He Doesn’t Wake You, He Waits For You

He Doesn’t Wake You, He Waits For You

During Elul, G-d isn’t inspiring us, but He’s intriguing us. He’s preparing us to be inspired. In the second part of “Ani L’dodi,” the Rebbe sheds light on the notion that there’s more to a king than just his awe-inspiring persona. There’s the king himself. But how do we go about accessing the king, G-d, Himself?

This is Part Two of Five

Part One: Elul—Being Proactive

Part Three: He Awaits you, Wherever You Are

Part Four: Not Just What You Do, But Who You Are

Part Five: It Was You All Along

The King: On and Off the Field    
Previously we explained that Elul is the time when we can, through personal effort, initiate a relationship with G-d. G-d’s mercy allows every Jew, no matter how distant, to begin their relationship with G-d. However, the kindness G-d shows don’t inspire us to put in more effort; rather it gives us the opportunity. In the Alter Rebbe’s ma’amer, he uses the analogy of a king in the field.   ג) וּבְּכְדֵי לְבַאֵר שְׁנֵי עִנְיָנִים הַנִזְכָּרִים לְעֵיל בְּהַגִילוּי דְי״ג מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבְּאֱלוּל – שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל הוּא לְכָל אֱחָד וְאַחַת גַּם לְהַרְחוֹקִים בְּיוֹתֵר, וְשֶׁאַף עֲל פִּי כֵן הַגִילוּי אֵינוֹ מְעוֹרֵר אֶת הָאָדָם וְהוּא רַק נְתִינַת כֹּחַ—מַמְשִׁיךְ בְּהַמַאֲמָר,שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְי״ג מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים בְּאֱלוּל הוּא דוּגְמַת מֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה.
“Mercy” is referring to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. They are “above the rules” and are an expression of G-d’s Will. This means that even Jews who broke the rules and went against His will can come back to G-d because of His mercy.The parable of “the king in the field” was developed by the Alter Rebbe in his ma’amer to resolve a difficulty of the Arizal’s: If Elul is a time of the revelation the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, why isn’t every day of an Elul a Yom Tov?
When a king is in the field, he behaves differently than when he is in his royal chambers. The difference is in the way the king is perceived. When the king is in his chambers, wearing his royal clothing and his crown, he is in his full splendor. This is not the case when the king is on the field—when he is in his overalls.   דְמֵהַחִילוּקִים בֵּין מֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה וְמֶלֶךְ בְּהֵיכָלוֹ הֵם שְׁנֵי הָעִנְיָנִים(8ֿ). בְּנוֹגֵעַ לְדַרְגַת הַגִילוּי, עִיקָר הַגִילוּי דְמֶלֶךְ בְּיָפְיוֹ (תֶחֱזֶינָה עֵינֶיךָ)(9) הוּא בְּהֵיכַל מַלְכוּתוֹ, כְּשֶׁהוּא בִּלְבוּשֵׁי מַלְכוּת וּבְּכֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת, מַה שֶׁאֵין כֵּן כְּשֶׁהוּא בַּשָׂדֶה(10).
When the king is in the field, he may not seem as impressive, the king himself, but he is more accessible.   אַבָל הַגִילוּי עֲצְמוֹ הוּא בְּעִיקָר כְּשֶׁהוּא בַּשָׂדֶה.
In his royal chambers, he is only accessible with permission; only certain people can have the privilege to enter.   דְבִּהְיוֹתוֹ בְּהֵיכַל מַלְכוּתוֹ אֵין נִכְנָסִים אֵלָיו אֶלָא בִּרְשׁוּת וְרַק הַמוּבְחָרִים שֶׁבְּעָם וִיחִידֵי סְגוּלָה,
While in the field, everyone is allowed and able to meet and greet him. When the king is in the field, he receives everyone with a
friendly face and smiles to all.
  בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַּשָׂדֶה, רַשַׁאִים [וִיכוֹלִים(11)] לְהַקְבִּיל פָּנָיו כָּל מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה, וְהַמֶלֶךְ מְקַבֵּל אֶת כּוּלָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת וּמַרְאֶה פָּנִים שֹוֹחָקוֹת לְכוּלָם.
The same is true about the way G-d expresses Himself on Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and the Ten Days of Teshuvah in between. During this time G-d is like the king in his royal chambers. This kind of expression inspires awe and trepidation the same way a king in all his splendor would.   וְעֲל דֶרֶךְ זֶה הוּא בְּהַנִמְשָׁל, שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְרֹאשׁ הַשָׁנָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וְעֲל דֶרֶךְ זֶה בַּעֲשֶׂרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה בְּכְלַל שֶׁהוּא בְּדוּגְמַת מֶלֶךְ בְּהֵיכָלוֹ הוּא בְּאוֹפֶן שֶׁהַגִילוּי מְעוֹרֵר אֶת הָאָדָם, בְּדוּגְמַת מֶלֶךְ בְּהֵיכָלוֹ (בִּלְבוּשֵׁי מַלְכוּת וּבְּכֶּתֶר מַלְכוּת), שֶׁהוּא מֵטִיל אֵימָה וְפַחַד.
A king in all his splendor is accessible only to a select few. He is awe-inspiring, and difficult to relate to, yet inspires fear in his citizens. No one would dare cross him, but no one would think of hugging him either. However, when the nation sees the king in all his glory, people are inspired perhaps to pledge allegiance to him and the country; to live and die for his values, to conquer enemy nations in his name, etc.
In Elul, we prepare ourselves and become of the select few who can approach the king. The only way we’ll feel the revelations on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, that G-d is King, is by preparing ourselves beforehand in Elul.   אַבָל בִּכְדֵי שֶׁהָאָדָם יַרְגִישׁ הַגִילוּי דְרֹאשׁ הַשָׁנָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, הוּא (בְּעִיקָר) לְאַחֲרֵי קְדִימַת הָעַבוֹדָה בְּחוֹדֶשׁ אֱלוּל, שֶׁעֲל יְדֵי זֶה הוּא נַעֲשֶׂה מֵהַמוּבְחָרִים שֶׁבָּעָם וְהַיְחִידֵי סְגוּלָה שֶׁנִכְנָסִים לְהֵיכַל הַמֶלֶךְ.
During Elul, G-d is the king in the field—He doesn’t inspire immediate and full allegiance. He does, however, grant anyone who does approach Him, the opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.   וְהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל שֶׁהוּא דוּגְמַת מֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה, הוּא בְּאוֹפֶן שֶׁהַגִילוּי אֵינוֹ מְעוֹרֵר אֶת הָאָדָם וְהוּא רַק נְתִינַת כֹּחַ לַעֲבוֹדָה,
No matter how distant the person might be, when the king is on the field, he does not discriminate.   אַבָל הַנְתִינַת כֹּחַ לַעֲבוֹדָה שֶׁעֲל יְדֵי גִילוּי זֶה הוּא לְכָל אֱחָד וְאַחַת גַּם לְהַרְחוֹקִים בּיֹותֵר.
If the king were passing through the fields and granting free access to all, people would flock from far and near to see him. So too in Elul, G-d doesn’t limit His accessibility to “holy” people—everyone is welcome to meet Him.
When the king is in the field, he doesn’t inspire awe or fear. He is especially accessible to those who find themselves in the “field,” simple folk, who are on a lowly level.   בְּדוּגְמַת מֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה, דְכְּשֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ הוּא בְּמַצָב זֶה אֵינוֹ מֵטִיל אֵימָה וְפַחַד. וּבְּפְרַט עֲל אֵלוּ הַנִמְצָאִים בַּשָׂדֶה, שֶׁהֵם בְּדַרְגָא נְמוּכָה.
Furthermore, the king’s being in the field doesn’t inspire a longing or thirst in anyone to see him. When the king is in his royal chambers, in his full splendor, people are willing to wait years to see him. That’s why the Alter Rebbe, in this metaphor, said, “Anyone who wants can come to meet and greet the king.” Those who seek the king when he’s in the field do so out of free will.   וִיתֵירָה מִזוּ, דְכְּשֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ הוּא בְּמַצָב זֶה, אֵינוֹ מְעוֹרֵר אֲפִילוּ תְּשׁוּקָה לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פָּנָיו(12). וְזֶהוּ שֶׁמְדַיֵיק בְּהַמַאֲמָר ״כָּל מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לָצֵאת לְהַקְבִּיל פָּנָיו,״ דְזֶה שֶׁהֵם יוֹצְאִים לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ הוּא מְצַד הַרָצוֹן שֶׁלָהֶם(13).
When the Jewish people accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai, G-d held the mountain over their heads like a barrel (Shabbos 88a). This is the king in his palace in full glory where the fear inspired by the people is involuntary. In the times of Achashverosh however, a time when G-d wasn’t openly revealed, the Jewish people accepted the Torah out of free will. During Haman’s decree against the Jews, they willingly committed themselves to Torah and mitzvos against all odds. So too, our relationship with G-d that we develop during Elul is self-initiated out of free will.
When the king is in the field, every single one of us can approach the king out of free will. When the king is in the field, we have the permission and the ability to meet the king in person.   אֶלָא שֶׁהַנְתִינַת כֹּחַ לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ הוּא עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה. שֶׁאָז (בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַּשָׂדֶה) יֶשְׁנוֹ הַרְשׁוּת וְהַיְכוֹלֶת לְכָל אֱחָד וְאַחַת לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ.
If we want to be inspired on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, then we need to take advantage of the King in the field this Elul. G-d is open, accessible, and tangible if we would only muster up the courage to appreciate the opportunity to approach Him intimately in Elul.When the king is in his chambers, we feel his awe-inspiring presence, much like on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. However, this is a mere glimmer of the king himself. On the other hand, when the King is in the field, although we may not experience His majesty and glory; anyone can initiate a relationship with the King himself, not just his aura or persona. In Elul we have G-d Himself without an appointment, no lines or WiFi necessary.


8. בהבא לקמן ראה גם לקו”ש ח”ד ע’ 1343 ואילך. לקמן ע’ רכג ואילך.

9. ישעי’ לג, יז. וברמב”ם הל’ מלכים פ”ב ה”ה “המלך כו’ מתנאה במלבושין נאים ומפוארים שנאמר מלך ביפיו תחזינה עיניך”.

10. להעיר מלקו”ת ראה כה, ג, דכשהמלך בשדה “הוא לבוש עד”מ לבוש החיצון”.

11. הוספת כ”ק מו”ח אדמו”ר בסה”מ ה’ש”ת ע’ 167.

12. משא”כ כשהוא בהיכל מלכותו, הרי “כמה וכמה מצפים ימים ושנים לראות עוזו וכבודו” (אגה”ק סכ”ד – תניא קלז, ב).

13. להעיר מתו”א מג”א צח, ד ואילך בפירוש מרז”ל (שבת פח, א) כפה עליהם הר כגיגית כו’ מודעא רבה לאורייתא, דכיון שהקדימו נעשה לנשמע מצד הגילוי מלמעלה ולא מצד עצמם – אין זה בבחירה ורצון, כפה. ודוקא בימי אחשורוש, זמן של הסתר, קבלו ברצון גמור, רצון שמצד עצמם.

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