Dear Readers,

“I love spending time with you. I wish we could always just spend time together.”

Which wife doesn’t enjoy hearing those loving words? Who doesn’t want their spouse to want to be together with them, enjoying their company?

And yet, in reality, it would be unrealistic to spend all of our time together. In the real world, each of us has jobs and responsibilities; we need to earn a living and to take care of our many commitments.

Nevertheless, these are sentiments we want to feel. We want our spouse to wish that they would be with us, even when we send them off to work.

From the beginning of the month of Elul until midway through Sukkot, we recite an additional daily prayer from Chapter 27 in Psalms. In it, King David says:

I have asked the L‑rd for only one thing; it I seek: to sit in the house of the L‑rd and serve Him all the days of my life; to see the pleasantness of the L‑rd and to learn in His Sanctuary.

King David describes his desire to be close to G‑d, spending all his days in G‑d’s presence, praying and learning Torah. These words reflect the theme of this time of year when we connect to G‑d at our deepest level. King David’s yearning echoes our own as we embrace G‑d and feel so close to Him.

After experiencing many years of wars and revolt, King David had reached the pinnacle of his career and had finally become established as the beloved king of Israel. He had succeeded in subduing his enemies, both from within and without. At last, he could enjoy peace and security. The Talmud teaches that King David took care of the many facets of his country, while still making himself available for the people, involved in the needs of each Jew.

And yet, King David asks G‑d to “spend all his days in the house of the L‑rd.” Seemingly, King David is saying that he’d give up all the grandeur just to be a simple person who sits and prays in the Temple all day.

But G‑d wanted King David to continue serving Him exactly as he did, as a righteous king devoted to his people and kingship, even if this was taking away from his own times of prayers and learning. King David’s mission was not to seclude himself in the house of prayer, but rather to infuse his nation with G‑dliness in their day-to-day concerns.

For the last two months, we’re experiencing intense closeness with G‑d. We’ve praying in our synagogues (or in our homes) more than any other time of the year. We’re embraced G‑d within the walls of our sukkah. We savoring our time together and the close bond it developed.

And then, when these holidays come to a close, G‑d wants us to take that inspiration to our many obligations within the material world. We continue yearning for the spiritual connection, while bringing it into the mundanity of our lives. We take that close connection and guide it to penetrate into our sphere of influence in this world.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW