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Foresight 20/20

Friday, 17 March, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Sunglasses with beach reflection.png 

“If G-d is real, why doesn’t he show Himself?” Is a common question that I’m asked in various forms at least once a week. And it’s a good question which we can discuss in detail at some point. But the simplest answer is - He does. G-d does reveal Himself, but He only reveals his back.

Just like it’s harder to recognize a person from behind, sometimes it’s difficult to recognize G-d. But just like someone whom we know well is easily recognized - even from behind; with enough familiarity we can recognize G-d in this world, too.

One of the most disturbing stories in the Torah will be read this Shabbat. It’s the narrative of the Golden Calf: Only 40 days after experiencing the unprecedented G-dly revelation at Mount Sinai (itself after witnessing the miracles of the Exodus), the Jewish people created an idol and worshiped it.

I’m not going to get into it’s creation and worship by the Jewish people, rather I’d like to highlight what Moses’ is told after obtaining G-d’s forgiveness for the Jewish people. Moses requested from G-d “show me your face” and G-d replied and  explained how it’s impossible to experience that level of Divine insight. However, G-d continued, “I will place you into the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by… you will see My back but My face shall not be seen."

It doesn’t take much to see G-d’s presence in everything we do - especially when we think back to how things worked out over time. How often has it happened that you’ve experienced something that was frustrating at the time but later turned out to be good?

When we recognize in hindsight how things have worked out for the best, that’s seeing “G-d’s back”. The trick is to recognize it as such at the time, and not only in hindsight. That’s a skill worth developing. It would save us much unnecessary worry and anxiety. 

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