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    Jogging the Divine memory

    Throughout the High Holyday prayers we find ourselves pleading with God to remember us. A strange request when the prayer book also says there is no forgetfulness before the Throne of Glory.

    Surely God needs no reminders. It is His creatures who have their lapses of memory: Maybe a parable will give us some guidance.

    A king once decided to spend a day in the rugged outdoors. Royal robes would have been out of place so he dressed in casual clothing and boots and off he went without any attendants.

    He wandered deep into the forest and found everything quite fascinating. As twilight began to fall he decided to turn back, but he had no idea where he was.

    Walking along a rough path he came across several people and asked them to show him the way to the royal palace. He was not recognised, and they laughed at him.

    At last, one of the people he met realised who the wanderer was and led him back to the palace. The king rewarded him generously and appointed him to a high office.

    Years later this official was accused of a serious offence. A day was set for the king to sit in judgment. The accused asked only one thing, that he be permitted to choose the clothes he would wear that day. The request was granted and the defendant arrived at court wearing the tattered clothing he had been wearing in the forest on the day he first met the king.

    Seeing the defendant, the king’s mercy was stirred. He saw the man not as a court official but as a humble forester who had recognised his ruler when others merely laughed. The king could not bring himself to impose a death sentence on the man who had come forward to assist him.

    So it is with us and God. That is why the prayers contain the heart-rending Zachar’ti lach – “I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your loyalty: how you followed me in the wilderness in a land that was not sown” (Jer. 2:2).

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