Happy Chodesh Elul!
The King is in the Field. Come take a stroll with him in the Garden?
The month of Elul, last month of the Hebrew calendar year, is an auspicious time for repentance, prayer and introspection. These are special days of Divine good will and mercy, and the very essence of these days bespeak the basic human need for closeness with the Holy One, blessed be He… and His immediate and unequivocal response.
The word Elul in Hebrew is actually an acronym, an abbreviation of the Hebrew words Ani l’dodi v’dodi li, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3). This verse from the Song of Songs is actually the theme of this very special month: realizing how beloved we are to G-d, and how precious our relationship with Him is. Elul reminds us that G-d constantly beckons us to return to Him. During this month, we seek to improve our relationship with G-d and with each other.
Before A king enters a city, it’s inhabitants go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who desires may approach and greet him. He …receives them all pleasantly and shows a smiling countenance to all. As he proceeds to the city, they follow him. Afterwards, when he reaches his royal palace, one may see the king only with permission, and this is only granted only to the nation’s elite who are a select few.
(From the Maamer Ani Lidodi V’dodi Li of the Alter Rebbe)
The month of Elul is a joyous time where Hashem has made himself accessible to all who want to interact with him, which makes it the best time to start Learning Hashems Torah and connecting with Hashem.
Although a person can repent at any time of year, still, because the days of Elul are days of special mercy and Divine good will, it is a time that is especially conducive to repentance and making amends: “Seek the L-rd when He is found, call Him when He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Elul is the time “when He is near.” Our great sages call Elul the time when “the King is in the field.” The analogy is to a great and powerful king who pays a surprise visit to his people while they are at work in their fields.
For the average man, the king is so inaccessible; away in his palace, distant and removed. He never dreams he will actually see the king, let alone speak with him.Then suddenly, one day, while this man is bent over his menial labor in the field, he feels a gentle tap on his shoulder… he turns around and to his shock, it is the great king himself who is standing over him; he has come to visit, explaining that he wanted to be close to his people, to investigate their situation and give them the opportunity to ask for their needs.
The Sages tell us that He seeks them out through smell. When he notices a smell that does not belong he approaches the person to assist them to find the right path to bring balance so they may become a pleasant and sweet Aroma. Just think The King comes to walk with his people through the spiritual Garden of Eden, like he did with Adom to talk in prayer, to confess their weaknesses to help them make a better choice. This is the true meaning of Elul… this is the time to call out to Him The King of the Universe!