With this week being Shabbat Shuvah (The Sabbath of Repentence), the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I am always intrigued, as many of you know by now, with Psalm 27, known as Le David, which we say from the beginning of the month of Elul through the end of Sukkot. This two month period of saying Psalm 27 every day fascinates me because there are innumerable lessons and messages for our lives today.
In verse ten, we come to the words “Though my father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord will take me in.” Even though I have read it many times, I never thought about nor could not fathom my parents forsaking me, and you probably have not either. It does seem somewhat harsh. I do remember the time we broke our next door neighbor’s car window playing football, and I thought for a few moments I was going to be an orphan (or at least wanted to be).
My interest was piqued by the Hebrew “Ki Avi V’Imi a vorvounee,” “my father and mother have forsaken me.” It did not take me long to find an explanation. Rabbi Obadiahben Yaakov (1475-1550) better known as the Sforno, simplifies it with the clarification: “after my youth and adolescence they sent me out on my own.” This is probably much like your familial relationship.
With the sternness somewhat ameliorated, I could not help but juxtapose it with the sermon I heard from one of my mentors a few years ago when addressing the so called “helicopter parents”. The title alone tells it all. “We Need To Learn To Hold Our Children And Grandchildren With Open Arms.” My prayer is that as we continue in these Ten Days of Repentance, Aseret Yimei T’Shuvah, and come upon Shabbat Shuvah, we can find the strength to build our relationships with our parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren alike.
Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham