veils of kindness

Today is the Hillulah of Rebbe Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, the Maor Eynayim. To check out my last twenty posts relating to Torahs of the Maor Eynayim click here. Heichal Hanegina has a write up with stories about him as well, here.

As I'm holding in his Likkutim right now, this Torah comes from Parashath VaYakhel:

I've actually been thinking a lot lately about the interaction of the first two berachot of Shemonah Esrei, the Amidah, and how HaShem's Hesed and Din, his kindness--his desire to give, and his judgement--his ability to withhold interrelate.

From the Berachot, the first Berachah (which represents HaShem's Hochmah, His Wisdom and the root of His Kindness, His Hesed) talks about HaShem's constant protection of Avraham and all of his descendants. The second berachah (which represents HaShem's Binah, His Understanding, and the root of His Din, His withholding) is full of all of HaShem's many kindnesses, he raises up the fallen, he heals the sick, brings rain, and generally administers his world with Hesed, even to the point of raising the dead.

My question is, why does the Berachah which relates more closely to HaShem's Din actually discuss more of HaShem's Hesed? In fact, the only mention of Din in the berachah is offhandedly describing the hardships that HaShem is fixing.

The answer is a very simple one when we stop to think about it: HaShem's desire to bestow kindness upon us is unbounded, totally infinite. We as finite beings are unable to receive the full brunt of HaShem's kindnesses and expect to walk away unscathed. The true and deepest reason for HaShem's Din in the world is not to cause us harm but rather to prevent our harm. By moderating and holding back the lion's share of HaShem's Hesed, we are able to receive His kindness unscathed. In this sense the true enabler of HaShem's Hesed is His Din.

Perhaps this is why the first berachah ends with the statement that HaShem protects Avraham. His truest and deepest kindness is that He has a side of Din as well.

The Maor Eynayim explains this idea in a nice simple illustration: He explains that all the created worlds (עולמות) are basically veils that shade us from the full brightness and glory of HaShem, dimming His light to a level that we can perceive and receive without being annihilated. This, he explains, is why the word Olam, (עולם) meaning world, is rooted in the word He'elem (העלם) meaning to hide.


Related posts

Blog Widget by LinkWithin