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Hiding and Seeking
Tue, 10/02/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Why do we hide from one another? Some observers have noted that in a maternity ward the babies are remarkably quiet and attribute it to conditioning in the wild — making noise is dangerous when one is helpless. When parental protection is near the baby will cry, but when alone the baby remains silent.

Psychiatrist R.D. Laing wrote, “Being visible is therefore a basic biological risk; being invisible is a basic biological defense.” Silence and hiding may be intrinsic to who we are.

But that which is hidden is sought. God hides and it is our task to seek. After all, we talk about Sinai as “revelation” and one only reveals that which was previously hidden. Equally, we hide and God seeks: remember the title of Heschel’s book, “God in Search of Man.” There is an intricate and often agonizing dance between people, and between people and God, in which we retreat into our caves in the hope that others will pursue. As we begin a new year and read of creation we are reminded of the secret places God left in the world, into which we can silently slip, hiding, hoping against hope to be found. Creation is through connection and out of the silence emerges love.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at

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