Torah Musings: Everything is Fixable


Everything is Fixable

Sarah Pachter

As a young child, I always saw my brother pouring over books at the kitchen table. He was in an endless state of studying, whether for pre-med classes or the MCAT. Watching him, I realized two things: First, he could probably teach me a thing or two about retaining information. Secondly, I knew I never wanted to be a doctor.

At one point, I asked my brother for help studying. He shared some sage advice that I continued to draw upon even years later. He said, “Studying for a test is like gathering information and putting it into a drawer. Then, during the test, when you see the problem in front of you, all you have to do is open the drawer and pull it out. The solution is there, you just have to find it.”

Life itself is a test, and the solution to its problems is there—we just have to uncover it. Hashem plants every solution into a metaphorical “drawer.” We just have to open up and search for it.

The Gemara writes, “Hashem boreh refua lifnei hamakah.” (“Hashem creates the healing before the ailment.”)[1]

Teshuvah, repentance, is a prime example of this concept, since it was established before the world was even created.[2] Teshuvah is one of the 613 commandments, which means that in order to fulfill the mitzvah of teshuvah, one must sin! The “problem” is the aveirah, but the solution, teshuvah, was created even beforehand.

From here we learn that the problem is actually the necessary first step to the solution!

Commentaries explain that on Har Sinai we achieved such holy heights that if it was not for the Golden Calf, we would not have needed to build a mishkan (tabernacle). Why, then, are we commanded in Parshat Terumah to build the sanctuary before the Golden Calf even occurred?

The Torah is precise in all its ways. The building of the mishkan, which is meant to bring us close to G-d, is mentioned before the sin of the Golden Calf, which distanced us from Hashem. This lesson teaches us that G-d provides the solution before the problem even occurs.[3]

Another hint to this connection between the mishkan and the Golden Calf is described when Moshe calls B’nei Yisrael to learn the laws of the the mishkan. Usually, the Torah would describe that Moshe “commanded”; yet, here it uses an unusual term—vayakel, he “gathered” the Jewish nation. Vayakel was the very same word used to assemble the Jewish people in order to create the Golden Calf. This strengthens the connection between the solution, the mishkan, and the problem, the Golden Calf.[4]

Hashem, in His ultimate kindness, always has a solution ready before He even creates the tragedy. This is a kindness that as parents we can extend to our children.

In our house, when something spills or breaks, I started saying a catchphrase: “Everything is fixable!”

Spilled juice on the floor? Instead of groaning, I aim to cheerily respond, “Everything is fixable.”

A child’s project broke on the way home from school? This gets an “Everything is fixable,” from me. (Thank G-d for glue guns!)

Two children are fighting over a toy? “Everything is fixable—kids, can you come up with a solution so everyone is happy?”

Someone lost their cool and yelled at another family member? “Everything is fixable. Two words can do it: I’m sorry.”

When we show our children the power of teshuvah, they begin to understand that Hashem, the ultimate parent, provides the solution to any problem, big or small. Eventually, this enables them to develop the tools to find the solution within themselves. In turn, they grow into confident and grounded adults, who feel security from their own inner guidance.

Sometimes, the solution is latent, but it’s always there, buried deep within, ready to be uncovered. Just like we expect our children to take part in finding the solution by using their natural intuition, it is up to us to tap into our inner child and search for personal salvations.

In Tehillim it writes, “Tov lehodot lahashem…ulehaggid baboker chasdecha, ve’emunatcha baleilot.”

Many commentaries explain this phrase to mean that we praise Hashem during good times so that in dark times we maintain faith. On a deeper level, “ve’emunatecha” means belief in you. This is not just referring to our faith in G-d, but rather His faith in us. He believes in our capacity to find the solution amidst the darkness. Hashem has provided the solution, and anticipates our success in utilizing the tools we have on Earth to find it.

Sometimes, the problem is baleilot. It is so dark that the solution is happening, yet we can’t see it—even if it is right in front of us. We must remember that Hashem is orchestrating everything, even when it is not visible to us.

I had a student who was upset about a guy who ended their relationship. The pang of rejection stung, yet during her time of inner turmoil, unbeknownst to her, Hashem was opening a new door for the man that she is now engaged to.

Sometimes the “baleilot” is simply too large or overwhelming to simply say, “Everything is fixable.” When we are in such difficult beleilot, the solution may just be to remember that Hashem is with us in our moment of sorrow. At other dark times, the solution is the growth that occurs within us. We can ask ourselves lemahwhat is the reason for this—rather than lamahwhy is this happening to me? The solution is about who we become through the process of our pain, rather than the final outcome. Sometimes the “everything is fixable” catchphrase has more to do with reassuring our inner selves than an external situation.

Next time you are amidst a test, with a problem permeating your entire being so thoroughly that you see no way out, remember that everything is fixable. Whatever the test may be, gather up and assemble all the information you have in your arsenal. Call upon your courage, the strength in your inner sanctuary, in your soul. Vayakel, open up your personal drawer, and you will discover the key that will unlock the gates of peace of mind and blessing.

The solution is in there, we just have to find it.

[1] Bavli, Megilah 13b

[2] Talmud Pesachim 54

[3] Torah for Your Table, Jungreis, pg. 140

[4] Jungreis, pg. 156