In this week’s parsha we talk about the value of persisting despite obstacles.

A child participating in a state-wide marathon, finishes in second place.

As he crosses the finish line, reporters gather around, asking him questions in light of his near-win, which they imagine must be frustrating to the young boy. “So will you run again?” they ask.

“Absolutely!” answers the child, resolutely, “I’m determined to try again!”

To the child’s great surprise, he is suddenly handed the winner’s trophy.

“The purpose of this race was not to discover the fastest runner,” the marathon organizers tell the boy, “but rather to determine the most strong-minded individual who would not waver even if success would not reach him instantly…and you won!”

I often hear the familiar lament: “It’s too late. I’m just not a good Jew. G-d won’t look at me.”

Believe it or not, none of that is true in G-d’s eyes. Indeed, Hashem has an unconditional love towards us, the kind of love that really ought to motivate us to better ourselves – not to give up.

As we finish reading the last book of the Torah this year, we find an incredibly inspiring message in the final verse. The Torah concludes with the infamous breaking of the luchot – the holy tablets containing the Ten Commandments – seemingly, an awfully tragic ending.

But our sages teach us, that in fact, the breaking of the tablets inherently signifies G-d’s great love for the Jewish people.

How is it that this seeming misfortune expresses goodness?

Though the first tablets were pristine, G-d allowed them to be broken to give way for something even greater: the second tablets, which signified a Jewish identity that survives, no matter what. The second tablets declared that regardless of our failures, and in spite of the fact that we may slip up, G-d never gives up on us.

As the Talmud says, even when we fall and don’t consciously mirror our Jewish identity, we are still Jewish, and so beloved by G-d.

G-d believes in us. G-d never gives up on the Jewish people. Let’s keep this message in mind, and remain resolute in our ability to always pick ourselves up, reaching new and incredible heights in spite of our setbacks.