Avinu Makleinu is one of the most iconic Jewish High Holy Days songs of all time! This prayer (defined as, “Our Father, Our King”) is recited, following the Amidah - during the Ten Days of Awe and Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
From the beginning of this song and prayer, Jews annually recite with great feeling and emotion,
Our Father, our King, we have sinned before Thee.
Our Father, our King, no king except Thee.
Our Father, our King, deal with us kindly for the sake of Thy name.
What is so noteworthy of this song is the accurate description of our own human condition, our calling to humility and need for authentic redemption.
In the first stanza we declare that not only have we sinned against a holy God, but the inference is that we alone are responsible for your guilt.
In the second stanza however, we find an immediate shift of attention where the worshipper, instead of reverting back, hiding in their sin or justifying his behavior, instead acknowledges the Sovereignty of God and His Lordship over one’s life!
Finally, in the words “deal with us kindly for the sake of Thy name,” the faithful decrees a statement of overwhelming humility, need for mercy and desperation for the redemption of Adonai. Here we find, that in the end, the only hope we have is in the Name of the Lord. We have no power or ability to save us and if it was for the mercy and loving-kindness of Adonai, we would be utterly lost!
Yet, when we pray these words and sing them from the Machzor during these most holy days, we do so with both the HOPE and ASSURANCE that God, in Messiah Yeshua does forgive and is faithful to redeem us from our sin and brokenness!
This is best seen from the Prophet Isaiah who prophecies of the coming the Messiah,
“Who believes our report? To whom is the arm of the Adonai revealed? For before him he grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him. In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God. But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the discipling that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises’ we are healed.”
(Isaiah 53:1-5, Complete Jewish Bible)
As noted in the following verse (vs. 6) that we are like sheep and have gone astray from the will of Adonai, in His mercy, he sent us our Messiah, so that all (both Jew and Gentile) might have hope of eternal life and freedom from our sins and burdens.
During these Ten Days of Awe, seek the Lord whole he may be found and call upon Him while he is hear (Isaiah 55:6), knowing that when we cast our burdens on Adonai and seek Him with all our hearts, He will in fact heal us and restore us of all unrighteousness. In that Rosh Hashanah is for all of us a time of renewal, and a new beginning - may you come to know at this season, God’s great love and although your sins are as scarlet, may through the Messiah, be as white as snow!
Rosh Hashanah, 5779
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