30 Nissan 5781 / Monday, April 12, 2021 | Torah Reading: Tazria - Metzora
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His Face Always    

His Face Always

Since closeness to our Creator is the ultimate goodness and Hashem wants the best for us, He always has ways of sending us the hint, "Come back to Me now…"


A person’s face reflects what he wants to reveal to you. A frown or a smile indicate a reaction to something you may have said or done. But it's not the whole story. Until you hear from the person, or receive more information, you could misread his or her facial expression. 


At times, the look he gives you may be the first signal that you need to have a private talk with him. This is especially the case when you care about your relationship and he or she is beloved to you. The open conversation you have together may be the lifeline for a healthy connection.


What if your partner turns away and is not even looking at you? What does that mean? What message is he sending?


Clarifying our relationship with our beloved Creator is similar. The "face" of Hashem is how we perceive His relationship with us. When He shows us His "face", it's really a smile, a blessing, a perception of His revealed kindness. When He hides His face (hester panim), we have a difficult time and we don't understand what is going on. 


King David tells us to "seek His face always", instructing us to ask, on a regular basis, "What is Hashem doing for me? What kindness is He granting me? What is He denying me?  Is He happy with how I am thinking, talking and acting?”


Rav Tzadok HaCohen of Lublin says that the way of the oral Torah is to spell things out. However, the way of Divine Providence and the written Torah is to give us hints. 


The Tzadikim tell us that there is a way to perceive these hints: 


We need to regularly seek His face.


When you want a healthy, understanding relationship with someone you love, you need to engage him or her and ask for clarification: "What are you feeling? What do you mean? How can I help? What do I need to do differently?"


The approach is simple:


1. Acknowledge how much the relationship means to you, and how much the person is part of your life.


2. Tell him what you don't understand and ask him to let you know what he’s feeling. Was there something you said or did wrong?


3. Ask his forgiveness and thank him for the opportunity to clarify his reaction, so you can continue the blessing of closeness with him.


In the same way, when we don't understand what our Creator really wants from us, we need to:


1. Thank Him for the circumstance we are in (it's for our best: to teach us, come closer to His emuna, to do teshuva, and merit His blessings).


2. Ask Him, and keep begging Him, until He reveals the hint He is sending us.


3. Once we have an answer (sometimes this might be best clarified with a close rebbe), ask Him for the will and the means to really change, and thank Him again for the opportunity to come close to Him through this circumstance.


"We will search our ways, investigate and return to You…"


Why does the prophet tell us that the process of teshuva requires investigation first? Why do we need to "investigate and return?" Why can't Hashem make His intentions clear to us? Do we really need to ask Him to reveal them? Does teshuvah need to be so difficult?


I heard a simple explanation from Rav Yisroel Friedman, Shlit"a, the Spinka Rav of Bayswater, that helps us answer these questions.


When a person turns away from Hashem and sins, he has created a distance. Because closeness to our Creator is the ultimate goodness and Hashem wants the best for us, He always has ways of sending us the hint, "Come back to Me now!" 


When we went astray, we did not consider our relationship with Him. We stopped thinking. The sages tell us: "A man does not sin unless a spirit of foolishness enters him." 


In turn, measure for measure, things seem unclear to us now. We don’t know why things are happening this way. We are charged to think hard, dig deeper, retrace our steps, and speak to Hashem in the following way: 


Hashem! Thank you for placing me in this circumstance. Through this ordeal, please help me to merit a closer relationship with You and receive what You really want for me. Please reveal where I went wrong, so I can really change! Hashem, please help me get the hint and return to You in the ways You want me to, right now! (and keep begging until you receive an answer!)


When we approach Hashem this way, whenever things go wrong, even in the slightest way, we can merit the closeness of seeking His face...always! Rebbe Nachman reveals that this type of investigation is a necessary component of one's regular personal prayer. * It's precisely how a person merits to sweeten the judgments upon him, and to perceive the hidden light embedded and hinted at in the Torah. 


Since one cared enough to investigate and search the intentions behind the circumstance, he is rewarded measure for measure. The hints become revealed, and he merits an animated and close relationship with his Beloved Creator...by seeking His face!


*Likkutei Moharan 1:15, a Torah known by commentators as "The Hidden Light."

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