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TV Teaches Torah Lessons. Really!

We all have tsuris (troubles). Some harsher, some more manageable. But we all have tsuris. Most of us are searching for some semblance of sanity in the midst of it. Seeking perhaps those wise words which show us a way beyond the tsuris. You might find your wisdom in self-help books, at the therapist’s, at the Temple. Recently, I found my life’s lessons on television. Three quality shows – Day Break, The Nine and Heroes – captured and held my attention. Each is incredibly engaging and, in between all the intense drama, the well-drawn characters I can connect with and the usual spurts of violence, each broadcasts significant lessons for life. That’s right. There were teachings worthy of Torah on TV!
Day Break: Fix the Man, Fix the Day

Last Saturday night Michelle and I took in a screening of Day Break, ABC’s engaging new series about a guy who wakes up each day to again face the horror of yesterday. Produced by Or Ami member Matt Gross, Day Break asks: “Did you ever have a day so bad you couldn’t wait to get past it? The kind of day nothing goes your way, and everything turns out wrong. What would happen if you couldn’t put this day behind you…literally?” The protagonist Brett Hopper (played by Taye Diggs) has one advantage in his favor – he remembers everything he did the “day before” that did not work. Still, it is a painful learning process because he carries the bruises from every mistake-filled day as he tries to find the delicate balance between doing what’s important and doing what’s right.

Once my heart stopped racing from Day Break’s nonstop action and emotional rollercoaster, I found myself transported back to a lecture years ago. We were discussing the interrelationship between tikun olam (repairing the world) and tikun atzmi (repairing oneself). The lecturer explained that the world cannot be repaired unless and until we simultaneously repair ourselves. To move forward in life, and to move our world forward toward healing and greater morality, we must engage in tikun atzmi – searching inward to uncover our deficiencies and mistakes, and then working purposefully to make good on them. A world full of broken people remains just that – broken. Unless we transform ourselves, learning from our mistakes and healing our relations with others, we are destined, like Brett Hopper in Day Break, to relive the painful, in one form or another, over and over again. So as they say, fix the man (or woman) and you will fix each day.

A bissel – little bit – of Torah on TV, Day Break plays on ABC on Wednesday nights.

[Check out the Day Break Preview and/or the First Act on Video

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