The Baal Shem Tov taught: Whatever a Jew sees or hears is there to teach him a lesson in spiritual development.
Musings on life, spirituality and current world events.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
King in the field, hmmm
King is in the field."
The "King in the field" has become an incredibly
popular feel-good expression that conveys how G-d is extra accessible in the
weeks leading up to the High Holidays. Normally, G-d is locked away in His
"palace" and you can only get near Him if you've earned it. During
Elul, though, He is like a king returning from a journey, traveling through the
fields, meeting and greeting the simple labourers.
Only we're sophisticated 21st Century professionals, not peasant
farm labourers. So, how does the whole "field" thing relate to
us? Tell us that G-d's close, great! Tell us we're out in the
Outdoors, you're exposed to the elements. You're not home, you're
not secure. They don't serve chicken soup on cold days out in the fields.
Fields and home are opposites. Being out in the field means being away from our
spiritual hub; it means we've strayed a little from our soul's centre. During
the warm-up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we analyze how in touch or not
in touch with our Judaism we've been since the last High Holiday season. And,
we probably feel a little more of an outsider than we'd like to have imagined
fear, Rosh Hashanah is near.
less than a month, we'll file into shul andpersevere through the service.
Hopefully, the rabbi will be on form and the songs will be soul-stirring. The
Shofar will stir emotions. Kol Nidrei will buzz with a Shul full of people who
are filled with anticipation. Neilah will climax in the community proclaiming
going well, we'll feel inspired.
experience has proven that inspiration doesn't last. Shul and High Holidays and
the spine-tingling shofar are distractions from real life. They're a fleeting
moment in the Palace, but after they're over, we'll be back in the fields for
message is that the king is in the field. If we get a little more in touch with
our soul during these "ordinary" days, we'll stay in touch. If we
wait for Yom Tov to cast its spell over us, we shouldn't expect the magic to
last. But, if we do an extra shiur or minyan or mitzvah each week until
September, we'll have a meaningful and lasting soul-experience. The story of
the king in the field is actually the story offindingthe king in the field.
the kids join me in wishing you a meaningful, restful and enjoyable Shabbos!