17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. 21 Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again—he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
Deuteronomy Rabbah 2:24Aggadah
Another explanation: THOU WILT RETURN TO THE LORD THY GOD. R. Samuel Pargrita said in the name of R. Meir: This can be compared to the son of a king who took to evil ways. The king sent a tutor to him who appealed to him saying, ‘Repent, my son.’ The son, however, sent him back to his father [with the message], ‘How can I have the effrontery to return? I am ashamed to come before you.’ Thereupon his father sent back word, ‘My son, is a son ever ashamed to return to his father? And is it not to your father that you will be returning?’ ‘Similarly, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent Jeremiah to Israel when they sinned, and said to him: ‘Go, say to My children, ‘Return.’ Whence this? For it is said, Go and proclaim these words, etc. (Jer. 111, 12). Israel asked Jeremiah: ‘How can we have the effrontery to return to God?’ Whence do we know this? For it is said, Let us le down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us, etc. (ib. 25). But God sent back word to them: ‘My children, if you return, will you not be returning to your Father?’ Whence this? [For it is said], For I am become a father to Israel, etc. R. ‘Azariah said: God said to Jeremiah: ‘Go, tell Israel, I will not prove false to you. At Sinai you declared, My heart yearneth for Him (S.S. v, 4); I too say the same to you.’ Whence this? For it is said, Is Ephraim a darling son unto Me . . . therefore My heart yearneth for him (Jer. XXXI, 20).
Notes and References
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