People of Importance


            How many of us like to feel important? How many of us feel that by being close to an important person, we too are important. After all, why would a person of stature accompany himself with you if you weren’t of some importance?

            When I was a child in summer camp, there was a child in my bunk who always carried a picture with him. The picture was of him shaking hands with former president Bill Clinton. He used to show it off and brag that he met an important person. There is something special about getting up-close and personal with a person of power and significance.

            As you can imagine, this brief meeting with Mr. Clinton did not happen in the Oval Office while he was passing through the White House on a class trip. Rather it was when the former president was in San Diego on business.

            We are currently in the month of Elul. This is the last month of the lunar year before the High Holidays. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are called High Holidays because they are just that. A lot is in the balance on these few days. It is explained that Rosh Hashana when literally translated means “the head of the year” is also the Day of Judgment. This is a day of judgment for people and the entire world. It is not just a celebration for the New Year. It is a day to reconnect to the one who decides “who will live and who will die”. 

            After understanding the massive implications of these days of repentance, we set aside time to reflect. We are supposed to be true to ourselves and make a spreadsheet of the good we accomplished and the bad we stumbled over.

Walking            After this exercise we are faced with a dilemma. Sure I would like to reconnect and all, but how? The Rabbi sounds all spiritual from the pulpit when saying that we should get close to G‑d, but is that really realistic? Let’s be honest here. If God is awesome, omnipresent and up there in heaven, how can we ever come close to him? Last but certainly the biggest problem we have is, even if I find a way, why would God want to listen to me after all that I have done?

            Like I was saying earlier, we find ourselves in the month of Elul. It is explained that in this month “the king is in the field”. The whole year the king is in his “palace” and surrounded by important people. Only a select few get an audience with him and only after months of waiting. However, once a year the king goes out to the fields to greet the people with a smile. It is then that the king is approachable and is ready to hear your request. No appointments. No secretaries. Just you and he face to face and he is all ears to anything you have to say. Sounds important, right?

            This rendezvous in the fields is the month of Elul. God is now approachable by anyone and everyone who wishes his time. Now before the High Holidays, when we need it most, is when “the king is in the field”.  There is no need to go looking for a way to leap to heaven. All you have to do is look out your window towards those fruited plains. All of the sudden, a picture with Bill Clinton on the tarmac isn’t all that impressive. Anyone can approach him for a photo-op when he is in the field.

            Take notice that the analogy is that the king is in the field. It doesn’t say in the city or the Crawford ranch. Some of us are not city people. Most of us are too caught up to get to a summer home. There are even those that are in the “field”. These are the ones that society has given up on. They don’t even know who the king is.

            It is to the field that God ventures. To tell us that no matter what we might have done, he is there to listen to a true apology.  Out here the playing field is level. There are no city folk or farmers. There are just people who share a mutual respect for one another. Everyone is important.