In the month of Elul, as we approach the High Holy Days, there is an idea in Judaism that this is the time when the “King is in the field.”
The metaphor comes from Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who lived in the late 18th century. He tells us that the king is generally in the capital city and in his palace. For any “regular” person to speak with the king, there is a complicated protocol to navigate, going through multiple intermediaries and palace officials. Additionally, they must learn the protocols, appropriate dress and speech, and how to properly bow or curtsey before traveling to the capital. Once there, they must pass through many rooms and doors to reach the throne room and, finally, they may approach the king.
But there are times when the king leaves his palace and goes out among the people in the fields out in his realm. When that happens, anyone can approach the king and he receives them all. Anyone has access to the king when he is “in the field.” Rabbi Schneur Zalman says that the month of Elul is when our king is in the field.
Now I know what you are thinking… As Believers, the throne of HaShem is always available to us through Yeshua HaMaschiach. And that is very true. But how often do we forget to cultivate this relationship? How long do we go without approaching the throne, even though we have that access through Messiah? How often do we neglect the building of that precious relationship? How often do we make a concerted effort to examine our hearts and to seek the forgiveness that is always available? How often do we spend time making right what has gone wrong, between ourselves and the king and between us and our neighbors? It is a gift to us to have these times such as the month of Elul as a reminder to lead us into the triumph of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) and in the presence of our King.