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When God Hides His Face
Mom with a View

When God Hides His Face

Even when the situation appears bleak, God is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings.


I've been thinking a lot lately about Purim -- a little about hamantashen recipes, a little about mishloach manot – but mostly about the Almighty hiding His face, about living in a time of concealment.

On a national level, on an international level, we face uncertainty and insecurity. No country is immune to the financial stress, there are warring tribes and nations across the globe, Iran sits poised to acquire nuclear capacity, Pakistan already has it, and anti-Israel sentiment seems to be on the rise.

More locally, in my small community recently there have been a slew of sorrows -- sudden deaths, illness among children, damaged or destroyed relationships.

It's impossible to make sense of it all. It's a world where the Almighty hides His face.

And not only is it impossible to control it all, but it's not our job. Sure, we have to make our effort, we have to do what's right, we have to be kind and caring. But the ultimate outcome -- for the world and our people and our local communities and individuals -- rests with a power much greater than ourselves.

And the truth is that's a relief. Because if the Almighty wasn't in charge, then we'd really have to worry.

Yes, we're confused, we're uncertain -- even a little unhinged at times, but we know it will be all right.

The most important lesson of the Purim story is that even when the situation appears bleak, even when the Almighty's face is hidden, He is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings. The Cosmic Puppeteer.

We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the Almighty is here, whether we can see His face or not.

That knowledge doesn't ease all the pain. It just takes the edge off; a little spiritual Tylenol. It keeps our anxiety manageable and out of the DSM-IV. Because we really aren't in charge. We really don't have to plan the world's future. And it really will all be okay.

We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the Almighty is here, whether we can see His face or not.

We need to make a reasonable effort to stimulate the economy but whether this particular plan works is out of Barak Obama and Nancy Pelosi's hands. We need to fight for our land and try to make peace for Israel, but whether this is achieved doesn't really depend on if Bibi or Tzippi Livni are running the government. We need to see doctors and take our medicine but whether the cure will be effective or not is out of our hands. We need to pursue an education and send our resumes if we are looking for employment. But who will hire us, in what position, and at what salary is not up to us.

It would be less frustrating if the Almighty's face weren't hidden. Everything would be clear and our decisions easy. We'd certainly sleep better at night. But that's not our challenge, that's not our opportunity for growth.

At the time of Achashverosh, our people had difficulty remembering the Almighty's hidden presence. It was a little too "out of sight, out of mind." With Esther's help, they woke up just in time.

We need to rouse ourselves now, to move forward with faith and optimism, recognizing that even though He may be hidden, it's all in His hands. And on Purim, we can take a small drink (emphasis on small), just to help ease our anxieties and inhibitions and clear the path to this recognition.

We pray that this be the year where the whole Jewish people comes to recognize the Almighty's presence and where the mask of darkness is removed from our world.

February 28, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 10

(10) Roberta, March 4, 2009 7:34 PM

G-d Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Don't think for one minute that we can all sit back complacently while there are so many problems in this world. Do your very best, then the rest is in the Almighty's hands. Each of us doing our best may be the Almighty's solution.

(9) David, March 4, 2009 3:57 PM

God IS in control

This is in answer to Deny Rios. Throughout history, God has and is in control. Though there are sometimes horrible and unthinkable cruelties that take place, and we are unable to explain them. The Lord allows these things to happen as they are a way to add to His glory. The Lord commands the universe, but he allows satan to torment and manipulate us in such a way as it will bring glory to our Heavenly Father. Think about the story of Job. Job was a righteous man, and the Lord was proud of how he loved the Lord. This troubled satan, so he asked the Lord for permission to test Job. The Lord agreed, stating that he wasn't allowed to kill Job (but nothing was said about his family). Throughout the situation, Job stayed true to the Lord and brought Him great glory through his faith. I hope that is some small help to you. God bless you! David

(8) Sharon, March 4, 2009 3:22 AM

I agree, but the article leaves out one important message

This is a great article, but it doesn't stress the main way we can affect the outcome of any situation. If the Jews at the time of the Purim story had just accepted that "He [The Almighty] is still there behind the scenes, pulling the strings", and done nothing, we would have had a very different story. But they came together in prayer, did teshuva and fasted, and this is what changed the Purim story from a near-tragedy to a day of celebtration. We can't afford to be complacent and assume that everything will be alright. We need to recognise why we are still in exile having all the problems that we are going through - disunity among ourselves - and correct it.

(7) Berry, March 4, 2009 12:58 AM

What a magnificent article.

Thank you for writing this. You express deep and complex philosophies very clearly and in a friendly way. I especially like the idea of it being a relief to acknowledge that H-shem runs the world, so we don't have to (as if we could). Sometimes we exert so much mental and physical energy trying to make something happen. Acknowledging that it really is out of our hands is, should be, a tremendous relief. Hand it over to G-d, it's His job anyway, and always was whether we realized it or not.

(6) lilian russak, March 3, 2009 9:33 PM

so important to remember

I really enjoyed this article. In the midst of all the purim preparations we often forget the most important lesson of all. This article is a such a great reminder and so pertinent to the uncertainty that we all face.

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