The King is in the field!
This is a classic teaching of the Alter Rebbe, who taught it as a parable about the month of Elul. It is based on the feelings of many people, who felt that God was just like the King or Queen, President or Prime Ministers, of their earthly nation. Far away and inaccessible. Even should they take a great journey and visit the capital, and walk up to the palace, who would let them in to see their ruler? Only if one has royal permission will they be allowed to enter.
But during the month of Elul, we should forget such formality. Instead, we should imagine as if God was the King in the field. A Monarch who has left the palace behind and is happily waiting for their citizens to come out in plain clothes and with easy hearts. To greet, celebrate, approach and embrace. Unlike the palace, where your meeting comes at the desire of the monarch, the King if the field represents a meeting with the divine as something initiated by human beings.
We have many opportunities to do that sacred initiation here at Holy Blossom, and any of the activities below are a great way to prepare ourselves for the High Holidays!
It is customary to recite Psalm 27 and blow the shofar during morning prayers, and you can join us for this sacred moment during our morning Shacharit minyanim! More than one person has told me that hearing the shofar this month during minyan feels like ‘an alarm clock for the soul.’
All are welcome to find time for personal reflection and gratitude in our sacred spaces. If you would like to sit before the open ark and find a few moments for private expression, you can learn more about it here! You and your families are welcome to share hopes for the future and to meditate on this last year.
Communal learning about forgiveness, repentance, and creative expressions of the heart will be continuing on Wednesdays for the next several weeks. You can explore the Jewels of Elul by registering here. Led by Sharoni Sibony, this class blends classic and contemporary texts with artistic flair.
As always, if you are looking for a meaningful book to enrich your Elul, I recommend “This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared” by Rabbi Alan Lew. It is a life-changing book that I recommend to students at every stage in their Jewish learning. If you’ve taken me up on reading that text before, you can join me in reading ”Nasty Brutish and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with Kids” by Doctor Scott Hershovitz and “On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World” by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. Feel free to write to me at [email protected] and let me know what you think!
Finally, you can’t miss Selichot on the evening of September 9th. We will learn from our dear friend and teacher Professor Derek Penslar, celebrate with a festive Havdalah and dessert reception, and then enjoy Selichot tefilla in the round. Last year more than one hundred people attended this transformational and deeply musical evening. It is an incredible way to get yourself aligned with our sacred time.
In the month of Elul, God is waiting in the field… will you go seeking?