Thursday, June 04, 2009

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What Is the Proper Way to Address G-d?

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A typical-looking, very tough Israeli walked up to the Kotel yesterday.
He was about forty years old, totally secular, and had a very strong body.
He walked as if he wasn't interested in anything other than what was on his

I called to him in a friendly way, "Come put on tefillin."

He acted as if I did not exist.

I tried again, "Come put on tefillin. It's a good thing to do."

No smile.

He brushed right by me and didn't even look at me.

"Uh oh! That's a mistake," I called out to his back.

He took a few steps and then turned around, walking back toward the tefillin stand.

"Hey, I got him!" I thought.

I was wrong. He ignored me again. Without even the slightest recognition that I existed, he reached out and took a piece of paper that we have available there for people who want to write notes.

It has become a very common practice to write a note and place it in one of the spaces between the stones of the Kotel. Jews, and even non-Jews, often come from afar with their notes in hand, thinking that this is a traditional way to "talk" to G-d. The custom has really caught on, especially among the not-yet-so-religious public.

Writing notes to G-d has never been a traditional thing to do, but it certainly has become a widespread custom. It's just another form of prayer. Even dance can be a form of prayer,[i] so surely there is nothing wrong with writing your heart's desires on a piece of paper and "delivering" it to G-d.

I was standing right next to the stack of blank papers when he took one. I told him, "That's the post office." The mail around here can take up to two weeks." I pointed to the tefillin and said, "This is the cell phone. You can talk to Him right away."

No smile.

He walked away with his paper to go write his note to G-d.

A few minutes later, he walked up to me (still no smile). "You really want to do this," I said to him, as I slid my arm around his shoulder and gently moved him toward the tefillin stand.

No smile.

He took out his nicely folded little note, and in a most sincere tone, he asked me a shailah (a rabbinic question). "What is the proper way to address the letter? Should I address it to, ‘the Ruler of the Universe’?"

I saw how he was bringing his heavy, strict, attitude about life to his “relationship” to G-d. I said, "Write, 'Hashem, I love you. Please give me these things that I need so badly.’ And pour out your heart as if you are speaking to your father."

He smiled, and put out his arm for tefillin.

Hey guys, G-d really loves us. It's not just a saying. He loves us more than our earthly fathers could possibly love us, and He wants the best for us. That's why He gave us His Torah.

[i] Exodus 15:20, 2 Samuel 6:16

1 comment:

  1. May you continue to be blessed with more success stories of time 'in action' than time 'unemployed'.


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