Parshat Vayeilech – On Revealed Concealment

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The current Sicha explains the verse “And I will surely hide My face on that day.” It expresses how in truth the greatest concealments are the greatest revelations and that darkness can be transformed to light. It is important to note that the Rebbe said this Sicha on the Shabbat that his mother passed away and it is surely related to the event.

 

This week’s parsha expresses rebuke that will transpire if Israel transgresses G-d’s will. The verse states:

 

Text 1

And I will surely hide My face on that day, because of all the evil they have committed, when they turned to other deities.

Devarim 31:18

 

On this verse is expressed a thought from the Bal Shem Tov. When expressing G-d’s concealment the verse uses the formula “haster astir.” While this usually is translated to mean that G-d will surely hide, the Besht explains it to mean that concealment will be hidden.

We will be so far removed from G-d that we won’t even realize the darkness we are in. This is expressed in the statement of Isaiah:

 

Text 2

Woe to those who say of the evil that it is good and of the good that it is evil; who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who present bitter as sweet and sweet as bitter.

Isaiah 5:20

 

Essentially then, this verse is expressive of the greatest darkness there can be.

 

Truly Good

In Chassidus it is explained that the negativity expressed in the rebuke are in truth blessings. Indeed, the reason why these “blessings” are expressed in a way that seem to be the opposite of blessing is because they come from a divine level that is so hidden that they are expressed as something that is felt painfully.

The same is the in regards to the understood regarding the aspect of G-d being hidden. In truth it is a great blessing.

More so, from the fact that it seems to be the epitome of darkness, is understood that it is from the greatest of blessing—as this expresses that it comes from the most deep and hidden of sources.

 

Being Awake

This can be understood based on an idea expressed by the 1st Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, in a discourse:

 

Text 3

“I sleep, but my heart is awake (Shir HaShirim 5:2).”… I sleep refers to the shechina, my heart is awake refers to kudsha brich hu…There are two levels: Memaleh kol almin and sovev kol almin. Memale which means fills is called so because it fills and enlivens all the worlds…this is called shechina… The level of sovev which means surrounds, transcends the worlds and no mind can grasp it.

Boneh Yerushalayim, 120

 

I” refers to the levels that relates to the worlds and can be “asleep,” however, “my heart” refers to the level that transcends the worlds and does not.

There the Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, expresses the following:

 

Text 4

When an individual connects one’s mind and lust… in matters of this world… and desire to receive his life from it, he abandons the life of “You enliven all,” which is memaleh… However, one cannot separate themselves from sovev. For, the desire of the heart that derives from Sovev kol almin is in every individual… Even if it seems to him that he is lacking it and does not feel it; that is surely false, for although he does not see it, the source of his soul does.

Ibid[1]

 

This though is not understood. It is obvious that every living person receives his life force from G-d. That being the case, even an individual that is obsessed with his work and forgets about G-d, surely receives his life from him.

Why then is it expresses that when and individual “connects one’s mind and lust… in matters of this world,” he “he abandons the life of “You enliven all,” which is memaleh?”

In other words: why concerning the life force that transcends the worlds is it expressed that it only “seems” like he is separate from G-d, while in actuality he isn’t, while concerning the G-dliness that permeates the world, it is expressed that he is actually separated from it—seemingly there is no actual difference between the two?

 

An important difference

The answer to this question—as will be explained—is that concerning the level of G-dliness that encompasses the world, the person is not only connected in the depth of his being—beyond the consciousness, but his conscious self is connected as well. However, concerning the level of G-d that enlivens the world, if a person does not identify with it, his conscious self is indeed disconnected.

The explanation of this is as follows:

Concerning the light of memale it’s “purpose” is to permeate the entirety of the world. As such, if a person does not comprehend it, this by definition means that the light is not permeating. By extension then, the individual does not at all relate to this level of G-dliness that permeates.

However, the level that is transcendent of the world, is by its very nature beyond what the mind can comprehend. This that it is found in the world is an expression of its infinity not the worlds grasp.

As such, even when the mind fails to grasp it, it is there as it was before. The failure to see it does not affect in it that it is not there.

It is for this reason that the discourse states: “Even if it seems to him that he is lacking it and does not feel it; that is surely false.” For the revelation of thing does not in any way change the reality of the feeling in the heart existing.

 

More explanation

This, however, is not fully understood:

The statement in the discourse that states: “Even if it seems to him that he is lacking it and does not feel it; that is surely false,” does not seem to make sense. For, why is it false that he doesn’t feel it? Indeed, in his feeling, it seems to surely be lacking.

This can be understood through understanding the answer to a different question. Concerning G-d’s contraction of his light, the question is asked: “how is it possible to contract a limitless and infinite G-dliness?”

The answer given is that the contraction of G-dliness is actually a deeper expression of G-d than His revelation:

 

Text 5

In the concealment of light there is an expression of (G-d’s) essence, more than in revelation. Because to reveal one’s self there is not a novelty. However, to hide one’s self one needs a greater expression of one’s essence. This is expressed in people that to conceal one’s self is much more difficult than revelation.

Torat Shalom, Pg. 148

 

It is therefore understood that the very fact that a person does not feel G-dliness is itself the greatest expression of G-dliness! Therefore, ““even if it seems to him that he is lacking it and does not feel it; that is surely false.” For the lack of revelation is a greater revelation than experiencing G-dliness.

 

A hidden revelation

The same is regarding the verse “And I will surely hide My face on that day.” The hiddenness of G-d is, as expressed before an expression of G-d. More so, it is actually a deeper expression of G-d than revelation.

It is therefore understood how in truth the lack of seeing G-dliness is in essence the greatest blessing and the ultimate expression of G-d!

When a person appreciates that in the greatest concealment is the greatest expression of G-d, this gives him the ability to repent is such a way that the concealment is a revelation and his sins are transformed to merits!

 

(Based on Likutei Sichot 9, reworked by Rabbi Dovid Markel.)

 

 

[1] With some variations, as quoted by the Rebbe.

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