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Thought for the Day: Charata is for the Future ONLY

My front brake cable snapped the other day on my bicycle.  I am not really a belt and suspenders kind of guy, but riding around with only only working brake whose cable is at least as old as the one that just broke makes me nervous.  I therefore stopped into the bike store on the way home to get my front brake fixed.  Of course, when a biker walks into a bike store and has time on his hands (I hadn't brought my pocket Mishna Brura that day), he is going to find something else to buy.  I had been wanting a rear view mirror for a while, and I was already there, and they did the installation for free along with the brake, so... I now have a cool rear view mirror on my bicycle.

What's the point of a rear view mirror?  I know where I've been and I had better keep my eyes set forward, not backward.  That's the point, of course; to go forward safely I need to check what's behind me now.  Certainly I better take a look behind me if I want to change directions.  But even while "staying the course" I need to check the situation behind me from time to time.  Things have a way of changing back there.  On the other hand, I can't focus my attention back there for too long.  Move forward with quick checks behind for potential danger.  I also can't change what's happening behind me; I just have to deal with it.

You know where I am going with this (after all, you read the title).  Charata (regret) is just to check my past to see if there is anything like what I am experiencing now.  I want to remember what has happened to save myself repeating mistakes.  I can't change the past, but I surely can and should learn from it.  Maybe you are thinking, "That's a nice(ish) way of looking at things.  Good psychology and all.  But truthfully, it is TOTALLY different.  Traffic is changing all the time and you yourself are moving, so naturally you have to look behind.  But in life, the past is the past, fixed and unchanging.  Moreover, I caused a lot of those problems, and that eats me up.  So its not like your example at all."

However, I would like to respectfully disagree.  In fact, I think this mashal is one of my least off the mark ones of all time.  There used to be a news anchor by the name of Walter Cronkite.  His tag line was, "That's the way it is."  No it wasn't, actually.  That's the way a handful of events, described from one perspective, with certain prejudices happened.  But there were events ignored and perspectives unexplored.  As I grow, my perspective changes, my prejudices change, my goals and aspirations change.  So it is worth a look back and a reevaluation.  As far as who caused the problems... HaShem did.  He put me into positions with certain personality traits and whatnot.  Looking back, I would do things differently now.  But that is because I am different now, and part of how I am different is because of my past experiences.  That's what makes this mashal so perfect.  I am responsible for each decision I make.  Once it is behind me, though, it just becomes part of the body experience that I need to move forward.

So charata is a rear view mirror.  Take quick looks and move forward.  They say nothing is certain except death and taxes; but staring in the rear view mirror will end in a crash.  Guaranteed.


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