Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
On Rosh Hashana we will be saying the famous prayer of Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father our King).These words have a powerful meaning which can be understood through the following story that I heard from Rabbi YY Jacobson (Founder and Dean of TheYeshiva.net).
There once was a rabbi that specialized in working with at risk youth. He worked tirelessly to reach out to these young adults and connected with them in many ways to bring them back to the way of Torah. One day a tragedy struck in his home and his youngest child took ill and passed away suddenly. As he was sitting shiva, a group of these boys walked in to pay a shiva call. The leader of the group made a pledge on behalf of the group and said the following, “Rabbi, you have done so much for us and we are grateful to you. To show our appreciation, we have accepted upon ourselves to observe this coming Shabbos in memory of your son.” This group of boys had not kept Shabbos in years. The rabbi was touched and sincerely thanked them for this gesture.
As the boys left, people commented, “Really!! Is that all they could do for you after all you have done for them. Just one Shabbos – they should accept much more than that.”
The rabbi said, “You don’t get it. Think about what one Shabbos means. Do you know what I would give to have my son alive for one more Shabbos? To walk to shul together, to bless him, to tuck him in his bed at night, to watch him play, etc. You can’t minimize what that represents.” These words alone would have been enough of a rebuke, but the rabbi went one step further and continued, “Think about G-d and how HE feels about his children, to have then at HIS table for one Shabbos, how precious that must be to HIM.“
The rabbi didn’t focus on what it meant to him personally, but to Our Father in Heaven. This rabbi understood Avinu Malkeinu, G-d is our Father and we are all His children. Let us all keep that in mind as we approach the New Year and pray for all of His children to be together at His table once again with the coming of Moshiach in our times .