One bright, sunny afternoon, I sat watching my two children playing a lively game of hide and seek.
My younger daughter Shira was the first to be the seeker, and as she counted to twenty the older one, Naomi, ran to hide. Naomi had discovered a very creative hiding spot, one that would be difficult for Shira to detect.
Meanwhile Shira finished her countdown and began scurrying off all over the house, in a wild search. She searched and she searched, in small corners and large, to no avail.
The silent moments ticked by and Shira’s search was becoming more desperate. Lines of anxiety were forming on her small forehead. My usually very persistent daughter almost seemed ready to admit defeat.
In despair, Shira called out to Naomi, hoping to get some response to clue her in on her sister’s whereabouts. Silence reigned.
Then Shira turned, as if struck by a new idea, and optimistically headed off, only to get sidetracked along the way by the subtlest sound of the shifting of legs on the wooden floor. Her ears perked up and she stopped in her tracks. She made a sharp U-turn to search in the opposite direction and, seconds later discovered her sister’s ingenious location.
Shira leaped at Naomi and both laughed aloud, reunited. The two shared a moment of closeness, admiring Naomi’s ingenuity in thinking of such a location and Shira’s in discovering it. For that blithe moment, they enjoyed each other thoroughly and you would think the two were forever best of friends, never experiencing the normal squabbling between siblings.
WATCHING MY YOUNGESTERS play, my mind wandered to You, G-d. I thought of how so often, You seem to be hiding Yourself from us. From afar, You watch, allowing us to run here and there bereft of direction. The lines of sorrow and anxiety form on our temples as we wonder whether we will ever find You.
Sometimes, despite our perseverance as a nation, we’re almost ready to give up. Sometimes we do give up. We trail off in all the wrong directions, despairing over ever making You a meaningful part of our lives.
But always You make some noise. Sometimes it’s a slight ruffling sound. Sometimes it’s louder. Some event in our personal lives, or in our national lives, catches our attention, drawing us back to where we are meant to be. You help us to rediscover You and we feel closer to You.
For those moments in history, we are reunited, surer of our direction.
THE SOUNDS OF MY CHILDREN re-organizing for another round of hide and seek interrupted my reverie.
This time my four-year old son Yisroel begged to be included. The round began exactly as before. This time, though, my older children were patronizing Yisroel, pretending not to locate him in his obvious hiding spot. Eventually, however, they came over to him and laughingly declared, “We found you!”
Yisroel’s response? Simple. He put his hands over his eyes and victoriously announced, “No you didn’t. You can’t find me!” He stayed like that for several seconds, ignoring their claims and comments.
After all, he reasoned, if he couldn’t see them, they simply weren’t there.
THIS BROUGHT MY THOUGHTS back to You, again. How often in life do we act like a little child, pretending You aren’t there. We cover our eyes denying You appropriate entry into our lives, even while, deep down we know that You are right before us. How silly we must appear to You.
SEVERAL MORE ROUNDS of hide and seek were played and it was time to call a close to the game. First, though, we all had to even the score.
True, there were times throughout our exile that we acted like a silly child, closing our eyes and denying You access. We pretend that You are not there, feigning ignorance, rejecting You as the guiding force in all that we do.
But then again, You did hide in such difficult, remote spots. Far too many times, these places were impossibly unfair for our limited capabilities. How could You expect us to find You?
So, taking it all into account, I think that must make the score just about even now. How about we call it a tie and finally end the game?