We Are All Refugees: Starting a New Year with God

A beautiful thought, but we think ourselves incapable of acting on it. We regard ourselves as too flawed, too stained by our misdeeds to aspire to such greatness. So we are frozen into inaction. An earlier Hasidic work, Beis Avrohom, offers a parable to help overcome this paralysis. A lowly soldier stands in wait, part of the honor guard along the route that the king is expected to travel. The king's arrival is significantly delayed. Being a hot day, the soldier uses the extra time to freshen up. He sheds his clothes, and takes a dip in the river. Unexpectedly, he hears the approach of the king's entourage, approaching quite rapidly. This plunges him into a state of confusion and doubt. Hardly in a state to receive the king, he considers that he should perhaps hide himself. On the other hand, his job calls for him being on hand to honor the king.

He decides that he simply cannot lose the opportunity to receive the king, and stands naked and exposed at his post. While others are horrified, the king discerns that his subject's behavior proves that he regards the honor of the king more importantly than his own shame and embarrassment. Instead of punishing him as his advisors, aghast at the bizarre sight, suggest, he bestows a medal upon the soldier for his devotion.

This is our job exactly — to present ourselves before the King on Rosh Hashanah. Despite seeing ourselves as naked and exposed, we must nonetheless participate in the annual reenactment of his coronation.

With so many today mocking belief and strong faith, our assertion of his kingship could not be more important.

We look toward his compassion, hoping that our service will be lovingly accepted, and that the coming year will bring peace and security to all of mankind, along with blessings that can only come when people know him.

9/14/2015 4:00:00 AM