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We are at the threshold of Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year (Starting Wednesday evening, September 7th through September 9, 2010). As we are
at the end of the last month of the Jewish Year, the month of Elul, we
should reflect the relationship that H-shem wants to have with His people. Today is the last day of the Jewish month of Elul, the final day of the Jewish year of 5770. Elul is the
acronym for “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li”, “My beloved is mine, and I am
his;” (Songs of Songs, 2:16). This verse is a beautiful expression of the
burning love G-d has for His children, the Jewish nation. As the previous year
comes to a conclusion and a new year begins, Hashem gives us the opportunity to
reflect and make whatever improvements we need to make a new start. G-d
anxiously awaits his children’s return to the ways of their fathers and their
renewed commitment to its traditions.
The following story was told by Rabbi Yitzchak Feldheim, a rabbi in
Yardley, Pennsylvania, who heard it several years ago from an elderly gentleman
in his community. It is included in the collection of stories in the book,
Touched by a Story published by Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, New
York. This moving story captures the essence of the upcoming High Holidays with
a message directed to our neshamos, our souls.
Jason was a very bright boy, who liked to dabble in electronics. He was a
quiet and intelligent boy. Jason was viewed by his peers as somewhat of a
recluse and he didn’t have many friends. His parents urged him to make friends
and be like the other boys his age, but he was too much into his hobby to have a
social life and he felt that his parents were just bothering him too much.
Jason was only 17, he created his own invention, which made him a millionaire
overnight. He soon became very popular. His parents warned him about people
trying to get close to him only because of his new wealth. But he didn’t
listen to their beneficial advice. He told them once and for all that they
should stay out of his life and never speak him again. That was the last time he
had any contact with his parents.
Jason was enjoying the “good life”. He met and married a young lady. Neither
of their parents were present at the wedding. Thus, he began his new life.
Within a year they had their first child. Life seemed to be
He was only 19, when one day, someone offered Jason the “chance of a
lifetime”. Jason invested all the millions he had made in this short time into
this once-in-a-lifetime proposition. He waited for the phone call that would
inform him of the success of the deal, but the phone call never came nor the
anticipated millions in revenue. The entire thing was just a scam. As fast as he
became a millionaire, he was now reduced to a pauper. Jason was devastated. When
Jason’s wife found out about the scam, she left him, taking her child with
her. Now Jason was left with nothing.
Jason started wandering aimlessly about and sleeping on park benches. One
day, a man who didn’t know him took notice of him and urged him to share his
story. The man took pity on Jason and brought him to his home and offered him
food and a change of clothing. The man convinced Jason to contact the only
people that probably still cared for him – his parents.
Jason was very reluctant to contact his parents. He felt remorseful and
ashamed of how he treated his parents; not showing them any respect and not
including them in any part of his life. After a great emotional struggle, and
through many tears, Jason decided to write to his parents. After all the pain
that he surely caused them, he did not have the courage to contact them directly
and ask if they would accept him back.
In the letter, he asked forgiveness of his parents for all grief that he
caused them and told them that he needed them in the worst way. Knowing that
they may refuse to have anything to do with him, he asked his parents for a
small favor. He told them that he would take the train, which would arrive in
their town on a certain date at 7:30 p.m. About fifty yards from the train stop
there was a large oak tree. If his parents found it within themselves to take
him back and forgive him for his past sins to them, they should hang a small
white flag on a branch of the tree and he would know that they were willing to
forgive him. And if not, he would just stay on the train and continue on to the
The day of the train ride arrived. As the train slowly made its way to
the designated stop, Jason was reluctant to look to see if the white flag hung
from the tree. As the stop came into view he saw the large oak tree and
saw….the entire tree was covered in a huge white cloth. The train stopped and
Jason jumped off…into the loving arms of his parents. Through hugs and hot
tears his parents whispered, “Welcome home, son…welcome home.
Hashem is our Father in Heaven. He
will never relinquish His love for His children.