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HIDE & SEEK

by Stuart W.   
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

"By the seventh day Hashem completed His work which He had done, and He abstained on the seventh day from all the work which He had done" (Genesis 2:2).

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"By the seventh day Hashem completed His work which He had done, and He abstained on the seventh day from all the work which He had done" (Genesis 2:2).

A story is told about a small boy who was sitting by the road and crying. A great rabbi was passing by and he stopped and gathered the child up into his arms. "Why are you crying, little fellow?" he asked him. The little boy replied, "I was playing hide-and-seek with my friends, and I said that I would hide and they should come and look for me. But nobody came to look for me." The child burst into tears again.

"Don't feel so bad," said the rabbi. "You're in good company, because Hashem feels pretty much like you - not many people are coming to look for Him, either."

The Hebrew word for "world" is "olam", and it derives from the same root as the word "he'elam - hidden". The physical world is literally a place for Hashem to be hidden. The job of Man is to uncover Hashem's presence in the world and thus earn the closeness to Him which is the Creator's desire. This is the purpose of creation.

When the Torah talks about Hashem "working", it obviously does not mean that Hashem needs to expend any effort to accomplish something. The "work" that Hashem does is the creation of veils - the creation of "hidden-ness". These veils are necessary so that Man may have freedom of choice. For when the servant is standing in the throne room in front of the King, he has no freedom to choose to transgress the will of the King, for he is transfixed by the awe of His presence. When Hashem is hidden behind the veil of the world, however, we do not perceive His presence so clearly, and we thus are provided the choice not to follow the King's orders.

On Shabbat when Hashem "rests", He ceases to create these veils which obscure Him from us, and when we experience Shabbat the way the Torah teaches us to, we feel close to Hashem. This is why Shabbat is called a resemblance of the World to Come, a world in which there are no veils.

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Based on a publication from the Yeshiva Ohr Somayach.

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