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Shabbat Commentary

13/14 Oct: Shabbat Bereishit comes in 6:13 pm, goes out 7:12 pm

Abraham Joshua Heschel believed that Adam’s sin was primarily in hiding from G-d and from himself. This is not, in Heschel’s eyes, an abstract idea; we all hide from G-d and from our selves. Heschel expresses it thus in the third verse of his poem I and Thou:

Often I glimpse myself in everyone’s form,
hear my own speech – a distant, quiet voice – in people’s weeping,
as if under millions of masks my face would lie hidden.

Heschel is describing a personal experience in which he has hidden from his self, his essence absorbed within society. His face is masked, hidden from view, making the idea to “know thyself” impossible.

I’m not sure why we hide from ourselves so well when we are young — or perhaps we just don’t take the time to think through who we are — but I can say definitively, that one of the great joys of getting older is the unmasking — getting to know yourself — what you actually enjoy or don’t enjoy doing.

Written by

Rabbi Paul Arberman



October 11, 2017