The Search: Response to Consequences
“When He slew them, then they would seek Him. They would repent and pray to God (Psalms 78:34).” Radak suggests that this may be understood in two ways. First, after the victims of God’s wrath were slain for their transgressions, the survivors were aroused to seek out God.
Second, following the sin of the Spies, when God condemned the entire nation to death in the wilderness, they sought to appease Him by displaying new found enthusiasm for entering Israel.
This is not the seeking or search of Elul:
“Seek God while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to God, and He will have mercy on them,
and to our Lord, for He will freely pardon (Isaiah 55).”
Elul is our opportunity to seek God because it is the time when He “may be found.” God makes Himself more accessible to us, so that we seek Him not in response to tragedy or pain, but in response to an opportunity.
Elul is not Seeking God because we feel low, or unsuccessful. It is a completely positive Seeking, an opportunity. It is a time of aspiration.