With the 18th of Elul afoot, I think about my sweet parents.
One of the great blessings of having parents is that it gives us the single
best metaphor for our relationship with G‑d.
Heaven protect us, Heaven
protect everyone, from being orphaned at a young age! Is there any suffering
that puts the soul in greater peril of despairing of the presence of G‑d?
It is only the greatest of
souls that can reconfigure such a personal apocalypse into an opportunity to
experience the metaphor in its purity and as a flesh and blood reality. “A
father to the fatherless ... is G‑d” (Psalm 68:6).
Such an extraordinary soul
belonged to Yisrael the son of Eliezer and Sarah of Okopy, who came to be known
as the Baal Shem Tov.
Only the Holy One, blessed be
He, knows whether the Baal Shem Tov “needed” this terrible ordeal to come to
his wisdom. All that we know is that he did not keep the wisdom to himself
(read an exquisite story about that here). As we celebrate the birth of this
extraordinary soul on 18 Elul, may we experience profound gratitude for the
life of a man who, through his orphanhood at the age of three, was able to
experience the sweet word Tatteh,
“Daddy,” as a Divine Name -- and who
taught all of us how to get to know G‑d on such intimate terms.
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team.