Aug 16, 2013

Hashem as our Father

I read a moving article in which the author, a counselor in a Russian camp, described visiting day.  How saddened she was to see the family members, "estranged Yiddish parents, some of whom were descendents of chassidishe rabbonim and chashuve gedolim, others were children of simple erliche Yidden.  These neshamos were so cut off, so unfamiliar with their people's customs ..

"I suddenly felt the terrible feeling of a parent whose beloved child is off the derech.  The pain, the hurt, the broken heart.  It is almost unbearable.  I contemplated the immense suffering Hashem must feel, having so many wayward children ..."

What immediately comes to my mind is - what is the comparison? Do parents rip Yiddishkeit away from their children and then mourn their going off the derech? Or do they try to raise them in a wholesome, Jewish environment and, for whatever reasons, their chinuch efforts do not bear the expected results?

Hashem is the one who had the shuls, yeshivos and mikvaos close in Russia.  Hashem is the one who made life so miserable in Eastern Europe that poverty-stricken and persecuted Jews left for America in their millions.  Hashem made Hitler rise to power and annihilate most of European Jewry.  That most Jews today have not had a proper chinuch is not, for the most part, because parents withhold it from their children, but because Hashem set things up in such a way that most of His children are estranged. 

Why He chose to do this is inexplicable to us.  Maybe, contrary to Hashem feeling grief over His handiwork, He feels joy at every single mitzvah estranged Jews keep.  Because unlike a parent whose children has left the path, Hashem's children who never had the path, still feel a warmth toward Yiddishkeit.  The neshama still flickers.

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