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Tuesday
Aug042015

ELUL. NOT WHAT YOU THOUGHT

A point from the weekly D’var Malchus with a relevant message to our lives. * Is the avodas Hashem of the month of Elul connected only with “ani l’dodi” or also to ‘v’dodi lee?”

By Aryeh Yehuda

It is known that a Chassidic tale has the power to inspire a person to make a proper personal reckoning. The following is a true story which took place in Elul a few years ago.

A man from Kfar Chabad got on a bus that goes every day from Kfar Chabad to B’nei Brak. He sat down next to someone who looked like a Torah scholar from B’nei Brak. The Lubavitcher thought for a while about how to get into a conversation with the man sitting next to him who looked deep in thought.

Finally, the man himself began to talk and said, “You’re a Chabadnik, right?” The Lubavitcher smiled as though to say, what’s the question; of course! To his surprise, the next question was not, “Are you one of those who believes …”

The man introduced himself as a maggid shiur in a well-known yeshiva in B’nei Brak and then he asked, “You know the concept of the king in the field?”

“Of course, that’s the parable of the Baal HaTanya, the Alter Rebbe,” said the Lubavitcher, who then waited curiously for what the man would say next. He felt the man would surprise him. Little did he know to what extent…

“I heard that in Chabad there is a concept that in Elul you say the king is in the field, but I haven’t heard what this means. I’ve spent hours thinking about it and now that I’m finally meeting a Lubavitcher, I’d like to hear what it’s about.”

The man from Kfar Chabad couldn’t help but ask, “What conclusion did you arrive at after hours of thinking?”

“The month of Elul is a month of accounting,” said the man from B’nei Brak in a low and earnest voice. “A person has to picture himself in the field, and Hashem Himself facing him in the image of a huge lion, who instills fear and roars loudly. With every step it makes as it approaches him, he feels a trembling and terror. This is Elul!”

It is hard to describe the mixed feelings of the Lubavitcher at that moment. With Ahavas Yisroel he restrained himself from laughing and merely smiled. He also felt a tremendous wave of compassion for the poor man.

“Listen, my friend,” he said after he recovered. “That is not the king and not the field. The Chassidic Elul is completely different. ‘I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me,’ Hashem is the king who welcomes everyone graciously, etc.” And he went on to discuss it until they reached one of the stops on Rabbi Akiva Street in B’nei Brak. He just managed to hear the man mumble to himself something like, “The king in the field, nu, it’s time to learn Chassidus.”

***

The story is not over. Now comes the real surprise of the story. Picture yourself traveling on your way (not necessarily from Kfar Chabad to B’nei Brak and not necessarily a bus) when someone suddenly explains what Elul is, and it’s not what you thought. You suddenly find yourself on the receiving end!

We always knew that in Elul there are two parts, the “I am to my beloved” and “my beloved is to me.” We are responsible for our part and Hashem is responsible for His. Suddenly, the Rebbe dedicates an entire sicha (D’var Malchus) which says that the avoda, the cheshbon tzedek, is in the combining of them both together. That the “I am to my beloved” is “my beloved is to me” and the “my beloved is to me” is the “I am to my beloved!” And the cheshbon (reckoning) is, to what extent did I work in a way of “I am to my beloved,” to what extent did I work in a way of “my beloved is to me,” and to what extent did I combine them both in such a way that the “my beloved is to me” is an inseparable part of “I am to my beloved.”

If you learn and live with the D’var Malchus every week, you recognize the Geula motif. This is always the demand, in other words, from new directions, and new dark corners of our inner world where we have yet to integrate the idea of “both this and that.”

It must be applied in between man and his fellow, between husband and wife, in Torah study and mitzva fulfillment, with simcha, in daily life, calmly, in unity, with renewed vigor, everywhere and at every time, in handling the challenges of life, in everything. From the D’var Malchus perspective everything looks completely different. Geula! Melech HaMoshiach is in the field and the time has come to learn D’var Malchus!

Furthermore, and this is the main thing – we must achieve the true and complete Geula through Moshiach Tzidkeinu teikef u’miyad mamash.

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