This week we began saying “LeDovid” twice daily. One of the famous Pesukim in this perek of Tehilim is
אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-יְהוָה– אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ: שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי; לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-יְהוָה, וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ.
At first glance the pasuk seems redundant: “One question I have of Hashem, that’s what I am asking…”
I once heard peshat that what Dovid Hamelech is really showing us is that we don’t always want whats best for ourselves. Sometimes we are a step or 2 (or more) away from that, and we must first want to want the right thing, “I have one request, that my desire should be to dwell in Hashem’s house”. Sometimes a teen can look at a friend, a family member, an adult, and say to himself that he doesn’t want that lifestyle, it doesn’t appeal to him, its not “fun”. However, maybe there is a part of him that wants to want it. That is the area he can be reached. Depending on the person, sometimes they want to want to want to want, but eventually there is a level where everone, every child, can be reached.
Elul is a tough time and hard to relate to for Adults, how much more so for teens? Sometimes we get nervous watching the next generations apathy and disinterest towards teshuva, davening and the whole process of the Yamim Noraim. We need to follow Dovid HaMelechs message. Teens need to see how beautiful and amazing this time of year, how real introspection and seriousness can produce real growth and happiness, and we find it a privilege, not a burden, to come close to Hashem. Watching our example, they may not be ready or mature enough to follow in our footsteps, but they may want to want it, a small seed that in they can help cultivate them to mature into Bnei Torah. This year instead of asking what we want to work on and get, lets help our kids think about what they would want to work on and get.
Shabbat Shalom, Good Shabbos, -Rabbi Ari Deutscher MSW