Let My People Know

"One can arouse one's soul to an experience of the Divine essence"


A story from the Midrash tells that when God wanted to reveal His face to Moses (at the burning bush), Moses was not ready and did not want it.

Then, when Moses matured and asked for it, God did not want to reveal His face. 

So it is for many people. 

One is afraid to look and thus hides his face before God.

Then when he is able to see, it turns out that God has turned away. 

Hence it is written that were the soul liberated from the body and from the senses, the capacity to realize God from the abstract knowledge we have of Him would perhaps be possible. 

The very structure of our existence, however, thinking as we do through our physical brains and limited bodies, emphasizes the truth of the statement: "And no man shall see Me and live." 

The other side of reality is barred. 

Nevertheless, one does grasp the reality of the King, by means, at least, of the Torah and mitzvot. 

In that way, one does embrace the Divine essence, even, perhaps, without ever being sure of what it is that one is embracing, for the action of consciousness at its highest level is enough to overcome that which may be lacking in emotional terms. 

That is to say, even if one cannot love God with the same purity and holiness of a Tzadik, one can arouse one's soul to an experience of the Divine essence by conscious fulfillment of the mitzvot. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Long Shorter Way, Chapter 16, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz