Avinu Malkenu

If It Worked for Rabbi Akiva?

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--From Uziel Meisel’s Tiferet Uziel. Reprinted from S. Y. Agnon’s anthology Days of Awe, published by Schocken Books.

Can I Have That On Credit?

A retail merchant who dealt in fabrics made his way to his wholesale supplier to buy the goods he needed for his business. The wholesaler instructed his workers to wait on the merchant and to bring him all that he ordered. Standing in the middle of the warehouse, the merchant bellowed all sorts of orders and requests.

"I want 1,000 yards of that cloth, 2,000 yards of the blue velvet, 3,000 yards of that white silk," he shouted, and on and on he went, requesting many other items. When it came time to reckon up the price of the goods and to pay the bill, the merchant took the wholesaler to the side and, very embarrassed, whispered in his ear: "Listen, I can't give you any money for this right now. Please allow me credit until I can pay you."

So it is with us, said the Dubno Maggid. We shout out all sorts of requests to God in the Avinu Malkenu prayer. We want forgiveness, health, a good life, wealth, redemp­tion, and many other things. But when it comes down to the last verse (to pay the bill, so to speak), we whisper: "Our Father, our King, be gracious to us and answer us, though we have no worthy deeds (with which to pay You for our large order) please grant us charity and kindness, and save us.”   

--Jacob ben Wolf Kranz, known as the Maggid of Dubno, a Hassidic master and teacher (1741-1804). Reprinted from Aaron Levine’s The New Rosh Hashanah Anthology, published by Zichron Meir Publications.

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