Are You Searching or Calling?

September 28, 2014 at 8:38 PM , ,

“….Seek G-od when he is found, Call him when he is near……” (Yeshayahu 55:6)

״….דרשו ה׳ בהמצאו קראהו בהיותו קרוב….״ – ישעיהו נה׳, ו׳

This verse refers to the ten days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur. —Talmud, Rosh Hashana 18a
Rosh Hashana

The two phrases in this verse represent two areas and modes of teshuva that are evoked by the nearness of G-d in these ten days.

“Seek out G-d when He is found”: In these ten days, G-d is “found” – surprisingly approachable and easily accessible even to those who haven’t developed a relationship with Him in the past. Nevertheless, availability alone doesn’t necessarily make the person feel G-d’s closeness and affection for him. It gives us the courage to try and approach G-d, yet we feel that we are still seeking – attempting to connect and create a relationship with something that still remains apart from us. This mode ofteshuva finds expression in strengthening our observance of mitzvos. Mitzvos are G-d’s commands which we observe obediently, even if we don’t internally identify with them. In detached obedience, one feels that he is still seeking; a close and affectionate relationship still evades him…

“Call Him when He is near”: This second part of the verse tells us that not only is G-d “found” in the Ten Days of Repentance, He is also “near” – His closeness and affection is palpable.

The warm feelings of G-d’s love and nearness to every individual inspire us to “call to Him”. Torah study is often referred to as Torah reading, קורא בתורה, for the Hebrew word for reading is that same as the word for “calling”,קורא. As explained in the Tanya (Chapter 37), just as one calls out to his friend to turn to him with his entire being, or as a child calls out his father to come and join him and not to leave him alone, in Torah study one calls G-d to come join him, so to speak. One does not remain feeling distant and apart from G-d when studying Torah; through Torah study we absorb the Torah, G-d’s wisdom, in our own minds and souls.

—Likutei Sichos vol. 34, pp. 201-205

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