We say Avinu Malkeinu during these days of teshuva and I noticed that in Shemona Esrei, in the bracha of teshuva (השבינו) and in the bracha of selicha (סלח לנו) we use those words. Why is Avinu Malkeinu used in those brachos specifically?
Because to come back to Hakodosh Boruch Hu we must learn to love Hashem, and to come back to Hakodosh Boruch Hu we must learn to fear Hashem. Avinu, our Father, means the One who loves us and we love Him. And Malkeinu, our King, means the One who controls everything in our lives like a king; and we fear a king.
Now, when we actually gain an awareness of what it means to fear of Hashem and to love Hashem, that itself is teshuva. Teshuva is not merely doing things; it’s understanding things. So the more you are aware of Hashem as Avinu, that itself is hashiveinu, that’s coming back to Him. And the more you’re aware of Hashem as Malkeinu, as your king, that itself means you’re coming back to Hashem.
So remember that now; whenever anybody’s contemplating getting better he has to learn the concept of Avinu, that’s ahavas Hashem, loving Hashem, and Malkeinu, that’s yiras Hashem.
Of course when frum Jews hear that, they’re just clichés and they don’t mean anything. But they have to become meaningful to us by means of practicing what it means to love Hashem and what it means to fear Hashem. And that’s why these words are here, in השבינו and in סלח לנו, because teshuva and slichah depend of acquiring attitudes of Avinu and Malkeinu.
TAPE # 493