[Looks like Mashiach will have wireless - Israeli biblical park outfits donkeys with wireless routers]
"Failing is just an excuse for me to get better." – K'naan
"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." – Michael Jordan
In my mind, these quotes stand apart from traditional Jewish approaches to repentance because they convey the following rather arrogant messages:
1. I need only work harder in order to get where I need to go.
Failure is not about moral weakness or a demonstration of a flawed character requiring introspection and reconstruction of the self, but only a practical, technical error or non-achievement of a goal.
2. I need not appeal to a higher authority, or another party at all, for aid. It's all in my hands.
Contrast this with the classic Jewish idea of appealing to Gd for aid against the inclination toward sin, and the need for the assistance of mentors and peers in creating the right environment and incentives for growth.
3. I have already perfected myself after past failures, and can reflect on my growth from the perspective of success.
What Torah-based writer will refer to himself as having righted his wrongs and succeeded? What Jewish Jordan would ever present himself as a finished product?
And yet, I love these lines; they sit in a file that is always open on my computer, and they inspire me throughout the month of Elul. I love that arrogance, the assertion that it really is in my hands.
It's almost like Elazar ben Durdaya's recognition regarding his own repentance (Avodah Zarah 17a), אין הדבר תלוי אלא בי, "It depends only upon me," but stronger.
It ain't Rav Kook, but it works for me.