Lost and Found or Hide and Seek?

Courtesy of the Artist Sarah Lehat

“5.. 6 .. 7 .. 8 .. 9 .. 10 ……. Ready or not here I come!”

And it starts.

U’Bikashtem MiSham Et HaShem Elokecha

And from there you will seek out the Lord your God

U’Matzata

And you shall find [Him]

Dvarim | Deuteronomy 4:29

The Hidden Self.

If you were born back to back with someone, would you know? How would you discover this hidden self-non-self? And what would make you you and them them?

“Yagati ve lo Matzati, Al Taamin”. “Lo Yagati u Matzati Al Taamin”. Only “Yagati ve Matzati Taamin.”

Our sages teach – “If we search we must find. If we do not search we cannot find.”

Is it for this alone we were created? – Were we born to quench this hunger for ourselves, for the other, for ourselves as the other, for ourselves as the other as G-d?

If I were counting down to creation with G-d, getting ready for the ultimate game of Hide and Seek, wouldn’t I stop Him, protest and argue that He should not hide, should not fuse Himself to our “back”, that we should not lose Him, lest we tire in our hunt.

“I will allow myself to be found by you” says G-d.

And with this silent agreement, the game begins.

Man in search of G-d. G-d in search of Man. Man in search of Man. G-d in search of G-d.

It only ends when Man = G-d = Man … when G-d allows Himself to be found in Man … but in the meantime …

while we labor and toil to refine and regain territory for the Kingdom of G-d …

the Kingdom of compassion, humanity, kindness and all that is divine …

Meanwhile …

the hunger of the hunt enthralls and tangos …

striding first cheek to cheek with G-d, not looking at Him – in confidence – the security of being found, only to whip around and flee – in fear – of being found.

And I ask myself:

Why the fear? Why do we, does G-d, play hard to get?

Lucky for me I’m a woman, and that I have in common with the feminine aspect of G-d – the Shechina – that wishes to dwell in this world.

“Veshachanti betocham” – And I shall dwell in you.

Woman in search of Man. Man in pursuit of Woman.

Turns out. It’s not fear. It’s empowerment.

G-d empowers us. Woman empowers man. For one to hunt, another must hide.

And weekly, we meet in the field for our anniversary, the day we met, the very same day we agreed to play …

Lecha Dodi Likrat Kala

Kabbalat Shabbat

It is during the reception of the Shabbat, that the face of our beloved comes to greet us.

No longer back to back.

But face to face.

We make peace.

We take a stance, space, time, empower our groom, by evacuating the weekliness from our scent, our garb, our voice, our face, and He arrives, and conquers, victorious, vanquishing our fear of the unknown.

And He remembers His promise:

I will allow myself to be found by you

We stand like trees, a forest of souls, a collective chorus, each one of us a bride, on the verge of being found, and at the same time, a villager, one of the groom’s entourage, accompanying him …

Empowering him to discover his beloved.

And it’s like the Song of Songs.

I remember running, out of breath, to find that perfect hiding spot before the count of 10… holding my breath as those footsteps fell closer and closer … A real man feels a woman’s hunger.

I am asleep yet my heart is awake. The voice of my Beloved, knocking: “Open for me, my sister, my companion, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is filled with dew, my locks with drops of the night.” I have taken off my cloak, how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I sully them? A moment later she rises to open the door but she has missed her chance; he has gone.

Song of Songs 5:2–3

We knew someone and let them go.

The cold of the moonless, starless night, deep weariness, laziness, and fear combine to paralyze her will and bind her legs. Why should she refuse to undo the latch and open the door to her beloved? Hasn’t she been pursuing him, . . . suffering insults, blows, and spiritual torment on his behalf? . . . Does desire no longer permeate her being, is the urgency no longer alive within her?

Why would we do that?

Rachel Imeinu.

Imagine. Rachel. On the verge of being discovered, hidden, not to be found for another 7 years.

Peeking out from between the clefts in the rock. Hiding but wanting to be found. And then hearing His footsteps as he nears her door, at first wanting to remain in that realm of anguished expectant hopeful anxious anticipation of the unknown, because if she will be known she can no longer be imagined.

Yaakov seeks to prolong this state … a surreal self imposed suspense between the ever so seductive infinity of potential – his dreams, fantasies and desires … and the limited, confined, defined, space-and-time-contained act of creation… If he can just remain enthralled in the possibilities … and so he imagines the door knob has turned to sap, that his wife is his lover, la femme-objet | desire objectified, but not a mother and a builder-creator. He remains in that instant just on the brink, the verge of discovery, because he dare not open it, the door to the finite.

And suddenly. Rachel refuses. Says “NO!”

I am your beloved. No longer defined by your imagination, your quest, your hunt.

“Know me!”

And so G-d says to us.

Seven years of Hide and Seek were not meant to become an eternity and Rachel turns to Yaakov and says: Pray for me. Really. Don’t pray for the tango. Pray to know me. For the eternal anniversary. The eternal Shabbat.

Rachel bears witness to G-d’s promise that we will find Him and He will find us. And we will know each other. Forever.

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