The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: <i>Elul</i> 4, 5768/September 4, 2008

The King is in the field!

Elul: The King is in the field! Or, in other words, G-d is not locked away behind an imposing gate leading to a remote palace, but He is near to us, and we need but to be ourselves in order to be seen and be heard by Him. Or, in yet other words, as the days pass and we draw nearer to Rosh HaShana, we may find that we have let ourselves down, that we're not where we had hoped we would be when we began our past year energized and inspired by last Rosh HaShana. Feeling distant from where we ought to be, we no doubt feel remote from and detached from our own inner self - our neshama - our pure soul. Feeling this personal exile leads us to feeling remote from G-d.

The beautiful wake-up call sounded in Elul is the message that "The King is in the field!" We may feel like we have distanced ourselves from G-d, but this is not the case at all: G-d the King is near! The time for personal renewal has come. This is not the earth shattering, sea splitting renewal of Nisan and Passover in which G-d inverts the very immutable laws of nature that He established in order to rescue His people from the oblivion of Egypt. No, this is the quiet time of personal initiative so subtly hinted at in the words of the Song of Songs (6:3), "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." "I am" comes first. "I am" takes precedence. I must take stock. I must make the effort. Our sages compare the Passover redemption experience to receiving a blank page - a completely new and undeserved beginning. The Elul experience is compared to a page already written on by us, but one which we can erase and change and correct. The effort must come from us, and Elul's glad tidings is that G-d is here for us, even before we make the effort to approach Him, and most certainly after.

This past Monday evening, in the spirit of "The King is in the field" and we are reacquainting ourselves with Him, Rabbi Richman and I made a special live Temple Talk broadcast from the Israel National Radio studios in Beit El. We too wanted to reconnect with our listeners and hear directly from them. The result, from our perspective was sublimely gratifying. We received callers from half a dozen US states, Canada and Israel, some old friends and some new friends. The questions and comments which we heard were so informed, so on target. Our overwhelming feeling was that we were all on the same page concerning our desire to see the Holy Temple built, and more importantly, our reasons why we want to see it built.

We often receive inquiries asking us when construction of the Holy Temple will begin. How can we explain to them that it already has begun. That the most basic raw material required for the construction of the Holy Temple is the desire to make it happen. We witness signs of this growing desire daily, but the voices we heard on our Monday night broadcast were so expressive and so tangible that they drove the point home more than ever before.

We often hear expressed, "The Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred. Therefore, before we can even consider building the Third Temple we must create a society of "baseless" love." Don't they understand that this community of understanding and unity of purpose and desire is formulating right now, in our days, around the historical goal of re-establishing the house of G-d, "a house of prayer for all nations?" (Isaiah 56:7) The very process of building the Holy Temple in order to allow for G-d in our world is that which spreads love and unity among all those who are willing to role up their sleeves to make it happen.

The King is in His field, and so are we. That distant palace from which He emerged is really not distant at all. For the field of nearness is none other than G-d's Mount and the palace none other than His Holy Temple. The key to our common future, His, and ours, is found in our hearts and our hands alone.

Tune in to this week's TEMPLE TALK which was recorded live and join Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven and friends as they discuss and debate and consult and report on everything from praying on the Temple Mount, the auspicious month of Elul, the Torah reading of Shoftim and the historic recognition by the Supreme Moslem Council of the tight and unbreakable connection between the Temple Mount, Kings David and Solomon, and the G-d of Israel.

Click to hear:

Part 1
Part 2