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[This is a long and complicated question, but if you want just scroll down to the end summary to get the main points]

It says in the Talmud Chagiga Daf 139b, it says

"Where is Ester from the Torah? The verse says, "and I will hide (hasteir asteir) my face on that day".

Rashi there (apparently he had a different Girsa slightly as seen from the Dibur Hamashchil):

למעשה אסתר - הסתר אסתיר בימי אסתר יהיה הסתר פנים ומצאוהו צרות רבות ורעות: [Where do we know about] the story Of Ester -- Conceal, I will conceal; in the days of Ester there will be a concealment of [Hashem's] face, troubles and tribulations will find them [seemingly the Jewish people].

So Haster Asteir and Ester rhyme, and are even from the same root, but how exactly is the verse translated accordingly? I think Rashi is somehow alluding to how the verse is translated after the drasha, but I don't fully understand it: is the verse translated "I will Ester-ize [/hide] my face on that day" -- referring to the days of Ester? I don't get how the words Hasteir Asteir fit after the drasha, do they still just mean "hide", or do they mean "I will hide in the times of Ester" specifically? I just don't get the connection exactly. And also, why does Rashi even say at the beginning "הסתר אסתיר"? Seemingly the next part he says "בימי אסתר יהיה הסתר פנים" is already a full statement, so it couldn't (?) be translated as "conceal I will conceal in the days of Ester etc.." because that's already part of the next statement, so how is Rashi translated exactly, why does he start off by saying "Conceal, I will conceal"? That's what the Gemara just said but how does it fit into the verse (and the beginning of Rashi)?

BTW: I totally get that it means how Hashem will hide his presence etc. which could have a lot of side effects, like the miracles being invested in nature and the people not feeling Hashem's presence during the times of Ester (and exile in general, which is the simple meaning), but still I don't understand how to literally translate the verse after the drasha, are the words "Hide, I will hide" replaced with "Ester, I will Ester"?

So I do (relatively) understand the actual simple meaning in Devarim, where Hashem tells Moshe that in the time of the exile his face will be hidden, but even regarding that detail in the simple meaning (and also in the Gemara's drasha), I don't get what it means "on that day", is the entire golus / story of Ester just in one day? Does it refer to the first day that it will happen, why does it say "In that day" and not just "at that time" or something??

So so far I have 2 main questions on the verse: 1) According to even the simple meaning, what does "on that day" mean, if the exile is more than a day

2) According to the Gemara's drasha, how do you translate the words "Hasteir Asteir", if they still both mean literally hidden, then how does Ester fit in with the verse?

Also in Torah Ohr page 93D at the bottom it says,

הנה כנס"י נקראת בשם אסתר על שם ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא. כי פני ה' שהוא גילוי שכינתו כמ"ש יאר ה' פניו אליך הוא עכשיו בזמן הגלות מסותרת בבחי' ביום ההוא (כי יום ההוא מורה על יום שאינו נראה ונגלה משא"כ יום הזה). ודרך פרט בכל נפש מישראל הנה כאשר בחי' נצוץ נפשו האלהית הוא מכוסה ומלובש בלבושי מחשבה דבור מעשה הגשמיים ואין אור ה' שורה ומתגלה בו להיות נתפס ונקבע במוחו ולבו האהבה לה' לדבקה בו בהתגלות הלב כי אם בבחי' מקיף

Basically that the Jewish people are called "Ester" -- "al sheim" our verse "and I will hide my face on that day", and he said that during the golus, the revelation of the Shechina (his face) is hidden in (a different spiritual level known as "that day" (see below from the Tzemach Tzedek and other parts of Torah Ohr) , so I don't really get it, in the simple meaning "on that day" is referring to the exile itself, so how do you translate the verse according to this, what does "on that day" refer to, and does it / how does it also imply the time of the exile if it also refers o a specific spiritual level?

Regarding what that exact spiritual level is, earlier in Torah Ohr page 92a in the middle it says that the level of "on that day" refers to "bina, and "my face" refers to malchus, how it hides itself at the beginning of bria, and that's why the level of atik (of bria) is called "I will hide..in that day", because the level of malchus of atzilus (atik of bria) hides itself in Bina of bria, since the revelation of atik is generally in bina", and then he explains, "that means that the level of "my face" refers to the level of keser-malchus (which I'm not sure if that refers to malchus of atzilus or malchus of keser of atzilus), because malchus (in general) doesn't have anything for itself, and it only takes in from the "ten kings", and [this part I don't really get so I'd like someone to explain it], "keser accepts from malchus of keser, which is the level of "my face"..

So basically a summary of the Torah Ohr's explanation (which I sill don't fully get):

"I will hide my face on that day", he says that Hashem's "face" refers to the revelation of his Shechina (which even according to the simple meaning seems to fit), and this revelation of the Shechina is hidden, in the time of the galus, in a spritiual state known as "that day". So before even getting into what spiritual state "that day" is referring to, I first need to even understand where is the implication that "the revelation of His Shechina" is hidden in the spiritual state known as "that day", in the time of galus, seemingly "on that day" itself is referring to the time of the Golus, so if it's also referring to a spiritual level that "His face" is hidden in, how does it also imply golus?

Also, he says in Torah Ohr at the beginning of the Maamar Vayoshet Hamalech (quoted first above) that "Knesses Yisroel (the Jewish people in general) are called Ester al sheim "and I will hasteir asteir panai bayom hahu...", and even in the back of the Torah Ohr, the Gemara in Chullin isn't even quoted, although this uses the same verse as the Gemara, it seems to be saying something totally different. The Gemara says simply that this is an allusion to Ester, and in Torah Ohr it seems to say that this verse is referring to the entire Jewish people, so if someone can explain that that would be great..

So according to the Gemara, first of all, what is the actual simple explanation of the verse, and then how does it change exactly in the Torah Ohr?

In Ohr HaTorah Megillas Ester page 111, commenting to the Torah Ohr maamer, he says (rough translation):

“That day” means the level of bina, which is called “He/that”, and bina nests in “the throne”, the world of briah, which is the level of “he creates darkness”, a helem and hester, and the level of malchus which is made atik to briah, it hides itself “in that day” (in the level of bina), and it doesn’t become revealed below, so if so there is to explain that the level of “that day” is the world to come, which also conceals itself, since it (malchus of atzilus which I guess is the revelation of the world to come?) is made an atik to bria, which a makif and hidden, and “this day” -- that means the level of za (of atzilus?) which nests in yetzira (so is that referring to Z”a of atzilus how it goes in and mainly manifests itself in yetzira? He just says Z”a so seemingly that refers to that of atzilus, and if so then the bina mentioned before is also from atzilus, only that it “nests” in briah), and yetzira is the level of “he forms light” -- the level of revelation.

that when Hashem's face is concealed in the level of "that day" it refers to how Malchus -- Hashem's Shechina (and it said in Torah Ohr that "my face" refers to a revelation of his Shechina), is concealed in "bina" of Bria, which is referred to "that" day (and not "this"), since Bria in general is the "world of darkness" (relative to us, since it's so far beyond us) and also bina (where "my face" is concealed) is a high level of Bria which can't be grasped, but the level of "this" day in general is a lower level, that of the revelation of Z"a how it goes even lower, into the world of Yetirah (I guess he's referring to Z"a of Atzilus how it goes into Yetzirah, and seemingly just because the higher something is, the lower it goes like it says in Tanya regarding this...).

So it's clear that according to Torah Ohr "that day" is a very specific spiritual level, so how does it also imply the time of Galus? Is it maybe based on later in the maamer and in the tzemach tzedek notes, when it says that "that day" (bina of bria) will become revealed to us and transformed to "this day" (in a higher way than Z"a of Yetzirah, since Z"a of Yetzirah is only the level of "this" because it's lower and more accessible to us, but when bina of bria is transformed into "this day" it means that even the higher, normally concealed level of "that" day is transformed into "this" - a revelation, just to explain this a little better here's the rest of the Torah Ohr paragraph (continuing a few lines after we left off above, first link):

שהיא מסותרת בבחי' ביום ההוא שאינה בהתגלות. והיא בחי' נקודה בהיכלא בפנימיות נקודת לבו ודאי מסותרת היא האהבה בכל נפש מישראל ואין לך אדם שאין לו בחי' פנימיות זו אלא שלהוציא מההעלם אל הגילוי אינה שוה בכל אדם. ולכן לימות המשיח שאז יזדכך האדם אזי יהיה בבחי' ונגלה כבוד ה' וראו כל בשר וגו'. ואמר ביום ההוא הנה אלהינו זה קוינו לו וגו'. פי' שיאיר אור ה' בהתגלות עד שיהא נתפס ונקבע אפי' במוחו ושכל אנושי וראו כל בשר בראיה גשמית חושיית כי אלהינו הוא בחי' זה אשר לזה קוינו לו ולא בבחי' ההוא:

that in the future the "hidden" part of the soul, known as Ester, which is hidden in the level of "on that day" (of the soul, and also of Hashem), will be revealed and what is usually "that" will become "this"..

but still, how does all this imply that on "that day" refers to exile? (true that during exile the level of "that" day is in fact hidden, "that" and in the future it will be "this", so "that day" alludes in some way to the exile, but how do you translate it in the verse?)

Also related:

ידוע הפירוש7 שסיפור המגילה רומז על כנס"י והקב"ה, שאסתר קאי על כנס"י8 בהיותה בזמן הגלות שנקראת בשם אסתר, ע"ש ואנכי9 הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא10, והמלך אחשורוש זה מלכו של עולם11 שאחרית וראשית שלו12

7) ראה ס' מחיר יין (להרמ"א), ומנות הלוי (לר"ש אלקבץ) – על מג"א.

8) ראה מאמרי אדהאמ"צ שם ע' שמט.

9) וילך לא, יח.

10) תו"א מג"א צג, סע"ד. צד, ריש ע"ד. ובכ"מ. אוה"ת שם ס"ע טו. ד"ה ויהי אומן את הדסה עטר"ת (סה"מ עטר"ת ע' שח ואילך). תשי"ג (תו"מ ח"ח ע' 7 ואילך). תשכ"ד.

11) ראה תו"א שם קכ, ב. אוה"ת שם ע' נח.

12) מאורי אור א, קפב. הובא באוה"ת שם ס"ע כד.

So, just to summarize, four questions: (getting ready for Pesach)

1) In the simple meaning, why does Hashem say (to Moshe) that he will hide his face in the times of the exile, by saying "on that day"? How does "that day" imply the time of golus, isn't golus more than just a day?

2) In the Gemeara's explanation, that "Hasteir Asteir" alludes how Hashem will be hidden during story of Ester, how does it actually translate back into the verse?? And how does the beginning of Rashi's comment explain this (because I think it does) and why is it even there, it doesn't seem to fit into a full sentence (see above).

3) In Torah Ohr, it says that when the verse says "I will hide my face on [or according to Torah Ohr, it's really translated as "in"] that day", it explains that that means that in the time of exile, his face is (also?) concealed in a spiritual level of "that day" (see above from the Tzemach Tzedek what exactly that level is). Seemingly it has something to do with the fact that during the exile, we all receive from Hashem's "face" (malchus of Atzilus) as it's concealed in the spiritual level of "that day", bina of briah, and it's called "that" because it's something that's concealed (as opposed to "this" which you can point at directly -- like "this is my G-d and I will glorify him..."), but that's only in the times of the exile, but like he says later in that same paragraph in Torah Ohr (and see the notes to the Tzemach Tzedek there, page 112), that in the future what is normally considered "that" day (bina of bria), since it is so distance and removed from us (because of it's great level), will be transformed into "this" day, because even the hidden-ness will be reveleaed, and what is normally only "that" because it's so far removed will be easily felt by everyone in a way of "this", in the times of Moshiach, so seemingly that is the relation between "that" day and exile, but still, how does it translate back into the verse ??? I will hide my face "in exile" or "I will hide it in Bina of Briah, thereby resulting in it being hidden in the time of the exile"?

4) In Torah Ohr, it says that the Jewish people are called Ester like it says in the verse "and I will hasteir asteir panai on that day" (meaning that we're called Ester not just from the word "hide" in the verse, but as seemed there, from the entire verse), and he then goes on to say how every Jew has a "hidden" level of his soul known as "Ester" because it is hidden within a level of his soul known as "that" day, which implies a deeper, hidden part of the soul which is beyond revelation, since "this" means something that you can directly point at -- a revelation of something, but "that" is a word used to describe something that's not in front of you, it implies a concealment. SO anyway I still am trying to figure out this explanation, since it seems different than the Gemara in the sense that here it says that we're called Ester al sheim the entire verse, but in the Gemara it just says "where is an allusion to Ester"....

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You seem to have 3 questions:

Q1: What does the verse Devorim 31 (18) “And I will hide My face on that day, because of all the evil they have committed, when they turned to other deities” have to do with Esther?

Q2: From Torah Ohr page 93D

Q3: From Torah Ohr page 92a

I will attempt to answer the first.

The short answer is this: The miracles of Purim were performed by Hashem without revealing Himself. The verse tells us that a time will come when Hashem will operate in a way in which His part in the actions will be hidden from us. The time of Purim was such a time.

Chabad.org puts it like this:

Some divine interventions are as plain as day. Like walls of water, manna from heaven, and stopping the sun. These are the heroic, supernatural displays that only the Master of the universe could pull off. It's as if He painted an extravaganza and signed His name in the middle in fluorescent orange, "I am the L-rd your G‑d."

Then there are miracles like Purim — understated, implicit, devoid of fanfare, completely enclothed in the ebb and flow of the vagaries of nature and society. Like an anonymous tapestry, the Scroll of Esther—the Megillah--weaves an intricate, real-life drama that does not even once mention the name of G‑d, so well disguised is His hand in the story.

Aish.com says (edited):

The Book of Esther is the only book in the Bible which does not mention G-d.

The Book of Esther takes place six decades after the destruction of the First Temple. This cataclysmic event changed the way that God relates to human beings. While the Temple brought the Divine Presence into explicit manifestation (witness the ten open miracles everyone could see there), with its destruction, the Divine Presence receded into a state of hiddenness.

The sages called this still prevailing modus operandi hester panim, meaning "hidden face." from the same root word as the name Esther. Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther, can as well be translated: "the Scroll of Hiddenness."

If someone is hiding, it means he is there, but you can't see him. Nevertheless, certain signs, such as a bulge in the curtain, may hint at his whereabouts. The Book of Esther is full of coincidences, the right person "happening" to be in the right place at the right time, and dramatic, unexpected reversals of fortune. These are the bulges in the curtains that hint at the Divine orchestration of events. A witness can choose to attribute such serendipitous happenings to "luck" or to G-d.

Our challenge since the destruction of the First Temple is to find God hiding behind the curtain of history, to identify the Divine hand behind current events, and to recognize God's direction in the seemingly fortuitous occurrences of our own lives.

  • Hi thanks for your answer, although my main problem is understanding the exact translation of the verse, after whatever drasha comes along, like you sadid from Aish: "...meaning "hidden face." from the same root word as the name Esther. Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther, can as well be translated: "the Scroll of Hiddenness."", its from the same root as "Ester", and its "the scroll of hiddenness", but how does that translate back into the verse "I will hasteir asteir my face?" Does it mean "I will Ester-ize my face" to make it hidden during the time of Ester? I don't really get it – Yaakov5777 Feb 22 at 3:07
  • I edited the question to try to explain what I'm asking better – Yaakov5777 Feb 22 at 4:22

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