On Rosh Hashanah we read the first chapter and part of the second of the Book of Samuel, which discusses Chanah’s praying to Hashem and how she honored her vow without any reservation. The third chapter relates an episode with little Shmuel when his mother left him in the Sanctuary to be inducted into the service of Hashem.

In the narrative it is related, “And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was lying in his place — for his eyes had begun to become dim, he could not see. Hashem called Shmuel and he said, “Here I am.” He ran into Eli and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me?’ and he [Eli] said, ‘I did not call you, go back and lie down.’ Again the young lad heard the voice of Hashem calling him, but, the aged Eli sent him back telling him, ‘Lo karati beni, shuv shechav’ — ‘I did not call you my son, go back and lie down.’ ” Shmuel had not yet known Hashem, and the word of Hashem had not yet been revealed to him. When this repeated itself a third time, Eli realized that it was Hashem Who was calling the lad.

This narrative of an episode which took place a few thousand years ago is very related to our contemporary times and conveys a poignant lesson.

We are living in a time when many a Jewish child has heard the voice of Hashem. They have experienced inspiring moments in their life and have expressed to their parents a desire to learn about our golden heritage. The child tells the parent that he or she heard a call and would like to respond, but the unimaginative parent will say, “Shuv shechav” — “Go back to sleep.” Instead of nurturing this awakening and helping it grow into something positive, the parent stills the child and dampens the flame.

A story is told of a father who wanted to influence his young son with heretical views. One night, he wrote on the side of his bed while his son was asleep: “G‑d is nowhere.” The father hoped that this message will leave an indelible impression on his child. When the youngster awoke and began to spell out his father’s message, he jumped out of bed, ran to his father and excitedly exclaimed, “On my bed I saw the message written ‘G‑d is now here.’ ”

Fortunately, the young members of our generation are hearing the Divine call and refuse to listen to their parents or mentors who tell them, “Shuv shechav” — “Go back to sleep.” In all corners of the world there is a very strong ba’al teshuvah movement — young people from all walks of life are returning to the fold. They are coming in throngs to study Torah and have accepted authentic Torah teachings as their way of life. Let us encourage them and help them achieve their goal of learning about our golden heritage. We should be immensely proud of this generation, “Ki heim zera beirach Hashem” — “They are the seed that Hashem has blessed” (Isaiah 61:9).