Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz – Daddy’s Girl


Operation Inspiration


Sometimes all it takes is a look. You see something and it speaks volumes to you. A picture is worth a thousand words, and maybe seeing something live is worth even more. Nothing even has to be said for it to make a dep impression. I want to share some of the words I got from something I saw, and you can fill in the rest from your own imagination.

For me, it took place on a Shabbos morning. I was davening at an outdoor minyan in someone’s backyard. Men were spread across the yard at large distances, and the shliach tzibbur stood at a shtender in the center. It was a cold day but the sun was shining. Suddenly, something glinted in the sunlight in my peripheral vision. It was the flaxen hair of a little girl standing next to the fellow who was leading the davening.

She had come to “shul” to find her father and when she saw him she ran to stand next to him. He couldn’t respond or even acknowledge her as he was davening chazoras hashat’z, the loud Shmona Esrai. Still, she stood beside him silently as he prayed and I took note of the scene which was one that I found mesmerizing and beautiful. I sensed more than words could convey.

First of all, there was the sense of belonging. This was where she should be because this was her Abba. Standing at his side, she exuded a sense of security that was almost palpable. I detected pride that her father was davening and that she was standing with him. She was proud and happy to be connected to him.

We see this phenomenon over and over. We see people with their young children and there’s a connection that is clear and obvious. When the child is scared, he runs to Tatty. When he’s excited, he looks for Daddy. When he sees Abba, he can’t wait to grab his hand.

Now, when children get older, the story often changes. They don’t run to their parents as quickly, as often, or with the same enthusiasm, and that’s a shame. They are missing something special and probably not realizing it. That connection and trust that small children have in their parents is beautiful and magical. It’s a shame to let it fade.

As I stood there that morning, seeing the little blonde head peeking out above the shtender, I thought about our connection to our Father in Heaven.

We should want to run and be next to Him. We should take pride in being there, knowing that He does so much good and is always there for us, and that there’s no place in the world we would rather be. We should feel safe and content in His presence, not needing to ask for anything, but just basking in the closeness, knowing that He’s there to protect us because He is our Father and we are his children.

We should not be embarrassed or afraid to stand with Him. It’s the most natural thing in the world and something to cherish. We should seek to keep that relationship going for as long as we can. For His part, Hashem wants to be that protective Father figure, providing total security and refuge from the scariness of the world. He wants us to feel loved and happy by His presence.

Go back in your mind to some of your earliest memories. Think about times you felt safe and secure. Did you fall asleep in the car as a kid, not needing to worry about traffic or the driving skills of others on the road? You were blissfully unaware because Mommy or Daddy were driving and they were taking care of you.

That’s a feeling we tend to lose as we grow older, move away from our parents, and have to tackle our own challenges and responsibilities. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We should try to awaken those feelings of safety by standing proudly at our Father’s side, smiling contentedly that we’ve sought Him out and found Him. We’ve taken our rightful place next to Hashem, and all is good.

These words and more flooded my brain in that moment and now I’ve shared the picture with you. I hope you can take the inspiration I got that day and use it to help you stand tall the same way when you look for Hashem in your life, and make sure He’s a big part of it.

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