More than meets the eye
Hashem wears the ultimate camouflage and, although He masterfully runs the show behind the scenes, we will never see Him. But I question, is it truly accurate that we don’t see Him? I think we see him all the time, we simply can’t prove it. To me הסתר פנים (God’s hidden face) means that God’s existence cannot be confirmed, but not that he can’t be seen. In fact, we’re inundated daily with stories and anecdotes about Divine intervention. That’s why I think so many people believe in God. Because we really know He’s there, we just can’t prove it.
In the first Torah of Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman charges every Jew to consider the deeper wisdom in everything. He says that every object, interaction or situation in our lives can be understood more profoundly and can bring us closer to God. Granted, on our level we can’t know what the deeper wisdom is of an apple. But as I once heard from Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, at minimum we must be open to the belief that there is more Godliness to an apple than we know. “What you see is what you get” is not a Jewish belief.
Rebbe Nachman says we can’t understand what it means that God is beyond time (Tinyana 61), but amazingly he explains why! Our whole concept of time is only because of our limited intellect. For example, when we sleep and are free from our intellectual limitations, we can experience years in the matter of minutes. Only when we wake up – and come back to our (fixed) senses – do we realize that the dream was merely a few minutes.
So if everything in life is full of meaning, how do we access that depth and beauty?
I know for myself that I make at least one mistake. I tend to judge my success in terms of quantity, when in reality it’s all about quality. I notice I connect a lot more when I slowwww dowwwn!! I can relate when I allow myself to be in the moment and experience life. I need to ask myself quite often, “why run through prayer”? I might ‘get credit’ but I sure don’t connect! Isn’t it more important to participate in life than to run through it and fill your quota?
I think this is what the commentaries understood (רש״י פרשת בחוקותי כ״ו,ג) when they said that all of God’s blessings flow through the toil of Torah. Torah is meant to be chewed before swallowed. The blessings are there to be had and God’s mask is ready to be removed if we but allow ourselves to be mindful in the experience and open to possibilities that we never conceived.