27 August 2017

"Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li"

6 Elul 5777

I don't know how many have been paying attention, but there has been a long string of tragic deaths over the past few weeks - more than usual - both in Israel and in frum communities in America. In my yishuv alone, in addition to the "yeshiva bochur" in the hit-and-run described above, who was my neighbor, another family of five lost three of their members in a motor vehicle accident last month. And so many of these tragedies have involved children!

The following comes from the Key to Redemption facebook page...
“My rebbe told me this in the name of the Vilna Gaon, of blessed memory. It is impossible to sow a field unless it has first been plowed. Similarly, the blockage in our heart—timtum ha-lev—prevents spiritual feelings from penetrating it. The hard peel surrounding the heart must first be pierced. Only then can spiritual insights be sown, and only then can fruit be expected to grow, in the form of changed attitudes. How can the hard soil of the heart be plowed? With strong emotional upheaval. This can come from sudden disaster or from great joy. When a person is in a state of great excitement, for whatever reason, his heart opens. A person can now impress on it whatever he likes. He can say to himself: Now is my chance. “ (Strive for Truth, Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler, Parshat Re’eh)
This is what is alluded to by the phrase, “The King is in the field” during the month of Elul. During the year it is harder to connect to Hashem. It takes a lot of effort and there are many obstacles by way of daily life, problems and challenges but in Elul Hashem comes towards us. He pursues us in a way. He says I am here, you just have to open your heart. Hashem created man because he wanted someone to give his love to. When we accept the Torah and mitzvoth we are accepting the terms of this love. We show our love to Hashem by obedience.
The first letter of each world of the phrase “ani l’dodi v dodi li”, I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, spell the word Elul in Hebrew. We are commanded to fear and LOVE Hashem but Elul is an opportune time to focus on our love for Him.
“You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources. Let these matters, which I command you today, be upon your heart.” (From the shema)
I can attest to the truth of these words. Having your heart plowed up is exactly what it feels like. But, oh Hashem, can we please have enough of the tragedies and now come to the joy? And what greater joy could there possibly be than to have these dead returned to us alive, whole and smiling.

Were I to meet the King in the field today, this would be my request: Blessed are You Hashem, Our God, King of the Universe - please - speed Mashiach on his way, bring him today and let the righteous dead begin to rise from their graves!