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Lost in a Corn Maze & the Lessons we learned

Friday, 16 October, 2020 - 10:23 am

 Last week in the middle of Sukkot we went on a family trip to a farm in Thompson, Connecticut, which among other things has a huge corn maze. I was in awe when we arrived and saw the size of the maze and all the kids were quickly ready and excited for the challenge.

We entered the maze, but quickly discovered that the corn stalks which were eight feet tall and very thick, all looked the same once you were inside and it was actually more challenging than we had anticipated. Of course we didn’t give up and we worked together and tried not to separate so that we could figure out the various challenges along the paths and also make progress and get where we needed to.

At one point after a lot of progress, we suddenly seemed to be going backwards and heading all the way back to where we started. The kids were yelling, “this is the wrong way” and “we are just losing all the gains that they had worked so hard to achieve” and I too was almost beginning to wonder if we were making an epic mistake. Suddenly just like that, we came across a new path that we had been looking for, and all the kids yelled in excitement, as we realized that this path would take us well beyond the point we had been at before and was actually the path that lead us to successfully complete the maze.

As we trekked through the corn and enjoyed the beautiful weather, I turned to my children and we discussed how the maze is a lesson for life as in a certain sense life is almost like a maze. A wrong turn here, a dead end there, progress every so often and then all too often we have regression too when it might appear as if we are losing all of the gains that we just made.

Yet in truth just like the maze, even the regressions when viewed with the right attitude, can become the tipping points which help us get where we need to and accomplish and reach out goals.

Tomorrow in Synagogues around the world we will once again be starting the Torah anew as we begin reading the very first portion of the Torah, Bereshit. It contains a tremendous amount of ideas and teachings, and it also contains the first mistakes of humanity when they were placed in the maze called earth, and it includes the sin of eating the forbidden fruit and a few other incidents. Indeed, the sin of eating the prohibited food represented a terrible failure by Adam and Eve, as the one thing that they had been asked not to do, they ended up doing. G-d was upset and Adam and Eve were embarrassed by their actions as they realized that they had just caused a regression and made a big wrong turn in the world that G-d had created.

Yet the story doesn’t end there, as the Torah continues to tell us how Adam and Eve start over in a different setting and this time they do things right. In Jewish mysticism is teaches us, how in a sense the whole thing was a setup by G-d, to teach Adam and Eve and indeed all of humanity, that life is not going to be about perfection. Instead, life is going to have moments of great success and progress and yet it will also include moments of failure and back steps, when all the progress we are making seems to be unraveling. Man’s job during these moments is not to lose sight of the goal, and realize that our job is to pick ourselves backup and find a way to carry on, and sometimes we might even be able to use the moments of failure and back steps as springboards for the progress of the future.

Indeed the cornstalks and scenes that play out in our lives, at times looks confusing and sometimes we hit dead ends and go in circles, but let us hold on tight, and learn how to continue navigating forward and indeed how to use the failures and pitfalls as the springboards for our continued progress.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos

Comments on: Lost in a Corn Maze & the Lessons we learned

Sheila Courchaine wrote...

Years ago my family and I were walking in the Upton Park and we always went around a path the same way. One time we decided to go left instead of right and we got terribly lost. It was a long walk but eventually we found our way out. We used all our senses and did not give up. The corn maze story is definitely a great life lesson!
Sheila Courchaine. ( a former Hebrew Class student)