Choose How to Lose: Throwing “Rightness” to the Ground
An Intention given during Rosh HaShanah Services 5783
There is a midrash, a creative interpretation, on the Creation of humankind that goes like this:
When God began to create the first human being, not all of God’s ministering angels were so clear this was a good idea! They gathered in two camps, one group arguing that human beings were worthy of being created, the other arguing against.
The angel of Lovingkindness said: “Create human beings, because they will perform deeds of kindness.”
To that, the angel of Truth said: “Do not create human beings for they are full of falsehood.”
The angel of Peace retorted: “Do not create them because they will be filled with strife.”
And so on.
Listening to all this back and forth, God then threw the angel of Truth on the ground —
Then created the first human being.
Throwing Truth to the Ground in order to create human beings. What a bold and thought-provoking idea!
I don’t believe this midrash is speaking as much to Truth-with a Capital T -scientific truths, indisputable facts, which when thrown to the ground does leave our ground shaky. We certainly know there are times we must stand up for Truth & Justice or the world will fall apart.
Yet, there is another dimension of truth, which I believe the midrash is speaking to. Truth as in “Rightness.” My truth is better than yours. Truth that comes at the expense of Peace.
It’s the kind of Rightness we see in Jonah at the end of Yom Kippur, who is so focused on being right and being truthful that he does not want to take God’s mission and when he does, he refuses to believe in it. His rightness deprives him of connection and joy.
While truth may be at times very important for us, especially in situations of trauma and real harm done, there are other times when we cling to the Truth to Rightness at the expense of Peace and Love.
Think about the truths that you hold in your life, they may sound something like this:
“My partner never listens to me so I am not going to bother sharing of myself.”
“That person said that horrible thing to me 6 years ago and I am still not ready to talk to them because they never admitted they were wrong.”
“My friend is saying I did something to them and I really don’t think what they are saying is true, so I am not going to apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
And so on…
We hold on so much to our side of the story, our narrative. And in the process of being “RIGHT” we miss out on being intimate, on being known, on being loved.
Therapist and parent coach Brad Reedy says that in relationships, there is no “winning.” Or at least no winning without costs. Instead, he suggests, we have to “choose how to lose.”
In other words: We have to throw that truth to the ground from time to time.
As we continue into the holy work of Teshuvah, reconciliation and repair, I invite each of us to consider what “truths” are we holding on to that are getting in the way of shalom — peace and shleymut-wholeness.
Imagine that we might summon the chutzpah and courage of the Holy One as expressed in this midrash and CAST those truths that are not serving us nor our relationships down to the ground.
In doing so, may we be blessed with peace, wholeness, and connection.
- Bereishit Rabbah 8:8
- Brad Reedy’s Book The Journey of the Heroic Parent and his many podcasts