Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stains on My Daughter's Dress

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, my four year old daughter asked my wife, "Mommy, if my dress gets dirty, will I still be beautiful?"
My wife answered her that yes, even if her dress were dirty, she would still be beautiful.

After we recovered from the utter cuteness of her question, I started to think about it more in light of the season in which we find ourselves.

Just as one's body has garments, the soul also has its garments. The garments, or outward physical expressions of the soul in our world, are our thoughts, words, and actions. Just as one's clothes can get dirty, one can also dirty his soul's garments by sinning in thought, word or deed.

Therefore, one can interpret my daughters question to mean the following: When I have dirtied my soul by sinning in thought (through hirhurei ta'ava or kefira, etc.), word (lashon hara or ona'as devarim, etc.) or deed (moving muktza or preparing for the weekday on Shabbos, etc.) I have "gotten my dress dirty." After I have done this, does Hashem still think that I'm beautiful?

On the first day of Rosh Hashana, the day before my daughter's question, our rabbi said in Shul that even when we look at ourselves as ugly and disgusting because of our aveiros, our Avinu Shebashamayim, our Father in Heaven, still sees us as beautiful, as His children.

With those ideas in mind, I would like to suggest the following tefilla for use as a personal tefilla on Yom Kippur:

Master of the World, I have dirtied my thoughts, my words, and my actions with aveiros. Despite that, I want nothing more than to be closer to You! Even though I have dirtied myself with aveira, I am still your child. And a Father always thinks that His children are beautiful no matter what. Please Hashem, I know that you still want me to return to you. Please help me clean my thoughts, words and deeds from any stain so that I can stand before you without shame. I don't want to disappoint you anymore. Please bring me close to your service so that I can dwell in Your house all the days of my life!

-Dixie Yid