900.12d Integration of Divine Hester; Self-limitation; Contraction (pps.129-131)
hard cover page 129
Jewish theologians carry forward the interrelated themes of Hester, Self-limitation, and contraction of the Divine.510
. . . in a sense, God restricts Himself from seeing evil, as the Prophet exclaims, “Your eyes are too pure to look upon evil, You cannot gaze upon wrongdoing” [Habakkuk 1:131].
. .. one of the basic concepts of man’s predicament was that God should hold back His Light and hide His presence.
God hides Himself, putting aside His essential infiniteness and withholding His endless light to the extent necessary in order that the world may exist.
The Bible knows of God’s hiding His face, of times when the contact between Heaven and earth seems to be interrupted. God seems to withdraw Himself utterly from the earth and no longer to participate in its existence. The space of history is then full of noise, but as it were, empty of divine breath. For one who believes in the living God, who knows about Him, and is fated to spend his life in a time of His hiddenness, it is very difficult to live.
. . . the distinction between two types of Divine punishment, Hester Panim and Middat Hadin. . . . In Deut. 31:17. the Torah describes the ultimate punishment of Hester Panim:
Then My anger will flare up against them in that day and I
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510 See also Merton, The New Man, pp. 123 and 127. “One, who infinitely hidden and transcendent . . .”;”the Lord is hidden in the clouds of an infinite and inexorable transcendency.”
511 Kaplan, The Infinite Light, p. 57.
512 Luzzatto, The Way of God. p. 123.
513 Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose, p. 37.
514 Buber, “God and the World’s Evil,” in Noveck, Contemporary Jewish Thought, vol. 4, p. 256.
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