Library: Kabbalsh & Chassidism
The Chassidic Approach To Joy By Shloma Majesky
Publisher's Foreword Mind-Control
Understanding, the Core of Joy Growing From Pain
Being Happy at All Times Growing Beyond the "I"
Seeing the Silver Lining Letting Go
Expanding Our Horizons Simchah: A Dynamic of Empowerment
Probing Beneath the Surface A Lightning Rod to the Spiritual Realms
Confronting Challenges Bringing Moshiach with Happiness

Chapter 5: Probing Beneath the Surface

Up until now, we have endeavored to explain that a person should always be happy because everything that occurs to him is good. The only difference is whether that good is openly perceived, or that good is disguised. This thesis itself, however, requires explanation. Why does G-d sometimes give good in a disguised way? What is the purpose behind this?

A story is told about the Maggid of Mezeritch. Once, his son came running to him in tears. The Maggid comforted him and asked him why he was crying. The child began to explain that he had been playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with his friends.

He and all his friends were hiding. They remained in their hiding places for a long time, thinking that they had hidden themselves well, and the person who was "it" was unable to find them. But soon they got tired of waiting. They came out of their hiding places and found out that they had been wrong. The one who was "it" was not even there. He had played a trick on them. After they went into their hiding places, he went home instead of searching for them. That is why the Maggid's son and his friends were crying.

When the Maggid of Mezeritch heard this story, he also began to cry. His son asked him why he was crying. The Maggid told him that G-d has the same complaint.

What did the Maggid mean? It is written,1 "You are a G-d who hides." G-d says, "I hide Myself from you, but the purpose of My hiding is that you should come and search for Me. But instead of searching for Me, you go away and busy yourselves with other things."

To apply the concept to the question at hand: When a negative thing happens and a person feels broken, the reason he feels broken is not the negative event itself. As explained above, many people have suffered difficulty without being broken. The person is broken because he does not recognize that G-d is hiding, and that the purpose of this negative event is to motivate him to search and find G-d, even as He is hidden. If the person only realized that, he would not be broken.

To employ an analogy: A father wishes to see how clever his child is. He wants to bring out and develop the intelligence of the child, and with that intent in mind, he hides from the child. If the child is very young, he immediately begins to cry because he cannot find his father. A child who is more mature thinks about what is happening and realizes that his father is playing with him. He therefore begins searching for his father until he finds him.

The purpose of the father?s hiding is not to stay away from his child. On the contrary, he wants to be discovered, he wants the child to find him. But he wants the child to make the effort of looking for him and discovering where he is hiding.

The same applies regarding the analogy. The reason G-d disguises Himself and hides Himself is that He wants us to search for Him and find Him in the disguise, to probe deeply until we find where He is hiding.

And this analogy teaches us another powerful concept:2 Not only is simchah important because it reflects the truth. When a person is b'simchah , this, itself, causes the disguise to be abandoned and prompts the good and the blessing to emerge to the surface.

Why? To refer back to the analogy, when the child continues searching for his father and finds where he is hiding, what happens then?

Does the father continue to hide? No. Once his son finds him, it is all over and he comes out of his hiding place. He had wanted his son to look for him, but once he finds him, he has no reason to continue hiding.

The same applies in regard to G-d and Jews. The purpose of G-d's hiding and His being disguised is that we should search for Him and learn to find Him. When a person is b'simchah, he is aware of G-d; it is as if he is saying, "Yes, G-d is hiding, but I can recognize and identify Him in these events even though He is hidden."

And then the mask is lifted and G-d emerges from hiding. Or to say it in different words, then the blessing and the goodness come to the surface.

This is the tremendous quality simchah possesses, that it causes the good to come out in the open. That is the unique virtue displayed by Rabbi Akiva and Nachum Ish Gamzu. Because these people saw very clearly that everything that happens comes from G-d, they knew that everything is definitely good. Therefore, they were always b'simchah.

And shortly thereafter, the difficulty that confronted them was transformed. The inner blessing and good that was hidden was revealed. Because they recognized G-d, and sensed the goodness hidden in the disguise, the disguise was quickly dropped and the inner goodness surfaced.

A question, nevertheless, remains: Why does G-d disguise Himself? Why does He want us to search for Him? In the case of a father and his child, we can see the game as a form of entertainment. The father wants the child to look for him, so that the child will show how clever he is. Such a rationale is acceptable for human beings.

In our relationship with G-d, however, there must be a far deeper reason why G-d hides Himself, and why He desires that we search for Him. Why then does He hide? Surely there must be a positive purpose for His concealment.

1. Isaiah 45:15.
2. See Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 11.