Up On A Pedestal
by Rabbi Yoav Druyan
How do we know that Hashem really loves us?
During the month of Elul and most of the month of Tishrei we add a perek tehillim to our davening. “כי יצפנני בסכה ביום רעה יסתיני בסתר אהלה בצור ירוממני” [תהילים כז:ה]
When we hide something – when we bury it in the deep dark recesses of our sock drawer – it may be because it is so valuable that we do not wish to lose it. It may also be because of the opposite, that it is something we are embarrassed by and wish to hide.
Dovid Hamelech tells us that Hashem “hides us away under His awning on a day when evil is about…” [Tehillim 27:5].
Which kind of hiding is this? Is Hashem hiding us because we are cherished and protected? Or are we being sequestered away because Hashem doesn’t want to deal with us anymore?
The next words in the passuk answer this question – “…He shall lift me up on a mighty boulder.” There are two ways of understanding the word “בצור” – either ‘on a boulder’ (a צור) or ‘in a fortification’ (like a מבצר). Both understandings make it utterly clear that Hashem is showing us that He is hiding us away, but we are not being tossed into the dark abyss in to be forgotten – quite the opposite! We are being coddled and looked after – placed on the finest velvet pillows and in highest gleaming heights.
Hashem knows far, far better than any of us what is a state of danger, what is “yom ra’ah.” And he does not merely shelter us, but instead lifts us up and away, hides us from the danger in distinguished luxury and nobility. This is no metaphor, but rather the explanation for many mitzvos, halachos and minhagim!
When Hashem has us refrain from cooking on Shabbos, he is ‘hiding’ us in a beautiful Shabbos away from the dangers of mudanity. When Hashem has us dress like tzniyus princesses, He is ‘hiding’ us from the ‘ra’ah’ of physicality and depersonalization. When Hashem puts us in shul all day on Yom Kippur, He is ‘hiding’ us from the danger of wasting such an awesome day.
He could have made Shabbos safe from melacha by making us like the tzadokim, sitting in the cold and dark all day. But He ‘hid’ us in a beautiful, lit Shabbos table with sumptuous delicacies.
He could have kept us safe from physicality by decreeing we wear face veils and floor length burkas. But He ‘hid’ us in dignified, colorful, lovely clothing.
He could have had us sleep through Yom Kippur, but He ‘hid’ us in shul where we are like malachim!
When we feel the difference between banishing and cherishing – then we will be zocheh to feel the elevation that comes with it. This Tishrei may we all feel the enduring closeness of Hashem’s protection and embrace.
Rabbi Yoav Druyan lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh with his wife and family. He has spent the last ten years teaching in seminaries including (but not limited to…) Darchei Bina, Sharfman’s, MMY, Beer Miriam and the Tiferet Center. He is currently at Bnos Chana, Afikei Torah and Tomer Devorah. His weekly divrei torah can be found at www.tapintotorah.blogspot.com.