900.12d Integration of Divine Hester; Self-limitation; Contraction (pps.129-131)

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during the Holocaust period be forced to pay so horribly for others’ sins? Does not humankind deserve some Divine protection in spite of its failings? Why did the Divine (suddenly) effectuate Hester Panim in the mid-twentieth century? Did the Hester neatly end just in time for the establishment of the State of Israel, and if so, why?51i Does Jewish philosophy neatly turn the Divine on a dime to reconcile the historic turnaround in Israel’s fortunes? Or does the Hester continue? Is there din v’mishpat (judgment and sentence) for those living during a time of Hester? Was there hashgachah (Providence) outside of Europe, while there was Hester in Europe? If the Hester was not punishment, why indeed was there Hester?

If, during the tragedy, Hester Panim is the prevailing state, would not prayer then seem to be efficacious only when it is least needed, and not efficacious when it is most needed? Or is the concept of prayer itself not indeed much more complex and much more difficult than previously accepted by mainstream Jewish theology?

Can one simply declare Hester Panim for a discrete, horrific, inexplicable sequence of events without fully addressing the accompanying theological issues?

Thus, providing Hester Panim as the neat solution to the problem of the Holocaust, or of evil in general, without providing a complete and synchronous theology to house it, would seem to leave untenable philosophical and theological chasms. When a cataclysmic tragedy befalls the Jewish people, do we conveniently pull out the Hester Panim rabbit, only to about-face when dire tragedy is not transpiring and then admonish the masses that their every thought, let alone deed, is currently being monitored by the Deity?

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517 According to Soloveitchik. “The State of Israel, however, reflects God’s return to active providence, the termination of Hester Panim.” Besdin, Reflections of the Raw, p. 37.

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