A long time ago, in a place far, far away known as Palo Alto, I was sleeping in my bed in the not-so-early morning of Rosh Chodesh Elul, which, by the way, begins tonight, Monday August 9th. I awoke to find a Lubavitch Chassid standing beside me, in full Shabbat dress, kapote, gartel, black fedora, white shirt, black dress pants, looking at me asleep in bed. It was my self-declared Mashpiah, Rabbi Yossi Silberstein, also a diamond dealer and survivor of Hodgkins Disease, which had brought him to Palo Alto for treatment in the first place.
He was looking at me in astonishment. "Issi," he said with his distinctive Yiddish accent, "the King is in the field; the fish are bibbering in the yam; and you are asleep in bed. Get up!" And so I did. To go to shul that first Elul morning.
Rabbi Silberstein, z"l, was lost to us many years ago, too too early. There is no one to wake me up anymore with his unique admonishment for the month of Elul. Nevertheless, the King is still in the field; the fish still bibber in the Yam at his approach; the Day of Judgement is around the corner. Let us wake to take advantage of this gift.