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ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא

But I will surely have concealed My face on that day. (31:18)

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Hashem will conceal His Presence from us. Indeed, many times Jews feel that Hashem has “disappeared” from their lives. They should know that the Almighty is always present. At times, however, He conceals Himself, making it that much more difficult for us to perceive Him. This only means that we must look harder. Why does the Torah repeat itself – hasteir astir, double concealment? Concealment, by its very definition, is absolute. Something is either hidden, or it is not. If one can easily locate it, it is not really concealed. Horav Reuven Karlinstein, zl, explains that this concealment is unique in that Hashem will conceal the actual hester panim, concealment. People will experience troubles, adversity, economic havoc, unexplained illness. Do they attribute it to Hashem, or do they “blame” everyone and everything, while refusing to stop and think that Hashem might be communicating with them?

Finding fault in everything but the true Source of the adversity is our way of avoiding the truth: Hashem is speaking to us, warning us that enough is enough. It is time to change. Hashem will conceal the concealment. He will not make it obvious for us to sense that He is manipulating the circumstances that affect our tefillah, prayer, and teshuvah, repentance, so that we own up to our faults and do something to counteract them.

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