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Why can't we see G-d?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Hide and Seek 

With tears in his eyes the little boy ran into to his father’s study. When his father, Rabbi Dovber, the great Magid of Mezritch, asked the boy why he was crying the boy explained:

I was playing hide and seek with my friends. I found a great hiding place, and just as I thought, no one could find me. Then the disheartening happened. Something I hadn’t thought about.

They stopped looking for me. They left and went on to play other games.

His father said son, you’ve learned something very important today:

G-d too plays hide and seek. G-d hid in this world because He wants us to actively look for Him.

There is nothing wrong if we can’t naturally see G-d. The problem is only if we stop looking for Him.

"Breishit Bara Elokim" ("In the beginning Elo-him created") doesn't only tell us that G-d was concealed, but also why.
In the Beginning G-d Concealed Himself

It is naturally impossible for the finite to see the infinite. For the finite to exist the infinite must be concealed. Welcome to our world.

"Breishit Bara Elo-him" - "In the beginning Elo-him created".1

The name/description for the Divine attribute manifest in nature is Elo-him. As a matter of fact, Elo-him and Hateva (Heb. Nature) have the same numerical value: 86. Etymologically, the word Elo-him consists of two words: Elam – muted, and Yud Hei – a Divine name.

This attribute of Divine concealment creates a universe in which G-d is concealed. "In the beginning [It] created concealment".2

You Can Find Him

Then He created mankind. You.

G-d can't be seen, but He can be found. His involvement and presences are clearly visible for those who look.

How?

Concealment was created through the Asarah Mamarot - Ten Utterances of creation.3 The revelation comes through the Aseret Hadibrot - the Ten Commandments (which include the whole Torah).

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, disciple of the great Magid, taught that "Breishit Bara Elokim" ("In the beginning Elo-him created") doesn’t only tell us that G-d was concealed, but also why.

He explained that the first verse of the Torah contains the ailment and the remedy, the question and the answer. Because after you read the verse as explained above, you need to read it as explained below:4

Breishit - a beginning, a foundation: The primary and fundamental objective of life is…

Bara - cure:5 …to cure, to reveal the concealment of...

Elo-him - ...the Divine hidden in nature.

Footnotes

  • 1. Genesis 1:1
  • 2. "Breishit": in the beginning. "Bara": [It] created. "Elo-him": Divine concealment.
  • 3. Ethics of our Fathers 5:1
  • 4. “Above” and “Below” refer to the article, but also to heaven and earth. The verse as it is a story about heaven is a story of concealment. But as it is a directive to earth, it is a guide to revelation.
  • 5. Like the hebrew word Bari or Briut, healthy.

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