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The Compassionate Father


Introduction:

In a previous letter, we cited the following teachings:

In one prayer, David relates to Hashem as his Mother, and he says to Hashem:

I swear that I calmed and quieted my soul like a suckling child on its mother, like a suckling child is my soul.” (Psalm 131:2)

Like a suckling child is my soul” – My soul within me was before You as an infant suckling its mother’s breasts. (Commentary of Rashi)

In another prayer, David records the following words of Hashem concerning His loving and fatherly relationship with David:

And My faithfulness and My lovingkindness shall be with him…He (David) will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father; my God and the Rock of my salvation.’ ” (Psalm 89:25, 27)

In this letter, we shall cite some additional sources which refer to Hashem as the compassionate Father.


Dear Friends,

As we discussed previously, there is a special blessing which serves as an introduction to the morning psalms. This blessing is known as Baruch Sh’omar – Blessed is the One Who spoke, and in the opening passage, it states:

Blessed is the One Who has compassion on the earth; blessed is the One Who has compassion on the creatures.”

It is not enough, however, to begin our morning psalms with the consciousness that Hashem is the One Who has compassion on the earth and on the creatures. We need to also be conscious that Hashem has compassion on us!  In this spirit, the next segment of Baruch Sh’omar begins with the following words:

Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, Sovereign of the Universe, the God Who is the compassionate Father.”

When our compassionate Father began to redeem us from bondage, He told Moshe to give the following message to Pharaoh:

My firstborn child is Israel” (Exodus 4:22).

As Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains, Israel is the firstborn among the peoples in the spiritual sense, and in the future, the other peoples will join Israel as Hashem’s children.

In the above verse, Israel, as a single entity, is called the “child” of Hashem. In another verse, Moshe proclaims to the people that all of them as individuals are the “children” of Hashem:

You are children to Hashem, your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1).

A commentator on the Mishnah, Tiferes Yisrael, discusses the teaching that all the people are Hashem’s children, and in his commentary on Yoma 8:9, he writes:

There is no need for any intermediary whatsoever between the children and their Father, the Compassionate One, since it is His compassion itself that serves as Israel's purification and mikvah (purifying waters).”

This teaching reminds us that even when we stumble and sin, we can always engage in the process of teshuvah – returning to our compassionate Father. The Tiferes Yisrael therefore adds the following insight regarding the relationship between the People of Israel and their Father:

His hands are always open to receive their teshuvah and to embrace them with great love and eternal love.”
The above teaching can give us a deeper understanding of the following prayer which we say before we chant the morning Shema – the proclamation of the Divine Oneness and Unity:

Our Father, the compassionate Father, Who is ever compassionate, have mercy on us and put it into our hearts to gain insight and understanding, to hear, to learn, to teach, to safeguard, to do, and to fulfill all the words of Your Torah’s teaching with love.”

Shalom,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)


Related Teachings:

In the following prayer, the Prophet Isaiah said:

1. “And now, Hashem, You are our Father” (Isaiah 64:7).

According to the commentator, Radak, Isaiah is proclaiming: Even though we sinned before You, we are Your children.

2. The phrase, Avinu Malkeinu – our Father, our Sovereign – appears in a number of our prayers. As we discussed previously, through acknowledging the Compassionate and Life-Giving One as our Sovereign, we remind ourselves that the human being is not the sovereign over the earth, for the role of the human being is to serve as the caretaker of the earth (Genesis 2:15). Given the importance of recognizing the Divine sovereignty, shouldn’t the above phrase first refer to Hashem as “Sovereign” before referring to Hashem as “Father”? In this way, we would pray, “Our Sovereign, our Father.” Instead, we pray, “Our Father, our Sovereign.” Why do we first mention “Father”? The relationship of a child to a parent is more intimate than the relationship of a citizen of a country to its sovereign. The wording of this prayer is therefore indicating that there are occasions when we must first be aware of our intimate closeness to Hashem through being His children, before addressing Him as the Sovereign. This may be why the phrase, “Our Father, our Sovereign,” is repeated again and again in a special prayer that we chant during the ten days of teshuvah between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, as in order to return to Hashem, we need to first be aware of our intimate closeness to Him as His children.

3. The following prayers are chanted on the weekday mornings – Monday and Thursday – when we read a segment from the weekly Torah portion:

As a father has compassion on his children, so may You have compassion on us , O Hashem, and save us for Your Name’s sake.”

May it be the will of our Father in Heaven to establish the House of our lives (the Temple) and to once again cause His Shechinah (Divine Presence) to dwell in our midst, speedily in our days – and let us say, Amen.”

May it be the will of our Father in Heaven that we may hear and receive good tidings of salvation and consolation, and that He may gather our dispersed from the four corners of the earth – and let us say, Amen.”

Hazon – Our Universal Vision: www.shemayisrael.co.il/publicat/hazon/
The letter above was sent as "My Firstborn Child" -181