One time our synagogue was graced with a visit from our Chief Rabbi from Israel. Before the reception several members of the synagogues committee, some local Rabbis and a few of the more community-active members of the community sat in a small reception room with the distinguished guest. We were all very pleasantly surprised by the great man’s personable unassuming manner. When the Baal Koreh [our Torah reader] was introduced the Rabbi asked him, “Are you a good reader?” Slightly taken aback my flushed friend replied, “I try to do my best every Shabbat.” The Chief Rabbi then said, “What do you do when the people yell out a correction when you make a mistake?” “I go back and read it correctly and smile a little to let everyone know that I am appreciative of their constructive criticism. Then when Shabbat is over I mark my practice book with the mistakes I made that week so that next year when I read the same portion I will take special care not to repeat an error,” answered my friend. The Chief rabbi smiled and stretched out his hand for my friend to kiss and get a special blessing. “You are an excellent Torah reader said the Rabbi.
Everyone makes mistakes. We are all human and imperfect. Even someone who is extremely cautious will sometimes err. Whether the issue is sports, business, intellectual pursuits or spiritual growth no one is exempt from an occasional faux pas. Our sages teach that a Tsaddeek falls seven times and gets up each time to continue on the path to perfection. Today when you slip up stop. Don’t cover up, deny or ignore your mistake. Use it positively by taking steps to learn from the error and move forward. It only takes a minute but it will help you improve daily to become an “excellent reader.”
DID YOU KNOW THAT
If someone is not able to walk to Synagogue on Shabbat in order to participate in prayers with a minyan then it is permitted for a non-Jew to wheel the individual in a wheel chair even if there is no erub in the area. The ruling is based on the fact that this labor is considered “sheboot disheboot bimkom misvah” i.e. overlapping Rabbinical safeguards against Shabbat desecration in the face of misvah performance. [Source Yabiah Omer 9, O’H, Siman 34].