Sunday, August 11, 2013

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The Holy Month of Elul

by Reb Gutman Locks

image003     We are in the holy month of Elul. It is a month of spiritual preparation for the coming New Year. The primary Chassidic teaching of this month is, “The King is in the Field.” Obviously, the King referred to here is the King of kings, the Holy One, Hashem.

     The teaching is that throughout the year, in order to meet with the king of the land we would have to travel to the capital. We would then have to somehow gain entrance to the king’s palace, and then if we did get past the guards, we would have to be granted an audience with the ruler of the land. All this is highly unlikely for the average citizen. Even for a nobleman who could possibly be invited to such a meeting, it would involve tremendous cost and effort.

     But in the month of Elul, the King comes out of His palace and travels to all the corners of His land, and He meets with even the simplest of His people. Obviously, it is a time when a peasant pours out his heart to his Ruler, telling Him all of the things that he needs. And to ensure the King’s favor, he would also tell the King all of the things that he is going to do for the King.

     But wait a minute, there is something very wrong with this entire story. The King of kings is already in the field! He is infinite. There is no place devoid of G-d. So then, what are we to learn from this teaching?

     Yes, the King is already everywhere, and yes he hears every thought all year long, but during the year He hides Himself more thoroughly than He does in Elul. In Elul G-d is lenient with us. He allows us to uncover His presence even without the strict requirements for such a revelation.

     What does this mean for simple people like you and I? It means that we can accomplish much more spiritually in the month of Elul than we can accomplish the rest of the year. All we have to do is to try.

     And what type of sacrifices, stringencies, and services should we try? First off, resolve to become a better you this coming year then you were last year. Also, make up your mind to give up things that you do not need, such as, anger and needless sorrow. Set your mind to saying something nice about everyone you meet. Smile more. Try to be a joyful servant of the King. Help others to reach things that are too high up on the shelf for them. Sing more often. These are the type of things that many of us are not doing our fair share of.

     Have a wonderful, successful, happy, healthy New Year, filled with all of the joy that G-d wants you to have.   

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