'The first time it was a mistake. The second time it was a choice. The third time it became a habit', goes the saying. This quote is timeless, but has a particular significance as of June 19, 2020, as concern of a 'Second Wave' weighs on the mind. And we most certainly pray that there will be no third one!

It is worthwhile noting that, regarding a second wave, Judaism is ahead of the game. We've been warning against a second wave since before bagels and lox were invented! Well, not exactly in this context, but close enough.

There's an old tale of a gentleman who, hours before Yom Kippur - the day of atonement - knocks on his friend's door. The friend opens the door, and was greeted with a resounding blow! 'What was that for?!', asked the stunned fellow. 'My apologies', replied his friend, ' but I needed to have something to ask G‑d to forgive me for on Yom Kippur!'.

The truth is, that - aside for that fine gentleman frantically searching for a sin to commit in his otherwise perfect life - we all make mistakes. They're actions that weigh down on our consciousness, and whose repercussions may be felt long afterwards. And that's OK, because we're human beings. Just as G‑d intended for us to be. We strive to fix our mistakes, and, most of all, learn to grow from them. Our mistakes and our ability to make them are what make us human.

While remorse and correction are very important in correcting our errors, there is a category of guilty conscience, a kind of regret which is frowned upon in Jewish thought. And that is 'Second Wave' regret.

First Wave regret is regretting - and growing from - our mistakes. That is a very positive trait. Second Wave regret, however, is regretting our very status as imperfect human beings. It's regretting the human fallibility which brings about mistakes in the first place. It's the sort of regret whose focus is not on repairing the mistake we might've made, but lamenting the very fact that we're prone to make them. It's getting upset about the fact that we tend to get upset, getting angry about the fact that we tend to get angry.

That second wave of guilt is to be avoided at all costs.

In this week's Torah portion we read of the Mitzvah of 'Tzitzit' - the fringes worn on a four cornered garment, otherwise known as a 'Tallit'. The reason for this Mitzvah is, in the words of the Torah itself, so 'you will remember all the commandments of G‑d to perform them, and you shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes after which you are going astray'.

Why so pessimistic? What if I don't let my 'heart and mind' lead me astray? What if I'm practically a saint?

Because our imperfect status as human beings is to be embraced, not shunned. 'First Wave' regret - regretting our mistakes and fixing them - is crucial to leading a meaningful life. 'Second Wave' regret - regretting and rejecting our human imperfections - is counterproductive.

The one, monumental advantage which our human imperfections bring forth, is sincerity. A perfect being, by its very definition, cannot be sincere. For its perfection always leaves one wondering what it would have done had it been faced with a genuine challenge. The human being, precisely due to his or her imperfections, has the capacity to exhibit true sincerity - real commitment to kindness, selflessness, faith and love. It's sincere because the human being can choose to be otherwise, yet chooses the good nonetheless. That is real. That is priceless. It is the invaluable asset of our humanity, and is to be treasured, appreciated and embraced.

Rabbi Avrohom