The other day I was sitting and working in my office at shul. It was Friday afternoon, the secretaries downstairs had gone home, and I was the only one left in the building. I was preparing my sermon and shiur for Shabbat when I heard the bell ringing. Now to be honest, knowing from experience that whoever was ringing the bell was not coming to see me, I had no intention of going all the way downstairs to get involved in someone else’s business. Usually at these times it’s either someone wanting to book a wedding for the following year, or a congregant wanting to pay an account. I knew I had no appointments, so I carried on minding my own business and kept working on my sermon.

But the bell didn’t stop. And then I heard loud banging on the front door. So I thought, What if it’s an emergency? Maybe somebody really needs the rabbi, who knows? So eventually, when the ringing became quite persistent, I went downstairs to check it out.

Sure enough, it was a young man who had a problem and very much wanted to speak to me.

I did my best to try and help him, and then went back to my office. Before wishing him a “Good Shabbos,” though, I asked him why he was so persistent. Why didn’t he give up when for some time he was receiving no reply? He said very simply that he knew I was inside. I asked how he knew and he answered, “Because I saw your car parked outside.” Now I understood why he didn’t give up. I thought to myself, Look at the tenacity and determination of this young man. He simply had to make contact, and so he did. I thought to myself, Look at the tenacity and determination of this young man. He simply had to make contact, and so he did.

How many of us would have given up?

How many of us have tried reaching out to G‑d and didn’t get an immediate reply or the answer we were looking for, and have since resigned ourselves to not hearing from Him forever?

How many have tried to pray now and then, and have given up because they didn’t get instant results? “What’s the use?” we argue. “I called out but there was no reply.”

It reminds me of the new Dial-a-Prayer for atheists. You call this number and it rings . . . and rings . . . and rings.

The story of that Friday afternoon and the young man who just had to see the rabbi reminds us not to give up, not to surrender to impatience. The very act of prayer is beneficial to our inner peace, our serenity, our very soul.

We know G‑d is there. Just keep knocking on the door until you get an answer.

We’ve just entered the month of Elul. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi compares this season to a time when “the King is in the field.” There are occasions when the king leaves his royal palace to visit his subjects. At these times he travels through the countryside, and anyone and everyone is given the opportunity to approach the king and is received with a warm, smiling countenance. Elul is a time when the supreme King of kings is eminently approachable.

Now, more than ever, He will respond when we call. Please don’t stop ringing the bell.