Many eons ago, before children would come home from school to their PlayStations and personal computers, before parents' leisure time was consumed by the internet and hundreds of cable channels, mothers and fathers would actually spend considerable amounts of time playing and bonding with their children. One of the favorite pastimes was the game of hide and seek. A parent would climb beneath, say, the sofa and wait for the cry of delight which would inevitably accompany the child's discovery of the parent. The pride the children would take in their incredible sleuthing skills was only matched by their parents' pleasure at seeing how happy their children were to find them.

Our collective Father also enjoys the game of hide and seek. He wants to have a meaningful relationship with His children but realizes that a commodity is rarely treasured when it is unearned, with no effort having gone into its acquisition. So He decided to hide Himself.

He hid Himself in the obvious hiding places, such as the synagogue, the Torah, charity, mitzvot, and many other places where one would think of looking for Him. But to make the game a bit tougher, and the end result so much more satisfying, He also hid in many unconventional hiding places — places where one wouldn't think to search for Him. In nature and in "coincidences"; at home, at work, and even in the gym. In fact, unlike the conventional game of hide and seek where often one must search many a nook and cranny before finding the one hiding, our Father manages to hide everywhere, making every moment of our lives part of this grand game of hide and seek, one in which we can uncover Him in any place and anywhere — it all depends on how closely we analyze any given moment and situation.

But if He is hidden, how are we to know to search for Him? To address this concern, our Father devised an ingenious plan. He programmed His children to have a natural penchant for searching. He wired us to be instinctively dissatisfied with any status quo, to always feel the urge to search for something more, something deeper.

And search we do. And He waits in His hiding places and eagerly awaits the cry of delight which will accompany our discovery of Him.

P.S. Occasionally a child gets distracted by an important object found in the course of his quest to find the parent. A half-eaten lollypop behind the radiator or a long-lost toy truck under the sink. So while the parent lies crumpled beneath the sofa waiting to be "discovered," the child blissfully plays with the precious object he has just unearthed, his parent the farthest thing from his mind.

We can only imagine the disappointment of a parent who emerges from a hideaway only to discover that the child abandoned his parent in favor of a sweet or toy. And we can also imagine the parent's relief and joy when the child finally puts down the distraction and gets back to the business of searching for the parent.

Heard from my uncle, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak "Fitzi" Lipskier of blessed memory.