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The balancing act


“Rav Chisda held a jewel in one hand and a worthless seed in the other hand. The pearl he showed his daughters, but the seed he didn’t show them until they were suffering [from curiosity], and then he showed it to them”. (Shabbos 140b)

Faith in Hashem is the belief that YHVH (God) is the Elohim (Lord). The Holy name YHVH corresponds to the upper worlds and the hiddenness of Hashem, and the Holy name Elohim corresponds to the lower worlds and Hashem’s revealed presence.

In Tinyana 7, Rebbe Nachman teaches that the true tzaddik unites Heaven and earth by developing both his exceptional students and his disheartened disciples. He demonstrates to the outstanding students that, even with all the knowledge they amassed, they still know nothing, and the essence of Hashem is totally hidden from them. But to his floundering pupils he shows how “the entire earth is filled with His glory”. So even in the far away places that they’ve sunk, they can still reveal godliness.  Then, instructs the Rebbe, the tzaddik has to mesh both worlds together, the upper world (of the superior student) and the lower world (of the inferior student), so that the superior students incorporate a measure of the inferior students’ insight and visa versa. Because if the superior student only worships with the insight of “what have I seen”, he might despair of ever developing a relationship with the Creator, thinking that he will never know Him. Conversely, if the inferior student only serves with the insight of “the entire earth is filled with His glory”, he might never strive to develop a deeper relationship with the Creator, because it’s all the same revealed glory anyways.

Hashem is both hidden and revealed. His essence is hidden, but His works are revealed. This life that we struggle through is a balancing act of revealing the hidden, and knowing that the more we reveal, the more hidden He is. Hashem is always showing us one jewel but hiding the other jewel. But that’s ok! It’s not a game that we need to win. It’s just a game that we need to play. One day, in the end of ends, everything will be revealed and the daas (knowledge) will be available to everyone. But until that time, we need to find harmony within this tension by uniting Heaven and earth.

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