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In the Land of Obmah

In the Land of Obmah

A Rosh Hashanah story

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Once there was a glorious land known as Obmah, which was established by the good King Avmal. This King Avmal had built many fabulous cities throughout the land of Obmah, and had established ministries to maintain the cities and to ensure they functioned, flourished and grew.

A devious person, the evil Mezouks, then rose like a dark cloud to challenge and overthrow King Avmal. Mezouks promised great and marvelous rewards to all who would support his designs on the throne. Mezouks slandered the good King Avmal and convinced most of the inhabitants of Obmah to support his campaign. It was not long before Mezouks was able to call himself the King of Obmah.

The coronation and festivities had barely concluded, and King Avmal's former subjects already began to feel the oppressive hand of King Mezouks. Over the following months his grip on the kingdom tightened. The people began to realize that the golden promises were nothing more than iron fetters that enslaved them to Mezouks' tyrannical rule. Celebrations for their new sovereign were replaced by regret and remorse.

And so it was that the Elders of Obmah gathered in secret and conspired to reinstate their founder, protector and former ruler, the good King Avmal. Under the blanket of a pretext, they traveled to the last bastion of loyalty to Avmal remaining in the kingdom, the deep caves of the Igsirous District. For it was in those deep caves that King Avmal sat and mourned the loss of his kingdom, whilst dreaming of his eventual return.

The Elders of Obmah arrived in the District after a full month of determined journeying. With trepidation and hope they approached the Igsirous stronghold. They were immediately accosted by wary guards, who demanded to know their intentions.

With great emotion, the Elders asked for an audience with the good King Avmal. The guards informed them that the wise Avmal had given them a sign by which to know whether any delegation is sincere or whether they should drive them away. Should the delegates approach with tears and obviously true emotion, they are to be trusted.

Thus, the Elders were escorted before the presence of the good King Avmal. The Elders then pleaded in the name of the entire land of Obmah that the king forgive them and return to rule them with wisdom and kindness. The king then addressed them, asking: If you traded my rule for the false promises of that wretched Mazouks, and if you were his loyal subjects up until now, then why do you address me as 'King'? Is not Mezouks your king...?

Weeping and ashamed, the Elders cried out: No, no! Mezouks is not our king! He tricked us and we foolishly fell into his trap. You are our only king, and we will never accept any other!

Avmal accepted their apology and repentant request. He emerged from the deep caverns of Igsirous to retake his land. The entire Obmah rejoiced and swore allegiance to their true king. The sound of the coronation trumpets reached the ears of the wicked Mazouks. Terrified, he fled the land of Obmah. He found refuge in the Becho Mountains, where he settled to his dreams of revolution and revenge.


Each one of us is a miniature kingdom, our limbs and organs like so many cities formed with intricate wisdom by our Father and King (Avinu Malkeinu).

We are all approached by the evil inclination (referred to by our Sages as melech zakein uk'sil, "an old and foolish king"), who wishes to snatch control of our minds and hearts and ultimately rule over our entire body: that our minds should think the errant thoughts he supplies for us, our mouths should speak the script he writes for us, and our hands should act by his command. He makes lavish promises of the life of pleasure and satisfaction we will enjoy when we submit to his reign.

Thus a perpetual battle rages in the land of Obmah (our bodies, minds and hearts), for the two kings each wish to win the loyalty of their subjects and reign unchallenged over the land.

You cannot fool everyone all the time, they say. There is a time on our calendar for soul-searching. During the month of Elul we review the past year; our achievements and failures. Being human, we inevitably find that slowly but surely a part of our conduct has fallen under the control of our bad king within. We have a month to travel to the exiled King, to re-crown him as sole ruler over our body, mind, and heart.

Even the most entrapped amongst us has the ability to reach "the Igsirous stronghold"-- the Indestructible G‑dly Spark In the Recesses of Our Soul, that unpollutable core to which our Father and King allows Himself to be exiled in the name of free choice. In the caverns of our heart He sits and mourns the loss of His kingdom, yet is comforted by His faith in our ultimate return to loyalty.

Our journey culminates on Rosh Hashanah. Then we face our King. His heavenly guards allow our prayers access to His presence, provided they are sincere. Ah, we are asked, but if we have allowed ourselves to fall into the trap of our evil inclination, willingly appointing him as ruler, then why do we now call G‑d "King"?

Related Audio
"Avinu Malkeinu" Audio
Composed by chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the words to this song are from the High Holiday prayers: Aveinu, Malkeinu, ein lanu melech ela ata--"Our Father, our King, we have no king but You!"
Listen Audio | Musical Notes & Info

Our response is to fling open the ark during the Rosh Hashanah prayers, and loudly proclaim: Aveinu, Malkeinu, ein lanu melech ela ata--"Our Father, our King, we have no king but You!" We ask His forgiveness and beg for His return. He accepts our petitions, and at the sound of the Shofar, our faithful annual coronation trumpet, the evil king flees...

Yet G‑d refuses to eliminate His rival. Rather he flees today to fight tomorrow. He sits and plots revenge in the sublime mystery of Bechirah Chafshit, our free choice.

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Jason Schwadel indian harbour beach, fl October 2, 2011

So many false kings and so many false promises. History moves forward but the challenges remain the same. Have a sweet and new year to all readers. Reply

ys nm September 7, 2010

cool keep up the awesome work! Reply

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