You are the children of Hashem your G-d (Parshas Re’eh 14:1)

From my own flesh I see Hashem (Iyov 19:26)


This is an excerpt from the diary of Rav Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch:

Thursday, 14 Sivan 5662 Serebrinka
[June 19, 1902]

It is an hour now since I returned from visiting the abandoned old park and its ancient trees – trees with huge, deep holes in their trunks that strike a terror in the heart of the snakes and scorpions that dwell therein. The walks between the rows of trees are overgrown with thorns and nettles, and wherever you turn in the park and square – desolation and ruin.

Little wonder that the hamlet of Serebrinka, and its park in particular, are extremely precious to me, for many are the pleasant memories from the summer of 1900 – when we lived in Serebrinka – which are tied to it, as recounted in my journals of that year. How pleasant it is to stroll along the walks and trails that we then walked, to sit on the benches on which we then sat, for only they can evoke many details of the talks that I heard at the time from father – the nuances of the heart cannot be captured in writing. So immediately upon our arrival here today at six thirty o’clock in the evening, I yearned to visit the park.

For an hour and a half I luxuriated in strolling through and sitting in the park, gazing at the sky and drowning in memories, until I heard the voice of my 3 year old daughter Chanah, may she live, calling to me: “Father, father, where are you.? Father, father, answer me,” repeating her call twice and three times.

The call interjected most aptly into my thoughts: at that very moment I had been thinking about my father’s discourse of the past Shabbos Naso, entitled G-d Descended Upon Mt. Sinai. In it, father cites a metaphor to explain the difference between the Divine flow which comes in response to one’s Torah study and observance of mitzvos and G-d’s response to one’s “service of the heart,” one’s prayer: The service of Torah and mitzvos draws a Divine response comparable to a father’s pleasure in a son who toils in his father’s business to increase his father’s wealth. But the response evoked by prayer a father’s response to his small child who yearns for him cries: “Father, father, answer me.”

Hearing my own daughter’s cries, I sensed in my own self how a child’s call of “father, father” causes a pleasing of the spirit and awakens an inner delight that is incomparably greater than the pleasure accorded by the older son’s most impressive accomplishments.

The calling continued: “Father, father, where are you? Father, father, answer me, hug me.” I followed her voice and she hugged me and told me that grandfather, grandmother and mother were all waiting for me for the evening meal. She too will eat with us, she said with pride, but her younger sister Chaya Mushka (may she live) is already asleep – in fact she slept through the entire trip from Lubavitch and doesn’t even know that we have arrived in the country! – and she laughed in delight.


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