Shabbos and Yom Tov Divrei Torah
By Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz
Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
Avinu Malkeinu Our Father, Our King
Moshe urged the people to appreciate the fact that although the Almighty afflicted them in the wilderness, the purpose was to test them and refine them. He stated: You should know in your heart that just as a father chastises his son, so Hashem, your G-d, chastises you (8:5)
One of the great chassidic teachers was the Maggid of Mezritch. He explains this verse in a most profound and telling manner through a beautiful parable. Picture a young child beginning to walk. As he takes his first halting steps, his father stands in front of him, holding out his hands and smiling encouragement. As the child reaches out to him, the father steps back, and as he does so, the child, of course, strives to come closer, and thus he learns to walk. The Maggid explains that often Hashem seems to be distancing Himself from us, and we become dismayed, upset and angry, as does the child. But, similar to the child, we push ourselves to come closer, and even though G-d seems to move away from us as we reach out to Him, it is not because He is rejecting us, but rather because He is encouraging us to continue to reach out and to walk on our own. This is why the pasuk uses the expression, as a father chastises his son, so Hashem chastises you. It is important for the Jewish people to ever appreciate that even when G-d seemingly distances Himself from us, He is instructing us and urging us to use our own strengths to come closer to Him.