Why did God institute a natural order so that His presence would be hidden. I know so many people who are hopelessly convinced of the scientists' belief that the world is basically a machine running eternally on its own and that man evolved randomly from inanimate chemicals.

Wouldn't it be better if He showed some open miracles sometimes so that those who are really seeking the truth can choose to go in His ways? (such as Yisro who was one of the very few truth-seekers who converted due to hearing of the miraculous exodus)

(the obvious answer is to give man free will. but perhaps a few rare miracles would not alter free will so much)

  • Any miracle at all would destroy the ability to have the free will to dis-believe in God.
    – Ariel
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 9:14
  • @Ariel Don't think so -- see SethJ's answer below. It would not achieve anything -- same people would claim same things.
    – gt6989b
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 15:46
  • @Ariel, are you saying that when we did get miracles, people didn't have free will because of it? Or are you saying that that was then and now would be different? Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 15:08
  • @MonicaCellio If we had clear miracles people would have no choice except to believe in God, which means there is no free will to believe or disbelieve. For then things are the same, but at some point God has to get things started and make clear miracles, so at least for the generation of the giving of the Torah things were different.
    – Ariel
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 19:41
  • No miracles today? I awake each morning and the complex machinery of my body, way beyond human capability to invent, works. I have a mind that can both reason and marvel. I live in a world where people sometimes seem to beat impossible odds and survive diseases, natural calamities, and man-made accidents that should have crushed them. No miracles? Really? Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 15:33

10 Answers 10


The Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos explains that Hashem's hidden-ness is the only vehicle for fulfilling the purpose of the world. He writes that the purpose of the world is to reveal Hashem's singularity and unity, and he writes that this attribute can only be attributed through the negation of the apparition of its opposite. There is required to be a world in which it looks like not everything is a result of Hashem's direct guidance and exactly in accordance with His will in order to fully appreciate what it means that everything is under His control.

Siman 38:

הנה מה שאנו צריכים להבין הרבה, הוא ענין החסרונות האלה הנמצאים בבריאה, ענין הרעות הנמצאות בה, שהם ענינים שלא כחק שלמותו ית', וכמו שביארנו, אשר על כן נכשלו בם הפושעים, איש לפי דרכו הרעה, וכמו שביארנו לך למעלה; כי ודאי לפי שלמותו ית' לא היה לו לעשות אלא טובות לבד. אמנם עתה אבינך הכל על בוריו בס"ד. הנה כשאנו אומרים שהקב"ה הוא יחיד, הלא אנו מבינים שאין זולתו, שאין הפך לו, שאין מונע לו, ולאפוקי מכל אותם הסברות שזכרנו. נמצא, שלא די לקיים בו ית' הטוב, אלא שצריך לשלול ממנו ההפך.

So the natural world is a prerequisite to revealing the depth of Hashem's ייחוד.

  • 1
    @Fei23 This platform isn't so conducive to quoting an entire section, so I just excerpted a representative section. But if you read the entire siman (along with siman 40), you'll see I didn't "extensively" extrapolate or read into anything. Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 18:54

Any open miracle would still be questioned. 'Amalek did not fear G-d when they attacked. Billions of religious people agree that G-d exists, but they don't agree on whose version of G-d (or service to G-d) is the correct one. Having rare, open miracles would not alter this reality. There are what some would consider open or nearly-open miracles that occur every day. And yet the people who observe the miracles, even the people affected by the miracles, come up with their own interpretation of them.

  • yes, exactly. but the true truth seeker would take notice. so why not do it for them
    – ray
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 14:40
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    @R.Sebag everyone is a truth seeker. But they don't always agree on what they are looking at.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 14:41
  • 1
    @SethJ I think this is my new favorite quote from the Internet. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 15:50
  • @SethJ I once heard Rabbi Leff say that in the time of the Rambam people were seeking truth and talking philosophy was beneficial, but in our times the biggest question in people's minds is whether to put ketchup or mustard on their hotdogs.
    – ray
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 19:43

What a great question for preparing for Shavuos! I think there are many answers, but I think the best answer is two-fold:

(1) G-d cannot reveal Himself yet because we are not spiritually prepared. Long ago, at Mount Sinai, G-d actually spoke to the Jewish people when He gave them the Decalogue. It was more than they could handle. Our ancestors told Moshe, "speak to us, and we will listen, but do not let G-d speak with us, lest we die." Exodus 20:16; see also Deut. 5:20-24 (Moshe's summary of the event). As high in spirituality as that generaton was, it was still overwhelmed by the Holiness of G-d that they experienced at that moment, and deemed themselves unworthy. Ramban's commentary to that verse offers the point that G-d's personal revelation to the Jewish people posed a great challenge to them and the concept of preparing ourselves to receive the Divine revelation remains a challenge to us today; a challenge that requires us to achieve higher levels of holiness.

(2) G-d appears to be hidden because He wants us to seek Him out. Isaiah 55:6 states, "Seek Hashem where He is found and call Him when He is near." The Targum Yonasan paraphrases: "Seek fear of Hashem while you are still alive, pray to Him while you still can seek Him and while you can still call Him, not after death when it is too late." This is closely related to the first point -- seeking G-d requires that we elevate ourselves spirtually, repent, humble yourself before Him, love Him and fear His wrath. Rav Nachman (the Tanna) held that the opportunity to seek G-d in this manner to be during the 10 days of Repentence between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Yevamos 49b.

I believe that when one prepares himself to meet G-d, and seeks Him in prayer -- especially during the High Holy Days -- G-d's existence becomes increasingly real and more and more apparent in nature, in events affecting our lives, and in the eyes of our teachers. And when I go to the beis midrash on Shavuos night, hearing the cacaphony of the bachurim arguing over pages of Gemara, I think I can make out the Voice of Hashem; and then it is not scary at all.


Hashem hides himself in nature and all events (big and small) because of the concept of bechira. Our purpose in this world is to work to attain shleimus which is defined as da'as Hashem. If Hashem was openly visible, there would be no bechira. Rav Avigdor Miller once said that if lightning would come down and strike someone dead as soon as they are michallel Shabbos then even the Puerto Ricans would be running to convert. Hashem remains hidden to allow us the opportunity to find him and succeed in life. One person may look at the clouds and see beautiful clouds and a wonderful sight. Others look at the clouds and see the chochmas Hashem. That's exactly why we're in this world.


One of Hashem's names is El-Shaddai (please pronounce this out loud as "Kel-Shakkai", out of respect). The aggadata says this is the Name Hashem goes by to indicate something that is very nogeah to your question.

Shaddai is composed of "sha" and "dai". "Sha" means "that" and "dai" means "enough". The gemara in Chagiga 12a says Hashem is called El-Shaddai because when He created the world (as El, as God) He was:

מי שאמר די לעולמו

He who said "enough" to His world‎

What was enough? Rabbi Tovia Singer has a great explanation on this. He doesn't quote his sources, but it is based on the general kabbalistic idea of tzimtzum, the purpose of which was so that there could be a space where we could have free will. Rabbi Tovia explains that Hashem created a physical world over 6 days, and each day He became more hidden. As the world became more and more "reasonable", so did it become more and more possible to attribute its creation to "accident", rather than Hashem's handiwork (May He be blessed). Hashem calculated the exact point at which the threshold would be crossed beyond the point of no return (beyond which, we would never discover God), and yelled "Dai!".

He stopped creating at the exact moment when free will is optimal: any more and we'd never discover Him, any less and we'd be screaming "Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh" 24/7 like angels.

The reason this is connected to tzimtzum is because of the following kabbalistic explanation, which is given over, for example, by Rav Manis Friedman in this great video. Hashem's Ohr Ein Sof is often described (l'mashal) as His Infinite Ratzon (and effectively to us, that is what it is). His Infinite Ratzon is for us to be totally independent, who choose to follow His ways and choose out of our own free will to love Him and attach to Him, and invite Him into our lives, and engage in a real relationship with Him. He doesn't want holy robots, He has angels for that. The problem with Infinite Will is that it can ruin that! Ask any father who tried REALLY REALLY hard to turn his children in to learners. By having such a strong, in-your-face ratzon, one destroys the child's chances of becoming what one wants him to be. Either the child will become a learner but only as a response to his father's ratzon ratzon, under extreme coercion (and therefore it's not him who is doing it at all), or he will be put off completely.

Hashem, l'havdil, solved a similar problem with tzimtzum. He took His Infinite Ratzon, and concealed it, just the exact right amount (for additional reading, look up the kabbalistic concept of reshima) so that we would have the "room" to be ourselves, and come to a genuine lishma service of Hashem. There is of course more to it than that, but this will suffice for the question.

As the Rambam stresses over and over, miracles are not the ideal! Any detraction from a "pure" system of free will is something Hashem wants to avoid (which is part of the reason why it is forbidden to rely on miracles). He wants to give us the "very best good" after-all (see Derech Hashem 1:2:1 for example), and any unnecessary "leg up" He gives us is going to detract from that. In Mishneh Torah, Yesodai Hatora 8:1, the Rambam strongly explains how a miracle is not meant to be there to enhance our belief in God.

If we continue this line of thought, Purim represented the beginning of the Jewish nation's full maturity, to escape the "miracle" system as part of our relationship with Hashem, and get a chance to engage in a relationship with Him without miracles, which is the ideal (or one can say we descended to the level where miracles would get in the way of serving Hashem wholeheartedly). The Chanuka oil marked the last obvious miracle, the last time Hashem held our hand before our big journey and mission into Galut, and ever since then, we have been plunged into a world of ceaselessly normal nature. As Jews, according to the Rambam, our job is to still see Hashem everywhere, in everything. Our job is to realise the true signs of Him, His love, and His greatness, which don't need no miracles to prove!

See my answer here for more elaboration on this concept.

Final take-away. I've often heard it from Rabbi Manis Friedman, quoting the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that the fact that Hashem only spoke to us once, 3000 years ago, is a huge compliment to us. He imagines the angels sometimes coming to Hashem and asking Him the same question you asked. "Nu, come on, you haven't spoken to them for ages, why not say hi, give a little update, a little chizuk?", and, to our great compliment, Hashem turns to them and says "they got it, they got it, don't worry, they'll do a stellar job, you'll see".

We can do it, trust in yidden, trust in Hashem's confidence in us, and His calculations. We don't need miracles, we will succeed without them. Just watch!


Perhaps if the person were truly a truth seeker they would be moved by the knowledge of the event rather than the experience of the event. The experience has a temporary impact that overwhelmes the emotions of the person. However, the knowledge of the event is what can be lasting. The event of the Egyptian experience demonstrated God's existance and control over the universe, his providence, awareness of particulars, prohpecy, his unity etc. This event is remembered in perpetutity to support these philosphical truthes. That is why it is so central to many comandments we have such as Tephilin, Mezuzah, the requirement to mention the exodus twice a day, on Shababt, the Kiddush. It is so vital because it confirms and teaches us these fundemental truths. It is the ideas that the true truth seeker would be moved by, not just the WOW experience of the miraculous.
Furthermore, if miracles were constantly happening, then there would be no pattern or natural law for us to study. What makes us unique and human is our ability to think and reflect on the world around us (Rambam). To be able to study the laws of nature, there must be a consistency and a patern to be able to uncover what the universal concept is that explains their particular behavior. If God was constantly breaching these laws and producing on going miracles, we would not have the natural world to study and use our intelect to understand.
The above ideas regarding the events of Egypt are based on the Ramban on "On Hashem took me out from Egypt" (Shemot Chapter 20, Verse 2) and his commentary on "Uletotafos" by Tephilin (Shemot Chapter 13 Verse 16).


I think the answer is that it is obvious that there is a God from the point of view of intelligent design as as scripture says "from my flesh I shall see God" Job 19:26 and the Shaar Yichud concludes in ch.10

Therefore, you should exert your mind until you know the Creator through the evidences of His works and not strive to know Him in His glorious essence. For He is exceedingly close to you from the side of His deeds but infinitely remote in any representation of His essence or comparison with it. As already stated, we will never be able to find Him in this way. When you arrive at the stage where you abandon (trying to find Him) through your thoughts and senses because He cannot be grasped in this way, and you instead find Him in the evidence of His deeds, as though He were inseparable from you - this is the pinnacle of knowledge of Him which the prophet exhorts us on in saying "Know therefore this day, and consider it in your heart, that the L-ord He is G-d in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else" (Devarim 4:39).

When one sees an intelligent design, he must assume there was a designer unless there is proof otherwise because this is by far the most likely explanation and also the obvious explanation.

Random evolution theory has confused people into thinking in the opposite way. i.e. maybe life forms evolved from random processes has become the established explanation and the burden of proof falls on the obvious plain and most likely explanation that there was a Designer.

so now you have people going so far as to propose maybe aliens planted life on planets as in here (a comment there by our good friend doubleaa even proposes an infinite regress of aliens!). the possible maybes that the mind can conjure up are endless and these maybes have become an established "mindset" or paradigm that there was no Intelligence involved in the origin of life.

But now Scientists are finding out the hard way just how ridiculously complex God's handiwork truly is. Even the "simplest" bacteria or even a mere atom is proving to be an intense world of bewildering complexity. And the more we discover the more we realize how much more there is to know.

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    How does this answer the question? And I never even say the word alien in that thread...
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 13:58
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    He is not hidden. just appears that way due to confusion from the atheists
    – ray
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • So what about free will?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 15:23
  • free will exists because it is indirect evidence. a person can still choose to escape into endless maybes.
    – ray
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 12:49
  • Who is posting all of the negative votes today to the answers and question here? Please give a constructive reason for the down-votes. Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 1:27

By Hashgacha Pratis (Divine Providence) I happened to be reading a Chassidic Discourse about this topic this morning, here's the full discourse (about 3 pages): http://chabadlibrary.org/books/admur/mlukat/1/32/index.htm The part that's particularly relevant to your question is this passage ( end of 2nd paragraph on pg. 238):

אבל הרי תכלית הכוונה של ההעלם והסתר הוא בכדי שיהי' ובקשתם משם, אַז אידן זאָלן זוכן און געפינען דעם אויבערשטן בכל עניני העולם, בההעלמות וההסתרים [וכמשל האב המסתיר את עצמו מבנו הקטן בכדי להראות את חכמת הבן שמבין שההסתר וההעלם אינו אלא בכדי שיבקשנו וימצאנו], והבטיחה תורה שכאשר ובקשתם משם אז בודאי "ומצאת", שכובשים את כל העולם ועושים ממנו דירה לו ית', עד אשר אז אהפוך אל עמים שפה ברורה וגו' לעבדו שכם אחד. והיתה לה' המלוכה


My answer is based solely on the Tanakh. Not because later Jewish commentators and Philosophers don't have valuable truths and insights into this topic, but because most of the answers here are already pulling from those sources.

From my reading of the text it appears God keeps Himself hidden because he expects us and the animals to be able to take care of ourselves without Him. I wish my reading of the text had given me a much deeper or more compassionate answer, but I don't see it in the text. Here's the history of events as I interpret them.

1 - God creates/shapes the earth from chaotic void to Earth as we would call it today. God creates all life and commands all creatures to eat all plants. God focuses on humans, and expects them of actually being able to take care of the Garden of Eden and all the animals under their purview. I know that it's easy to read the story is happening one event after the other, but we don't get a sense of timeline/scale in Genesis 1-3. So what I'll focus on is after God establishes His rules and finishes His creations, God steps out of the picture until something goes wrong, and then He only intervenes to set things right again. Snake gets punished, Humans now have the ability to know right and wrong from within themselves, God sends mankind out of garden for them to live their lives and to choose to do the right thing.

2 - God disappears until things go wrong with Cain and Able. God comes back in and offers great advice and tries to set everything right. God exits the narrative again.

3 - Lots of little events happen, some righteous people are so righteous they are taken by God (but God still isn't in the narrative).

4 - We get to Noah and things are so bad and the Earth so full of violence that God has to set things right and apparently humans and animals have so failed, God almost wipes the earth clean.

5 - Noah and animals leave ark. God permits violence between humans and animals for food.

6 - God disappears from narrative until problem with tower of Babel.

7 - God disappears from narrative until Abraham, in which we see God take a new role. God shifts from being absent until He is forced to fix something, to being an active watcher of Abraham's righteousness, and God decides to invest in Abraham, and Abraham will invest in teaching his children righteousness.

8 - By the end of Genesis we see "God's plans" coming to pass not because of God's direct guidance as the divine fixer, but because Joseph and other Israelite figures are solving famines, saving lives, and doing righteous deeds with God as a supportive observer.

9 - In Exodus God becomes a divine problem solver again, but only for the Israelites. God doesn't free slaves all over the world. Instead He sets His chosen people free, in order that they may be the change that God wants to see in the world.

10 - Lots happens between Exodus and Deut but Deuteronomy is the closing of the book, and one of the big summations the book gives is that the righteous Law is close to us, it's in our hearts and mouths, it's NOT in heaven, it's NOT across the sea. We can do the right thing without having to look any farther than ourselves. And it seems like that was always the entire point.


When my children were young and we'd go shopping sometimes they'd wander off and I'd follow them from afar keeping watch over them. When they started getting scared or other people would come near them I'd catch up to them. I wanted them to have the free will to realize that they NEEDED their father's protection. Is it not so with Abba? He calls us to be near, we choose to stray... He is not out of relationship with us, but we are out of relationship with Him.

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