Thought for the Beginning of the Three Weeks - Hashem Hiding His Face

Question: Why do we say that Hashem hides His face in the world (Hester Panim) when Hashem is everywhere?

Answer: Hashem can be found everywhere, but He sometimes hides; He is here but we cannot see Him. This means that everything which occurs in the world is under Divine direction, even strange events such as destructions, but Hashem is hiding. The Torah says: "I will surely hide My face" (Devarim 31:18). "I will hide" – He is there but we cannot see Him. "He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the lattices" (Shir Ha-Shirim 2:9). The Shechinah (Divine Presence) is always there but there are different levels. For example, Pirkei Avot says (3:6): If ten people learn Torah the Shechinah rests among them…and where do we learn that even five?...and where do we learn that even three?...and even two?...and even one? If the Shechinah is found with one person learning Torah, then why does the Mishnah have to begin with ten people?  Go directly to one person.  Answer: there are different levels of intensity by which the Divine Presence is found in a particular place. There is a level of the Shechinah dwelling when we are in our Land during the Redemption. There is a level when we are in Exile which is called "Shechinta Be-Galuta – the Shechinah in Exile." When the Temple is standing, the Divine Presence rests among us more, and when the Temple is not standing, less so. Hashem is now slowly returning His Divine Presence to Zion. We are in an intermediate stage. He is hiding His face, because there is suffering and pain, and it is impossible to say that we have reached the complete Redemption. But we are not in Exile – pursued, plundered and murdered. In the Haggadah of Pesach, we say: "The day is approaching which is neither day nor night" (from the song "U-ve'chain Va'yehi Ba-chatzi Ha-liela" at the end of the Seder). It is like twilight, there is both darkness and light at the same time. Even though we are certainly waiting for the day which is completely “day,” we know that the Redemption comes "slowly, slowly."