The first question, and also the shortest question, God ask in the Torah has just one word. “Ayeka?” In English, this means “Where are you?” For an all-knowing God, this seems a silly question, but the query has little to do with physical location. And it’s a question not asked to locate someone physically but asked about some one’s emotional or spiritual location. It’s a question for use to ask ourselves to discern where we are from a human potential or personal growth perspective. The question requires that we look closely at ourselves and figure out where we are now and where we want to be.
God asks this question in Genesis 3:9, just after Adam and Eve had eaten fruit from the forbidden tree and, sensing God’s presence in the Garden of Eden, had hidden among the trees. While they were hiding, God asked Adam, “Where are you?” Again, the question does not relate to Adam’s physical location; it relates to his spiritual state. God can see him hiding; God wants to know how Adam is feeling and how eating the fruit has changed him — changed who he is, how he feels, what he thinks, where he “is” on his spiritual path.
Today, as I was thinking about this question, asking myself, “Ayeka?”, I realized how easy it is for us to hide in our day-to-day lives. We get lost in living. In other words, we lose our true selves. Just as eating the forbidden fruit changed Adam and Eve, becoming so involved in the “shoulds” of our life and the hustle and bustle and meeting requirements and living up to expectations, we get lost. We lose ourselves. We let our lives cover us up so we — the “real” self — can no longer be seen. And so we have to ask ourselves, “Ayeka? Where are you?” Where are our true selves…our full selves?
Today when I asked myself this question, I replied, “Heneini,” a Hebrew word which means, “I am here.” In other words, “I am right here. See me! I’m ready to come out of hiding.” It also means I’m here in this moment. And I am right here at this point in time, and I am ready to do your will, ready to fulfill my soul’s purpose, ready to be myself to the fullest extent.
Hopefully, when I do that, God will say, “Yodea! I see you.” For indeed, that is what I want. That is what we all want…to be seen for who we truly are in the fullest sense.