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On Simchat Torah we read the last passage of the Torah, but we don’t stop for even a moment when we finish reading the Torah. Instead, we turn around and start over immediately from the first verse. There are many celebrations on Simchat Torah, but they come before we read …

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Home » Vayelech

Vayelech: Concealment Within Concealment

Submitted by on September 3, 2006 – 7:50 pmNo Comment | 1,133 views

A Double Phrase

“And I conceal I shall conceal my face on that day because of the evil that he (the nation) did and because he (the nation) turned to foreign G-ds.” The Baal Shem Tov taught that by doubling its words, conceal I shall conceal, the Torah implies concealment within concealment. What does this mean?

An Example

For many centuries, the custom in Jerusalem was to declare a public fast day and national day of repentance on occasion of a drought. There was an understanding that G-d’s withholding of rain was a concealment of his face. What is the antidote to such concealment? Repentance, of course!

Today this custom would be ridiculed; regarded as mere superstition. Even if a fast were to be declared and rain were to fall immediately after the fast skeptics would dismiss it as coincidence. They would construe it as a meteorological phenomenon caused by a confluence of natural causes.

This is concealment within concealment. The one from whom G-d conceals himself denies that G-d is concealed.

Repentance Addresses the Cause

One who is aware that troubles are a symptom of G-d’s concealment does everything possible to reverse the concealment. He seriously considers the Talmud’s counsel to examine his behavior and repent. One who is convinced that all events are mere happenstance never turns to repentance as a solution. His shallow perspective allows him to view the symptom, but never the cause.

Reflection

With Rosh Hashanah nearly upon us let us consider the advice of our High Holiday liturgy. “Repentance, prayer and charity mitigate the severity of decree. “ As we beseech the Almighty for a happy, sweet new year let us also do what he asks of us; repent, pray and offer as much charity as we dare.

And then some…

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