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Search and Rescue

Thursday, 8 August, 2013 - 11:12 pm

The story is told about a resident of the silly town of Chelm who was observed searching for a lost ring under the street lamp. He was asked, "where did you lose the ring?" He answered, "down the street." "So why are you looking here instead of there?" Because it is light here." This story is a perfect metaphor for our own silliness that we express durign the month of Elul, the month of reckoning and spiritual stock-taking. 

Our sages interpret the term Yisrael (Israelite) as being Sar Keil a master or minister of or over G-d. Chasidic teachings illuminate this interpretation in the following way. Every Jew has a spark of Keil (G-d) within the core of the soul. Yisrael indicates that this "Keil" is the Sar, the master or dominating force in the Jew's life. This is the ideal to which every Jew aspires.

At times it is possible that the Jew fails to live up to potential of being a Yisrael. Under those circumstances it is possible that the spark of G-d gets lost within the vast emptiness of the persons life. Regarding this the verse instructs, "and you shall seek Hashem your G-d there and you shall find." This emphasizes to us the importance of looking for the spark of G-d where we lost it. It is not good enough to look over our Torah, prayer and Mitzvot and fool ourselves into concluding that all is well. We must honestly confront our less desirable side so that we can find the lost spark of G-d and restore it back to its proper place within our souls. As the verse states, "in the marketplaces and the streets have I found the One whom my soul desries." We need to go to the "outside" of our lives to seek and find the love and connection to Hashem that was diluted due to our negative experiences throughout the year. 

Of one thing we are assured. If a person makes the effort to seek his G-dly spark and reconnect with Hashem, Hashem will be waiting for him with a "smiling face and shining countenance." Hashem's love for us is unbounded and His strongest desire it to be close to us. As such it should be a labor of love for us to fulfill that desire. Happy searching! Happy finding! Happy Elul!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous and meaningful new year! Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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