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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: 4

(4) JESSIE, July 25, 2009 9:41 AM

God never hides his face. He allows all our decisions to act out. In making choices fulfilling our base desires we suffer pain at every level. If we can 'love our neighbour as ourselves" than perhaps we will be able to see God in ourselves and others.

(3) Tuvia, March 9, 2009 8:01 PM

wrong conclusion

What I get from the idea that God has hidden his face is quite the opposite of the author's conclusion. Hashem has left the details of this world to us. We need to do OUR VERY BEST. That's all we can do. The idea that he is removed from this world -- in terms of our daily conflicts and problems, illnesses and wars -- is what must compel us to "take up the slack" and do everything in our power to fight illness, injustice, social and societal ills. If we don't get the stimulus right, it will fail -- Hashem will stand back and let it. If we get the econ stimulus right, it will succeed -- Hashem will stand back and let it. You can apply this idea to every element of our lives. Perhaps the most difficult one: if we don't fight WWII -- every Jew in Europe dies period. If we do fight it, and fight it successfully -- the win stops the slaughter of Jews. Either way, Hashem stands back and watches. And that is something we have to grow up about.

(2) bernie siegel, March 8, 2009 10:59 AM

why would you want to be god for a day?

the baal shem tov's answer to the question was, "No i would not change anything but i would understand why." we are not yet capable of creating a perfect world and for god to do so would mean creation no longer exists. so live and learn so that one day we may share our love and compassion and provide a perfect world for our existence.

(1) Nathan, March 5, 2009 11:39 AM

What does He want to happen

Correct, man is not in control. Does God want an economic recovery, or a great depression? Is He next going to give us redemption or another holocaust? Will the United States continue to be the super-power, or will it be Pakistan or China? God's decisions of what's best, are not necessarily what we mortals would like best. He's given us over into Haman's hands before, He may decide to do it again.

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