Besides some formal signs of "גילוי פנים" like the Temple or the prophecy that Am Israel enjoyed for about 1000 years from Matan Torah to the destruction of the first Temple.

What are some general, unanimously perceived properties of גילוי פנים that make it so different from the הסתר פנים era we experience now?

I read the Torah and books of Prophets but could see how their lives or worldviews were different from ours. I would like also know to what should we prepare ourselves when the Moshiach comes, B"H.


Two sources worth looking at are Rashi's commentary to Bereshit 32:29, which says:

לא יעקב. לא יאמר עוד שהברכות באו לך בעקבה וברמיה כי אם בשררה ובגלוי פנים, וסופך שהקדוש ברוך הוא נגלה עליך בבית אל ומחליף את שמך, ושם הוא מברכך, ואני שם אהיה ואודה לך עליהן, וזהו שכתוב (הושע יב ה) וישר אל מלאך ויכל בכה ויתחנן לו, בכה המלאך ויתחנן לו, ומה נתחנן לו (שם) בית אל ימצאנו ושם ידבר עמנו, המתן לי עד שידבר עמנו שם, ולא רצה יעקב, ועל כרחו הודה לו עליהן, וזהו (פסוק ל) ויברך אותו שם, שהיה מתחנן להמתין לו ולא רצה:

and the Mechilta of Rabbi Yishmael 17:8 which further clarifies the phrase, saying:

רבי אליעזר אומר: ויבא עמלק, שבא בגלוי פנים, לפי שכל הביאות שבא לא בא אלא במטמוניות, שנאמר: "אשר קרך בדרך" וגו', אבל ביאה זו לא בא אלא בגילוי פנים, לכך נאמר "ויבא עמלק", שבא בגלוי פנים.

The comments from Rashi emphasize that the return of prophecy is a large part of this idea, while the comments from the Mechilta clarify that it is the idea of removing the aspect of concealment between the Creator and his creation.

This concealment is described in the opening of Sefer Bereshit with the presence of the single light without any apparent source. It then progressed to two light sources (a lack of oneness and the appearance of separate entities) and then the creation of the concepts of Greater and Lesser. The process of creation involved concealing G-d's unity (Hester Panim), His oneness, in greater and greater degrees.

The converse of this is the revelation that G-d is truly one, meaning everywhere, in everything, constantly (המחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית) and that there is no other (אין עוד מלבדו), in truth.

This oneness is revealed in greater and greater stages starting on the level of intellect (how Moshiach teaches all Israel and all the nations) and then proceding to that which transcends intellect, what is described as Vision (prophecy). The final and highest level, which transcends even that of prophecy, is the revelation which comes via the aspect of G-d's Kingship (מלכות) which is transmitted to the world via Melech HaMoshiach. Like is expressed with:

אֲדון עולָם אֲשֶׁר מָלַךְ. בְּטֶרֶם כָּל יְצִיר נִבְרָא: לְעֵת נַעֲשה בְחֶפְצו כּל. אֲזַי מֶלֶךְ שְׁמו נִקְרָא: וְאַחֲרֵי כִּכְלות הַכּל. לְבַדּו יִמְלךְ נורָא:

This previous paragraph, including the answer to how we should prepare for all this now is the subject of the Chassidic discourse from the Lubavitcher Rebbe for Acharon shel Pesach in the year 5725 as found in volume 43 of Torah Menachem Hitvadiyut, pages 185-194.

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  • Thank you, but it seems too far from what I expected - I meant simple everyday differences that people experienced that we can not. I don't find the closeness you mention in the books for laymen (as opposed to some prophets.) Can you elaborate on how the everyday life was different in times of Giluy Ponim? – Al Berko Apr 30 '19 at 15:55
  • @AlBerko Particularly in regard to the last stage, but also with the level of prophecy that will be shared with us via Moshiach, this is often referred to in Shas as the stage of 'No Eye Has Seen It'. So elaborating on what that means in terms "everyday life" (daily, personal conduct) isn't likely. If you are trying to relate to how people conduct themselves when living the on the path of the prophets, you should investigate those books dealing with Torat HaNevuah, like Sefer Even HaShoham, or Sefer HaS'far by Rabbi Avraham Abulafia. – Yaacov Deane Apr 30 '19 at 16:30
  • Oh, Shmuel is a good example of calling up a prophet to look up for the missing asses. – Al Berko Apr 30 '19 at 16:37

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