He Awaits you, Wherever You Are

He Awaits you, Wherever You Are

Often, the process is greater than the goal. A lot of us struggle with having clear goals and attaining them. Usually, this is because we tend to be near-sighted; only noticing the immediate struggle and the grind of being consistent. How can we be expected to have a meaningful Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur? How can we ensure that we stick to the resolutions we make? Elul is coming, and we have the opportunity to come face-to-face with G-d Himself. Let’s focus on the journey, and we’ll arrive at the destination. Now we have a chance to gather all the parts of our scattered lives and say, “Here I am.”
 
This is Part Three of Five the Rebbe’s ma’amer, Ani L’Dodi 5626 (1965).

Part One: Elul—Being Proactive

Part Two: He Doesn’t Wake You, He Waits For You

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

Part Five: It Was You All Along

 
The Alter Rebbe in his ma’amer Ani L’Dodi explained that in Elul G-d expresses mercy to every single Jew and this gives every Jew the power to come close to G-d. He explained, “When the king is in the field, everyone is permitted and able to greet him.” Why does he add, “And he receives them all graciously and with a smiling face”?   ד) וְצָרִיךְ לְהָבִין, דְלִכְאוֹרָה בִּכְדֵי לְבַאֵר שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל (וְהַנְתִינַת כֹּחַ שֶׁעֲל יְדֵי הַגִילוּי) הוּא לְכָל אֱחָד וְאַחַת, נוֹגֵעַ רַק שֶׁכְּשֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה רַשַׁאִים וִיכוֹלִים כָּל מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְהַקְבִּיל פָּנָיו, וְלָמָה מוֹסִיף שֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ מְקַבֵּל אֶת כּוּלָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת וּמַרְאֶה פָּנִים שֹוֹחָקוֹת לְכוּלָם?
 
Furthermore, “And he receives them all graciously and with a smiling face” is how G-d reacts with love to being approached; the reciprocation from Above.   וּבִּפְרַט דְזֶה שֶׁהַמֶלֶךְ “מְקַבֵּל אֶת כּוּלָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת וּמַרְאֶה לָהֶם פָּנִים שֹוֹחָקוֹת” הוּא הָהַמְשָׁכָה וְהַגִילוּי מַלְמַעֲלָה שֶׁלְאַחֲרֵי הָעַבוֹדָה(14),
 
Previously it was explained that G-d reciprocates our effort (“and my beloved is mine”) during the Ten Days of Teshuvah. The metaphor of the king in the field was to underscore G-d’s approachability; how He gives us the power to initiate our relationship. “And he receives them all graciously and with a smiling face” sounds like G-d is reciprocating love. Seemingly this part of the metaphor doesn’t apply to the “Elul” part of the metaphor.   וְאֵינוֹ מוּבָן, דְהָהַמְשָׁכָה וְהַגִילוּי שֶׁלְאַחֲרֵי הָעַבוֹדָה (״וְדוֹדִי לִי״) הִיא בַּעֲשֶׂרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה, וְהַמָשָׁל דְמֶלֶךְ בַּשָׂדֶה הוּא בִּיאוּר עֲל הַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל שֶׁהוּא (נְתִינַת כֹּחַ וְ)לִפְנֵי הָעַבוֹדָה.
 
It was explained in Parts One and Two that Elul in Hebrew is an acronym for “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li, (I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine).”

In our ma’amer, the first step in building our relationship with G-d is the fact that He gives us the opportunity to relate to Him. This is the mercy G-d expresses to every Jew during the month of Elul that empowers us to approach Him (nesinas ko’ach). The second step is when we put in the effort to relate to Him. This is the step of, “I am my beloved’s,” or in the language of Chassidus and Kabbalah, halo’oh mil’matto or is’arusa d’l’tatta. The third step is how He expresses His love and inspires us beyond the effort we put in. This step is, “and my beloved is mine,” or in the language of Chassidus and Kabbalah, hamshocho mil’ma’ala or is’arusa d’l’eyla.

Learn more here.

The third step, of G-d reciprocating and inspiring us, takes place during The Ten Days Of Teshuvah, and not during Elul when we’re just initiating the relationship. If so, what does it mean that the King, G-d, who is “in the field” and accessible during Elul is receiving everyone with a “smiling face”?

 
This leads us to more questions: Firstly, why does the Alter Rebbe write, “He receives them graciously,” and “He shows them a smiling face”? Secondly, why does he write “graciously” when it comes to “receives them” and “a smiling face” when it comes to “shows them”?   גַּם צָרִיךְ לְהָבִין שְׁנֵי הָעִנָינִים שֶׁהוּא ״מְקַבְּלָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת״ וּשׁ״מַרְאֶה לָהֶם פָּנִים שֹוֹחָקוֹת.״ וְגַם, שֶׁבְּנוֹגֵעַ לְ״מְקַבְּלָם״ אוֹמֵר ״בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת״ וּבְּנוֹגֵעַ לְ״מַרְאֶה לָהֶם״ אוֹמֵר ״פָּנִים שׂוחָקוֹת.״
 
This leads us to more questions: Firstly, why does the Alter Rebbe write, “He receives them graciously,” and “He shows them a smiling face”? Secondly, why does he write “graciously” when it comes to “receives them” and “a smiling face” when it comes to “shows them”?

What is the differentiation between “receiving” and “showing,” and the difference between Him expressing “graciousness” and a “smiling face”?

This can be answered with the following introduction (the questions won’t be fully answered until the later parts):

 
The mercy G-d expresses during Elul is greater than the revelations He expresses on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur in the following ways:   יֵשׁ לוֹמַר הַבִּיאוּר בָּזֶה בְּהֶקְדִים שֶׁהַחִידוּשׁ בְּהַגִילוּי דְי״ג מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים בְּאֱלוּל לְגַבֵּי הַגִילוּי דְרֹאשׁ הַשָׁנָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים הוּא בִּשְׁנֵי עִנְינִים.
 
To experience the revelations expressed on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur we have to be on a lofty level of Divine service (in the metaphor, the select few who have access to the king).   שֶׁבִּכְדֵי לְקַבֵּל הַגִילוּי דְרֹאשׁ הַשָׁנָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים הוּא עֲל יְדֵי עַבוֹדָה נַעֲלִית (מוּבְחָרִים שֶׁבָּעָם וִיחִידֵי סְגוּלָה)
 
To experience the mercy expressed in Elul, the only requirement is to greet the king.   וּבִּכְדֵי לְקַבֵּל הַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל צְרִיכָה לִהְיוֹת רַק הַקַבָּלַת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ,
 
In our relationship with G-d, it means being inspired to accept the G-d’s sovereignty (kabolas ol).   דְבְּנִמְשָׁל הוּא הִתְעוֹרְרוּת הַקַבָּלַת עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם(15).
 
The mercy expressed in Elul is even towards Jews who find themselves in a spiritual desert, referring to one whose life is dry of spirituality.   וְעוֹד חִידוּשׁ בְּהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל שֶׁהַגִילוּי הוּא גַּם לְאֵלֶה הַנִמְצָאִים בְּמִדְבָּר(16) דְלְעוּמַת זֶה(17).
 
In the original metaphor, the Alter Rebbe mentions that the king passes through the desert and fields.
 
Now we can understand the following:

The purpose for G-d expressing mercy in Elul is to empower us to return to Him. Having to return to G-d implies that we’ve done things which were unbecoming and make our lives like a spiritual desert.

  וְכְּמוּבָן גַּם מִזֶה שֶׁעִיקָר הַגִילוּי דְי״ג מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבְּאֱלוּל הוּא נְתִינַת כֹּחַ עֲל תְּשׁוּבָה(18), דְתְּשׁוּבָה כְּפְּשׁוּטָה הִיא עַל עִנְיָנִים בִּלְתִּי רְצוּיִים (בְּחִינַת מִדְבָּר), וְעִיקָר הַתְּשׁוּבָה הוּא עֲל פְּרִיקַת עוֹל(19), דְמִזֶה מוּבָן, שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל הוּא גַּם לְאֵלֶה שֶׁהֵם בְּתַּכְלִית הַרִיחוּק.
 
All unbecoming behavior is because of a general sense of distance from G-d (prikas ol, throwing off the yoke of Heaven). If G-d makes Himself available to anyone who has thrown off the yoke of Heaven, then even the most distant are included.
 
G-d expresses mercy while “being in the field” and not in the desert because G-dliness cannot be revealed in a place where the His Will is opposed. No one can feel at home in a place where they are rejected. When G-d is in the field, He gives the Jews who are in a desert to the opportunity and a reason to leave the desert and greet the King in the field.   וּמַה שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּהַמַאֲמָר שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְאֱלוּל הוּא בַּשָׂדֶה (וְלֹא בְּמִדְבָּר), הוּא, כִּי הַגִילוּי דְי״ג מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים הוּא (לֹא בְּהַמִדְבָּר עֲצְמוֹ, דְבְּעִנְיָנִים שֶׁהֵם הֵיפֶּךְ רְצוֹן ה’(17), אֵין שַׁיָיךְ שֶׁיִהְיֶה בָּהֶם גִילוּי אֱלֹקוּת, אֶלָא) בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל הַנִמְצָאִים בַּמִדְבָּר, וְהַגִילוּי בָּהֶם הוּא הַנְתִינַת כֹּחַ לָצֵאת מִמִדְבָּר לַשָׂדֶה לְקַבֵּל פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ.
 
The King receives everyone graciously. Even those of us who merely want to greet the king but are bound by their opposing inclination: those of us who when inspired to return to G-d, the inspiration never materializes. Even then G-d accepts them graciously that itself strengthens their wills to overcome all obstacles and greet Him.   וְעֲל פִּי זֶה יֵשׁ לוֹמַר, דְמַה שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּהַמַאֲמָר שֶׁ”הַמֶלֶךְ מְקַבֵּל אֶת כּוּלָם בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת,” הַכַּווָנָה בָּזֶה שֶׁמַדְגִישׁ אֶת “כּוּלָם” הִיא, שֶׁגַם אֵלֶה שֶׁהֵם רַק רוֹצִים לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ אֶלָא שֶׁהֵם שְׁבוּיִים בִּידֵי יִצְרָם וְגַם כְּשֶׁמִתְעוֹרֵר אֱצְלָם רָצוֹן לַעֲשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה וּלְקַבֵּל עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם אֵין זֶה בָּא בְּפּוֹעֵל, גַּם אוֹתָם הוּא מְקַבֵּל בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת, וְזֶה מְעוֹרֵר אֱצְלָם רָצֹון חָזָק וְתָּקִיף לְהַקְבִּיל אֶת פְּנֵי הַמֶלֶךְ, וְעֲל יְדֵי רָצוֹן זֶה הֵם מִתְגבְּרִים עֲל הַמְנִיעוֹת וְהָעִיכּוּבִים.
 
Summary
     
We had several questions in understanding particular details in the Alter Rebbe’s metaphor of the king in the field. Before answering those questions, we first set out to understand the significance of the king in the field being approachable and accessible:

His approachability and accessibility during Elul apply to everyone equally. We do not need to be on a lofty level as we would on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
It applies to even those who can’t make it to the field—even if we’re trapped in a spiritual desert, caught up by our impulses.

Chinuch and relationships: Mercy is how G-d inspires loyalty (kabolas ol), and we can learn from Him. When we focus less on their mistakes and more on their successes—when we accept the person for who they are and focus our love and attention towards them, they may be inspired to return. We can’t force others’ loyalty or to love us, but we can earn it.
Approaching the king while he is in the field means practically to make a conscious resolution that, “G-d is my king—I do what He says.”

14. שהרי זה שהמלך מקבל את כולם כו’ קאי (בפשטות) על אלה שמקבלים את פניו.

15. סה”מ ה’ש”ת ע’ 167.

16. להעיר ממאמרי אדה”ז על פרשיות התורה ד”ה ענין אלול (ס”ע תתכה) “ונק’ שדה ומדבר כמו מלך הנוסע בדרך במדבר”. וי”ל שהכוונה שם היא שבאלול הגילוי דיגמה”ר הוא לישראל הנמצאים במדבר, כבפנים.

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