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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.

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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. 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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The Ramchal in Das Tevunos writes:

ומה שעתה בעבור רוב הסתר הפנים נפסדו הדיעות ונתקלקלו כל המעשים, ומזה נמשך גם כן בבריות עצמם הקלקול והפסדות, כענין שאמרו (סוטה מח ע"א), "ניטל טעם הפירות" וכו', וכל שאר הדברים הרעים שספרו לנו רז"ל, ואשר רואים אנחנו בעינינו - הארץ והנה תהו ובהו, וכמאמרם ז"ל (סוטה מט ע"ב), "חוצפא יסגא ויוקר יאמיר" וכו', שכל זה הוא תגבורת הרע הגדול, הנה כאשר יגלה כבוד ה' - ישובו כל הדיעות לדרך הישרה, וכל המעשים יהיו מתוקנים כראש, ויהיו בני האדם מתדבקים בקונם, כמו שאמר הכתוב (יואל ג, א), "אשפוך את רוחי על כל בשר" וגו'; וכן (ירמיהו לא, לג), "ולא ילמדו עוד איש את רעהו וגו' לאמר דעו את ה', כי כלם ידעו אותי למקטנם ועד גדולם"; ותהיה התשוקה הכללית לכל העולם להתקדש בקדושתו ית', כענין שנאמר (ישעיהו ב, ג), "והלכו עמים רבים ואמרו לכו ונעלה אל הר ה' וגו' ויורנו מדרכיו ונלכה באורחתיו" וגו'. ויולד מזה הצלחות הבריות כולם, כענין שנאמר (תהלים עב, טז), "יהי פסת בר בארץ בראש הרים"; (ישעיהו יא, ו), "וגר זאב עם כבש" וגו':

And that which is now because of the significant concealment of His countenance, wisdom has been diminished and actions have been damaged, and as s consequence to this all of the creations themselves have been damaged and diminished, as they said (Sotah 48a), "...the taste of the fruit has been taken...", and all the the other negative things that our Rabbis may their memory be blessed have told us, and which we see with our own eyes - behold the land is chaos, and like their saying may they be blessed (Sotah 49b), [in the time before Mashiach], brazenness will increase and prices will increase...", for all of this is the strengthening of great negativity, behold when the glory of haShem will be revealed - all wisdom will return to the straight path, and all actions will be restored as at the beginning, and people will cleave to their creator, as it says in the text (Joel 3:1) "I shall pour out my spirit on all flesh..."; and similarly (Jeremiah 31:33), "And man will no longer teach is fellow...to say know haShem, for all will know me from the small among them to the great"; and it will be that the general passion for the whole world will be to made holy with His holiness may He be blessed, and like the matter that says (Isaiah 2:3), " And the many peoples will travel and say let ups go and ascend to the mount of HaShem...and he will instruct us in his path and we will follow after him...". And born from this will be all the successes of the creations, as the matter that is said (Psalms 72:16), "Let abundant grain be in the land on the tops of the mountains...."; (Isaiah 11:6) "and the wolf will dwell with the lamb...":

So it would seem that in general there will be two differences. 1) People will want to know about Hashem, even if they don't themselves receive prophecy. 2) The world will be "successful" physically, the crops will grow well and the wild animals will not attack, etc. (No disease, וכן יהי רצון בקרוב ממש.)

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