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Rabbi Steinsaltz: "God acts from a position of withdrawal"


God is not actively revealed within the world.

The Creator who is the Prime Cause of all life is not revealed within the ugly world of exile and fall, and the very fact that the world is in a state of exile derives from God's not being revealed in it.

On the contrary, the world in which the king is revealed as King of the Universe, and which He actively rules, is the world redeemed: the perfected world.

The creation of the world and the giving of free will to man are, in a certain sense, the beginning of Hester Panim, or Divine withdrawal (literally, “concealing the Face”), until it seems that God “hath forsaken the earth" (Ezekiel 8:12).

Therefore, God acts from a position of withdrawal although this action is not manifest or seen.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From the Introduction to The Tales of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz