A Prayer for the Days of Awe
On the eve of the Days of Awe, we consider carefully what we shall say to the King of Kings as he draws near to the Jewish people at this solemn time. The Hebrew word for praying, l'hitpallel, does not refer to petition as in most languages, but rather means "self-judgment." We cannot see the big picture. The Jews who went to the gas chambers in 1943 could not have imagined that the first flowering of our redemption, the founding of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, would come only five years later. Something I heard from a Jewish friend who grew up in Poland after the war sticks in my mind today. As a small child, she played in Lodz near a monument to the martyred Jewish children of the city, and said to herself: "We're playing for you." We pray for a life of dignity, sustenance, health, and for children committed to Torah, but we cannot know that our personal wishes will bear fruit. But we believe with perfect faith that no matter what happens to our children, there always will be Jewish children who will play for them.