Let My People Know

"God hides Himself"

“The only thing we are permitted to say about the Infinite would involve the negative of all qualities.

For the Infinite is beyond anything that can be grasped in any terms–either positive or negative.

Not only is it impossible to say of the Infinite that He is in any way limited or that He is bad, one cannot even say the opposite, that he is vast or He is good.

Just as He is not matter, He is not spirit, nor can He be said to exist in any dimension meaningful to us.

The dilemma posed by this meaning of infinity is more than a consequence of the inadequacy of the human mind.

It represents a simply unbridgeable gap, a gap that cannot be crossed by anything definable.

There would seem to be an abyss stretching between God and the world–and not only the physical world of time, space, and gravity, but also the spiritual worlds, no matter how sublime, confined as each one is within the boundaries of its own definition.

Creation itself becomes a divine paradox.

To bridge the abyss, the Infinite keeps creating the world.

His creation being not the act of forming something out of nothing but the act of revelation.

Creation is an emanation from the divine light; its secrets not the coming into existence of something new but the transmutation of the divine reality into something defined and limited–into a world.

This transmutation involves a process, or a mystery, of contraction.

God hides Himself, putting aside His essential infiniteness and withholding His endless light to the extent necessary in order that the world may exist.

Within the actual divine light nothing can maintain its own existence; the world becomes possible only through the special act of divine withdrawal or contraction.

Such divine non-being or concealment, is thus the elementary condition for the existence of that which is finite.”

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From “Divine Manifestation” in The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz