesy of Zachary Langer)

In this week’s haftorah, which is from the Book of Isaiah, God says: “In slight anger, for a moment, I hid My face from you; but with kindness everlasting I will take you back in love” (54:8).

In the Book of Isaiah the Israelites were being bad people. They abused the poor, killed other people, followed idols, and cheated each other. But God was still willing to give them a second chance. The message for this week’s haftorah is that God’s kindness allows us to try again and be better.

I am currently in seventh grade. Some mistakes I made in the past were when I didn’t do my homework or did poorly on a test. Moving past these mistakes can be hard. As my dad says, “You have to put in the work.” To fix my mistakes I have had to study, ask questions, and find people to help me. Having the opportunity to fix my mistakes both helps me learn the subject matter and also teaches me the importance of study skills.

A second chance helps people reach their potential, if they are willing to put in the work. This also relates to the Jewish calendar. As each new year comes, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah and try to be better. Every year we make a lot of mistakes, but Rosh Hashanah is when we get a new chance.

The Hebrew word for sin is chet, which really means “to go astray.” Even though your mistake takes you off the right path, when God gives a second chance you’re able to repent, change, and come back onto the path. But to do this, you have to put in the work!

Zachary Langer is in seventh grade at Krieger Schechter Day School in Pikesville.

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