Yankie felt very lucky. Instead of going to camp, his parents let him visit his cousins in Eretz Yisrael. He arrived on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning he was standing for the first time at the Kosel HaMaravi. Everyone around was praying. Yankie was so excited that he found it hard to concentrate on the words in the Siddur.
Suddenly he felt a tap on the shoulder.
"First time, eh?" asked a man with a white beard, kind eyes, and a friendly face. Yankie nodded.
"Too excited to pray?" the old man said. He smiled gently, and patted Yankie on the head. "You look like a Yeshivah boy." Again Yankie nodded.
"So, what's the parshah?" the old man asked.
"Va'eschanan," answered Yankie, shyly.
"Aha!" exclaimed the old man. "Now right there is a lesson in prayer for you. How does the parshah begin?"
By now, Yankie felt comfortable with the old man. "Israeli people seem to begin talking with anyone they meet," he thought, remembering his long talk with the taxi driver from the airport. He was curious to find out what the man had to say.
"The parshah begins as Moshe Rabbeinu prays to HaShem to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael," Yankie answered.
"Did HaShem accept his prayers?" the old man asked.
"No. He even told Moshe to stop praying, but my teacher told us that Moshe continued praying."
"Aha! Smart teacher. So why did Moshe still continue to pray?"
Yankie was stumped. "Well" he answered slowly. "When my father says no to something I ask for, I try again."
"And again, and again," the old man interrupted. "When we want something, we're persistent. But still, when your father tells you no over and over again, you may stop asking. Why? Because you're asking for something you want for yourself. Well, let me tell you, son, Moshe Rabbeinu was far from selfish; he didn't want anything for himself. He cared about his people.
"Did he want to enter Eretz Yisrael in order to taste its luscious fruit or to see the magnificent sites? No! Moshe Rabbeinu had only one thing on his mind - the mission HaShem gave him."
The old man paused for a second, and then he continued.
"Moshe Rabbeinu was sent to take the Jewish people out of Egypt, to prepare them for the Torah, and to lead them into Eretz Yisrael. He constantly thought of this goal and wanted to fulfill it. He was praying to HaShem to let him complete this mission and bring the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. Just imagine, my boy, if HaShem had accepted those prayers, then the geulah shleimah, the complete redemption, would have arrived!"
The old man pointed to Yankie. "Now that's what a Jew should pray for. You and I, and everybody else, should keep on davening for the geulah, just like Moshe Rabbeinu did. And very soon, HaShem will accept these prayers."
(Adapted from Sefer HaSichos 5752, p. 728ff)