2 Cheshvan 5781 / Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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The Field and the Palace    

The Field and the Palace

Before a king enters his city, its inhabitants can go out to greet him in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires can speak to the king, not like in the palace...


One of the most memorable quotes of my former Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Noach Weinberg of blessed memory, which is engraved on my heart and brain, is, "Move aside and let Hashem run the world. Our job is to stay out of His way." I learned so very much at Aish Hatora, for which I'll be eternally grateful, but the lesson of moving aside and not getting in Hashem's way is probably the most important. I see this over and over every day in my life. The best thing we can do is let Hashem do the driving; that way, we can enjoy the ride.
This past week, a friend was driving me from Ashdod to Jerusalem. He doesn't usually listen to the radio, but he flicked it on for a moment and we right away heard the hourly national traffic report. "Heavy traffic on the eastbound lane of Route 1; very slow moving from Telzstone to Jerusalem." My friend looked at me with a perplexed look. No problem, I told him, Hashem wants us to take the back route, by way of the gorgeous Judean Hills. So instead of Route 1, we went from Ashdod by way of Ha'Ela Valley up the scenic hills past Ramat Raziel. Just as we arrived near the nature preserve of Har Tayassim, we stopped the car. This was a perfect place for an hour of hitbodedut (personal prayer). Why delay until later what you can do right now? Besides, I was an hour ahead of schedule...
What a gift! Despite the fact that Elul is Israel's hottest month, a cool breeze blew through the mountain pines, creating a natural pine-scented controlled climate. The sky was crystal clear and the mountain paths were scented with sage and hyssop. The sounds, the aromas and the view of the entire Jerusalem-Hevron skyline of Israel's Blue Ridge was intoxicating. Hashem made an entire traffic jam just for me, to get me up here in these beautiful hills to speak to Him! What a loving Father!
Of course, the hills were singing too. Every rock in the Land of Israel has its own song. That's where I get my melodies from. They were all singing the praise of Hashem. So, I joined them, speaking to Hashem in tune with the melody that I was hearing. The breeze in the pines was perfect background music. Hashem even sent a woodpecker for percussion; the bird pecked a cypress tree in perfect tempo.
Wow, it's Elul. I had the strongest feeling that Hashem was right there on Tayassim Mountain with me. What an awesome and inspiring thought. Then I remembered - a great tzaddik once used that expression. Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Ladi, the legendary Baal HaTanya and holy patriarch of the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, said the same thing! In Likkutei Torah (Re'eh, 32b), the Alter Rebbe describes the tightening of the bond between Hashem and the Jewish people in the month of Elul with the following parable:
"Before a king enters his palatial city, its inhabitants go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires is granted permission and can approach him and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all..."
So it's the real deal. The King is truly here. Anyone can access Him with ease. Who'd be silly enough not to take advantage of such an opportunity?
But there's a slight snag, continues the Baal HaTanya. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the King - Hashem - is in His palace, sitting on His throne with all His glory. Who can get through all the guards and the endless palace hierarchy to make it to the King? That's not so easy, to say the least.
Wherever you are, wherever you live, the King is in a field right there near you, right now. He's even in your back yard. Go speak to Him. These days of Elul are full of Divine compassion. Why wait to confess in the Heavenly Court during the days of Divine justice? Tell the King what's on your mind right now. Tell Him what you did wrong since the last time you spoke to Him (happy are those who speak to Him daily), ask His forgiveness and request that He help you improve. We are guaranteed His forgiveness! Those who take advantage of Elul, can walk into the High Holidays with big smiles on their faces, for they'll certainly be inscribed for a wonderful New Year, amen!

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