Elul 1, 5777
The King is in the Field
Elul is the month of our spiritual workdays. We begin our journey up to the High Holy Days of Tishrei. It’s the month of paradox. The paradox of letting go and holding on; a time of haven after the turmoil of Av; a time of work and a time for the Holy.
Elul begins our preparation for our meeting with the King. It is also the month of teshuva (repentance). We reflect on the past year. We repent and humble ourselves to be ready for the day when the books are opened (The Feast of Trumpets). It is the time of meeting with the King in our everyday lives.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains how God is approachable during Elul. His teaching takes the form of a parable. He teaches, “A king normally lives in a palace, separated from and unapproachable by ordinary people – this is how our relationship with God seems as we become bound up in the world with its distractions, frailties and concerns. During Elul, however, the king (God) might be experienced as having left the hiddenness of the palace and having entered into the field (i.e., that place where ordinary people are) and so becoming available to his subjects. In this month of Elul, while people continue with their normal activities they are at the same time aware of the presence of God and are drawn to prayer, reflection and response.” (Likkutei Torah)
Let today begin a time of prayer, reflection and response. Let today begin our preparation.