In its wisdom, Parashah Nitzavim provides rules to the Holy game of hide and seek- one party always needs to return home wholly present to find the other. The concept of Teshuvah (translated as "repentance" but literally meaning "return") is echoed three times in three verses from Deuteronomy 30, emphasizing its importance: "And when you return to the Lord your God and you and your children listen to God’s voice with all of your heart and all of your soul according to that which I command you this day, then Adonai will return your fortunes and have mercy on you, and return you… to the land.
Human beings are much more powerful than we are willing to admit, especially true with regards to making teshuvah. Often, we wait for others to approach us rather than initiating the difficult conversation. But, the Torah tells us that we as individuals must take the first step in the arduous journey. Overcoming ego and sense of having been wronged are often two serious impediments to this first step. Teshuvah requires us to be ego less, completely open to the possibility of relationship with another and with God. In this process we must seek rather than hide.
In a poem, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel eloquently reminds us that God needs us as much as we need God.
Yet, sometimes, rain drops like a tear,
God's confession to the world - I feel sad, embarrassed,
For God Himself and for our own sake.
Still our pain demands: have mercy!
Instead of tears give help, action not regret.
Every hope should be Your command
And every shudder - an alarm.
Let us, men, dogs, and God
Atone together and return
Or do penance for one another.
Forgive us God our sins
And we shall forgive You of Your own.
For hiding God's Presence, for God's silence in the face of suffering, God too is in need of teshuvah.
May we give each other strength in the remaining days before Rosh HaShannah to overcome internal obstacles to forgiving and seeking forgiveness from other people. And as we set out to find God, may God's Presence reach out to us in a truly sacred reunion. As we put our entire self into this process may we know that God is dancing the Hokey Pokey with us.