Simcha's Torah Stories
THE KING IS COMING
The King is coming, the King is coming! Have you heard the news? He is coming to visit our town. What a momentous event! Children, we have to prepare for His arrival.
Mommy, how do we prepare for the King's visit?
Well, children, to answer that question, let us think for a minute. What does the King want more than anything else? He wants us, His subjects, to be loyal to Him and to love Him. In order to prepare for His visit, we have to show Him how dedicated we are to Him, and how much we love Him. We have to clean and fix up our homes and the town, so that everything looks beautiful for Him. More importantly, we have to fix up ourselves, so that we are pleasing to Him, both inside and out. You know, children, the King loves us and worries about us very much. He has made decrees, which will really help us if we follow them. Let us show the King how much we appreciate His love for us by following His decrees to the best of our abilities.
Mommy, when is the King coming?
Not for another month, children.
Mommy, we have plenty of time to prepare. We can relax for a few weeks.
Let me tell you a story, children, about another King who came to visit. There was once a King who sent out word that He was going to visit one of the outlying cities in His kingdom. The subjects were all very excited. Those who most loved the King wanted to greet Him at the earliest possible moment. They went outside of the town to the road in order to catch a glimpse of the King when He first began to approach the city. Others went out to the gates of the city to greet the King when He arrived in the city. And finally, there were those who were not as fond of the King, but they still wanted to pay their respects, so they went to the streets outside of their homes to see the King when He passed by. That is the parable. The King is G-d, and He is coming to visit us on Rosh Hashanah. However, He is close to us the entire month of Elul (the final month of the Jewish calendar year). The subjects who really love Him, will go out to meet Him at the earliest possible moment by beginning to do tshuva (correcting their errors) on Rosh Chodesh Elul (the first day of the last month). Others will wait for Rosh Hashanah. Finally, there are those who will wait for the last minute - Yom Kippur.
There are stories about our great Torah leaders, among them Rav Yisrael Salanter, the Chofetz Chaim, and the Moonkatcher Rebbe, who would begin crying the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Elul. The congregation would reach the point in the prayer service of mevarchim hachodesh (blessing the new month). The cantor would utter the words "Rosh Chodesh Elul," and they would break down and cry. They knew what Rosh Chodesh Elul meant. The King is coming.
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