Photo Credit: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Last week I wrote about the eternal love affair between the Jewish people and our Heavenly Father. I referred to the acronym of Elul, the month we currently find ourselves in: “Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li –I Am My Beloved and My Beloved is Mine” – meaning I love my G-d and my G-d loves me.

It is this month that brings us to Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the homecoming of our people to Hashem. And that homecoming reflects the special love affair that has lasted for millennia all over the world. We crossed continents; we lived and continue to live in every nook and cranny on this planet. But wherever fate placed us, the love of our people for Hashem remained strong and vibrant.


I recall vividly the early days of our Hineni movement, created to bring Jews back to G-d. I knew I needed to reach masses of people, so I chose Madison Square Garden. I opened that occasion with words I knew would electrify the crowd:

“You are a Jew. You have traversed the four corners of the world. You have known oppression. You have experienced torture, inhuman suffering. You have been forced to wander from country to country. You have been cast into the flames – killed by the sword and stuffed in gas chambers. But you have forgotten your past. You have forgotten who you really are. You have forgotten your prayers.

“But the love affair has remained – engraved for all eternity in your heart. That love affair can be summed up through just one little prayer – a prayer that pierces the sound barrier and has the ability to fly up to the sky, even to the Heavenly Abode of Almighty G-d. That magic prayer has kept every Jew connected to his G-d.

“Who does not recognize this formula that is so powerful it can survive every flame, every oppression, and even the enticements of assimilation? Every Jew knows this prayer. It blazes in his heart. ‘Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem ECHAD.’ ”

Shema Yisrael – the eternal prayer that can rekindle the Pintele Yid in the heart of every Jew.

This week I would like us to focus on the manner in which we can bring joy to our Father and reestablish our relationship with Him. Our Father’s love has never diminished. His love accompanied us wherever we found ourselves throughout the centuries, even though we may not always have been aware of it.

If not for that love we would not have survived the centuries of persecution and genocide. There has never been a period in history when we have not been persecuted, hounded, tortured, and murdered. The nations of the world never tire of plotting our destruction – but in the end they do not succeed. Great empires rise and fall but we live on.

In the Passover Haggadah we proclaim this loud and clear: “In every generation they rise up to destroy us but the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from their hand.”

We can look back on the long centuries and see the veracity of these words. So how is it possible that too many of our people are still indifferent and even shamefully hostile to their heritage – and, yes, to their Heavenly Father, who never stops loving us? How can it be? How can it be?

This sad reality should bother every caring Jew and cause him to ask, “What can I do to bring some joy to my Heavenly Father who has lost so many of His children??

If you are a parent, surely you understand the unbearable pain of losing a child. If you are a son or a daughter, surely you understand the excruciating pain of losing a father or a mother. I am not referring to parents or children who have physically died. That, unfortunately, is a tragic reality of life. At the end of the day the cemetery is the ultimate destination of every human being.

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