By Rabbi Yonah Burr
It has been a beautiful, meaningful month of closeness to Hashem. We had the judgement of Rosh Hashana, the atonement of Yom Kippur, and the opportunity to spend time with Hashem in the Sukkah. The month of Tishrei is known as ‘Chodosh Ha’asanim’ the ‘Mighty Month’ due to all the mitzvos we have performed; the Shofar, the four species, the sukkah, the Hakafos, the Hoshanos, the eight days of Hallel. How fortunate we are!
There is a charming Chassidic tale of a Rebbe who told his followers that he would reveal the secret to having all requests answered.
The Chassidim gathered around their beloved Rebbe in anticipation. The Rebbe explained that while saying Hallel, one should concentrate intensely on the words that begin with אנא, "please". If one says these phrases sincerely, without any ulterior motive, Hashem will grant any request.
The Chassidim sat, mesmerized. They each imagined the life of bliss they would soon experience. So, they committed to themselves, at the next opportunity they would concentrate intently on those special words that begin with the word אנא.
But their joy was short-lived. An argument suddenly emerged. Which אנא did the Rebbe have in mind? Did he mean אנא ד' הושיעה נא, where we daven for deliverance, or did he mean אנא ד' הצליחה נא, where we daven for success?
The eager chassidim were soon divided into two camps. One planned on concentrating on the words that beseech deliverance, while the other planned on focusing on the prayer for success.
After Yom Tov was over, and some time passed, there was an uneasy undercurrent among the groups. The first group did not notice any special deliverance. Perhaps the other side was right after all. Perhaps, they should have concentrated while asking for success. The second group also felt uneasy. They didn't experience any particular success. Perhaps, they should have focused on deliverance.
Eventually, the two groups convened, whereupon they realized that neither group felt they had been answered. Something was seriously amiss. One of the chassidim built up the courage to approach the Rebbe.
The Rebbe just smiled, and explained softly, "You both misunderstood me. I didn’t mean either of those verses! I meant the verse אנה ד' כי אני עבדך, Please Hashem, for I am Your servant. Only if we present ourselves sincerely as Hashem’s servant can we expect Him to supply us with all of our needs!"
Perhaps this is a take-home message for us all. After doing the many special mitzvos and spending so much uplifting time together, we must now be inspired to see ourselves as servants of the King. And as servants, we can be assured that the Master will supply us with what we need to serve Him.
Rosh Chodosh Cheshvan is right around the corner. When we say Hallel, let us all concentrate on the words that begin with אנה!
Have a wonderful Shabbos.