900.12a Hester Panim (pps.124-126)

hard cover page 124

Classic Hester Panim has been defined as a “temporary suspension of God’s active surveillance” (Soloveitchik).500 We will define “contraction of real-time consciousness” as a form of Hester Panim. This “Hiding of the Face” concept has ample citation throughout Masorah.

And I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured.
-Deuteronomy 31:17501

——————- NOTES ——————-

500 See complete citation from Soloveitchik in Besdin. Reflections of the Rav, pp. 35-38. Soloveitchik’s definition (p. 36) is as follows: “Hester Punim, however, is a temporary suspension of God’s active surveillance.”
We will focus this definition further to mean contraction of active Divine surveillance in the here-and-now.
There is, of course, a spectrum of variations on this theme, ranging from those who define Hester as a complete blockage of surveillance (and intervention), through those who define Hester as blockage of intervention but not of surveillance, through those who define Hester as neither a blockage of surveillance, nor of intervention,
It should be noted that the citation of Hester from the Pentateuch, cited shortly in our text, contains the double phraseology “and I will foresake them, and I will hide my face from them,” which lends itself more naturally to our definition, which involves contraction of omniscience as well as ruling out intervention.
Towards the other end of the range from our definition is one which posits that in a state of Hester the Divine exclusively employs strict din (justice), as opposed to mishpat (justice tempered with mercy). However, this explanation does not flow readily from the text or from an approximate translation of the words, and seems to us to be a forced attempt to preserve a concept of surveillance-cum-intervention even during Hester. When employed as a the- odicy it is forced to take the position that man in general is deserving of considerable punishment. It is therefore essentially covered within Group I1 theodicies.

501 See Maimonides, Guide 3:51, in reference to Deuteronomy 31:1 7. “It is clear that we ourselves are the cause of this hiding of the face, and that the screen that separates us from God is of our own creation. This is the meaning of the words, ‘And I will surely hide my face in that day.’ ”


CONVERSION TABLE for this multi-page unit
you are currently on hard cover p. 124
Pages pointer hard cover page

Pages: 1 2 3