The Baby:

Not too long ago, I was one with you. Encompassed by your limbs, carried by your bones. I breathed with your breath. The blood coursing through your veins pumped into mine. I moved with your every movement.

We were inseparably one.

The Soul:

Before my descent to this world, I was one with You, G‑d, like the fetus in the mother's womb.

I was encompassed within Your will, fused within Your light.

My awareness of my utter dependency on You was palpable, absolute and forever present.

The soul was inseparable from your Oneness.

The Jewish People:

Our nation was conceived with our holy patriarchs and matriarchs, who refined their personalities so that their own inclinations, emotions and actions reflected Your qualities.

They purged themselves of all traces of self and ulterior motive. Their every action was possessed by You, the very vehicles for the expression of Your will.1

Like the fetus within its mother's womb, and like the soul encompassed in You, their connection with You was palpable, their communication with You uninhibited, their awareness of their absolute dependence on You constant.

Our nation was formed on the premise that You and we are inseparably one.

The Baby:

Then came my birth.

Descending, descending.

Physically, it was the most painful journey I have ever experienced.

I did not want to be myself. I did not want to become independent. I wanted to remain surrounded by your warmth, listening to the comforting rhythmic beating of your heart.

I wanted you. Only you.

Alas, the choice was not mine. I emerged into a cold room, surrounded by strangers.

I heard myself cry out so loudly.

But you were quick to comfort me. You enveloped me in your large embrace. You caressed me. You rocked my tiny body. Day and night, you pampered me, caring for my every need, for my every whim.

My eyes were once again fixed only on you. I still felt that I was a part of you.

Once you held me in front of a mirror, but I had no idea it was me. There was no concept of me. Everything was you. You were my entire world.

The Soul:

I leave behind the spiritual idyll to journey to a place of struggle and hardship; a place in which material concerns consume my days and nights, sapping my energy, confusing my priorities.

It is a difficult descent, the most difficult journey of my life.

But in times of spiritual closeness, I still sense Your warmth and Your presence.

Even down here, in this world, there are moments when I feel connected, enveloped by Your warmth.

I am aware of You caring for my every need. I feel confident in Your embrace.

In those moments, I lose my sense of aloneness, knowing that all is from You.

That there is only You.

The Jewish People:

In the beginning of our nation's journey, we palpably felt Your presence enfolding us. Our lives revolved upon our spiritual destiny and routines. The holy Beit Hamikdash, Your home on earth, was a central part of our lives. The daily services were the highlights of our days.

Miracles abounded. You nurtured us. Your protected us openly. You cared for our every need and whim.

Though, on one hand, we were independent beings, we still palpably sensed Your constant presence in our lives.

The Baby:

And now, why do you leave me? I watch you walking towards the door, jacket slung over your shoulder. You blow me a kiss as you wave goodbye.

I crawl over to you, clumsily trying to stand, grasping your skirt.

If I knew words, I'd protest loudly.

Instead, all I can do is whimper. My vocal cords form a crude guttural 'mama' sound. My voice becomes louder, stronger.

No, don't go, I wish I could say. I need you. I need you to hold me. To hug me. To reassure me. To play with me lovingly.

What is it you are saying?

You'll be back so soon, you reassure me.

But don't you realize that I have no concept of time? That these partings are so heart-wrenching for me? That I live with the present and that each moment feels like my eternity?

Stay, I wish I could convince you. Hold me. Hug me.

The Soul:

Challenges are so much a part of my journey.

At those times, I feel a keen ache of separation from You. Our connection is hidden. I feel so far away. So alone.

Traversing a distant land, navigating an unknown path.

I feel abandoned.

I try to cry out to You, but I've forgotten my language. Only the crudest sounds emanate from the depths of my being.

I am in a cold world, one that confuses me, distorts my true will, obscures the truth of Your reality.

I make valiant attempts to reconnect with my source of life.

The Jewish People:

Our nation has experienced times of separation from You. Times when You seem to have abandoned us. Your embrace was not at all apparent. Your presence was hidden.

We were driven from our homeland, forced away from everything dear to us. Our path was unclear. We felt abandoned. Hopelessly trying to cling to You, while being chased to distant lands.


The Baby:

I am a little bigger now. I have begun to sit up on my own, and I can move around and begin to explore my surroundings. I see myself as an individual, with my own body, my own thoughts and my own feelings. I am beginning to express myself.

I am gaining more independence. You take pride in each of my developments. But as I do, I feel myself growing apart from you. I no longer see you as a part of me. And on those occasions, I feel such intense fear when you leave, fear that you are abandoning me.

What is it that you say? That my separation anxiety is a part of the process of my maturation? You try to explain to my young mind that it signifies my growth. That this leap in understanding will open new opportunities for my growing emotional and physical independence.

You explain that all, but still I miss you when you are not here with me. I relish my new capabilities, my new awareness, my new achievements. But still, when you open that front door to leave, my anxiety intensifies. I still just want you.

The Soul:

My descent into this world and my feelings of independence ultimately lead to an enduring growth. Immersed in a physical world, enclothed in a physical body, I have grown separate from You.

But it is now that I feel an unquenchable yearning and a love for You, a boundless and all-consuming desire to be re-absorbed into Your very Self.

Ultimately, this journey to a far-away land enables me to reach greater heights. My inner powers, my hidden resources of strength and my deep, deep love for You, are only now forced to the surface.2

The Jewish People:

The purpose of our exile is the subsequent ascent to be experienced in the Era of the Redemption, which will be even greater than during the time of the Beit HaMikdash.

The darkness and abandonment that we experiences as a nation evokes a greater measure of light as the intensity of our bond with You becomes revealed.

On the surface, we seem to be growing apart from you. As we mature as a nation, through our efforts as an independent self, through our own emotions, and through our thoughts and capabilities, we activate the deeper dimension of love for You that lies buried within our hearts.3