The Medrash describes how Avraham searched for the creator of the Universe. Avraham saw the miraculous nature of the sun and thought that it is the Power that created the world. Then he turned his investigation to the moon and other forces of the miraculous nature and thought that maybe they were the creator. It wasn’t until he reached the conclusion that there must be one creator of everything that exists in the Universe, that then Hashem appeared to him and said I alone am the creator of all existence. It wasn’t only Avraham who was searching for a creator, it was the creator who was searching for an “Avraham” who together with his future generations would take upon themselves the mission to reveal His Kingdom unto the inhabitants of the world. The search of Hashem and Avraham ended simultaneously with the words Lech Lecha.
When the Tzemach Zedek was a young child he once played the game of Hide and Seek with his friend. This one time he was chosen as the hider. He hid behind a tree and after quite some time realized that his friend left the game and walked away. He went crying to his Zaide telling him how disappointed he was when he discovered that his friend was not searching for him in his hiding place. His Zaide responded by saying Now you can experience how Hashem feels when He his hiding in the world of nature and no one comes to search for Him.
Am Yisrael are constantly on the search for Hashem the year round. On Pesach we search for chametz which represents the yetzer harah and eradicate it from our presence. On Succos we search for a beautiful set of the Four Species. They represent the four organs of the human being, his spine, his lips, his eyes, and his heart. We search for their impurities within ourselves and wave them in submission to Hashem in all the directions. On Shavuos we search our hearts for seven weeks of introspection in order to uproot any bad middos that we possess. All these spiritual searches involve time and energy and it cannot be achieved with a mere touch of a button invented by the tech world.
Chanukah, which is the next Yom Tov coming up, only became a Yom Tov because of the Chasmonaeem’s determined and unrelenting search for a non-defiled flask of oil. The Gemara in Shabbos 21b tells us that the Greeks entered the Bais Hamikdash and intentionally defiled all the flasks of oil. They understood that the oil is used to light the Menorah which symbolized the Torah. The learning of Torah has stood in the way of proselytizing the Yidden to become Greek idol worshippers. Yet when their great army was defeated, the Yidden came to the Bais Hamikdash and searched for a non-defiled flask of oil to light the Menorah which was the symbol of their victory over the Greek philosophy בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן בחותמו של כהן גדולThey searched and found one flask of oil with the seal of the Kohen Gadol enough to light one day but miraculously it lasted for eight days. Why did the Gemara find it necessary to state they searched? It would have been sufficient to mention that they entered the Mikdash and found one flask of undefiled oil? The Gemara is therefore telling us that even when they thought that their search would be futile since all the flasks were defiled by the Greeks, the Yidden did not give up and continued to search and search until Hashem made for them a miracle and they found an undefiled flask of oil which lasted for eight days and hence the Yom Tov of Chanukah.
The Chazal say that this was not the first time that Yidden searched for a flask of oil. Yaakov returned to Maavar Yabok in order to find the פכים קטנים the small flasks of oil that he left behind. It was during this episode that the malach of Aisav wrestled with Yaakov and tried to defeat him. Why at this juncture of time? We can suggest because when the Yid troubles himself to search for Torah wisdom symbolized by the flasks of oil, and he takes on the challenges in order to acquire it, he receives a special siyata dishmaya that brings about a tremendous Kiddush Hashem and light into the world. From one’s בדק his search to come closer to Hashem, the Yid is rewarded with דבק a cleavage with Hashem. The Gemara says in Shabbos בדקו they searched for an undefiled flask of oil. The gematriah of בדקו is יבק the name of the place of Yaakov’s encounter with the malach of Aisav. However,בדקו is also the gematriah of the two names of Hashem הויה אלהים. When a Yid searches for Hashem together withstanding the uncertainty of succeeding to find Him, he will be rewarded with the elevated light of these two names of Hashem.
How come some of us have let complacency set in and have stopped searching for Hashem and the ways to allow Him to enter into our daily lives? What happened to upgrades in chesed, tefillah, tikkun hamidos? Compare this shortcoming with our never becoming tired of searching for a better deal on a pair of shoes or air travel to a destination on the internet. We will take the time to go through all the search engines just to save a few bucks here and there looking for the bargain. Why don’t we make the effort to search for the “Dan’s deal” that would make our relationship with Hashem deeper and more intimate? The fact that Hashem calls us an Am Segulah does not mean that we can settle for easy segulos as our quick fix for our lacking. The answer to why we aren’t diligent in our searching the spirit, all depends upon what one deems honorable and therefore worth our efforts. Search and sirch have the same sound. Sir is an honorable title which one gives to an individual with a higher rank. We are driven to “sirch” after something that is honorable and high ranking in our eyes. For some it is money, for others, its pleasures, the house of their dreams, and yet for others, it is Hashem.
Avraham undertook to emulate Hashem in the middah of chesed for it was through this middah and prism that he saw Hashem as the creator of the Universeעולם חסד יבנה . Man who was created in His image must duplicate this middah throughout his life. That is why the human race is called Mankind. There are two definitions for this word yet they are bound together through the lens of Torah. One definition means a group of people that share the same character and nature. It also means a benevolent act. Since Man was created as a Tzelem Elokim he must, therefore, emulate Hashem with His kindheartedness. Notice that one does not find such a word in the animal kingdom such as Animalkind.
If this is all true why then do we find such human-caused cruelty, suffering, abuse, and affliction rampant in the world? The answer is that we have simply stopped searching for G-d in His place of hiding. When Man’s search, terminates, so does G-d’s.