« You really are a hidden God. » (Is 45:15)
אָכֵן, אַתָּה אֵל מִסְתַּתֵּר
Vere tu es Deus absconditus.
Isaiah calls out to God by a simple « you », in Hebrew « attah ».
This « you » mocks the cynic, the incredulous. It testifies to the immediate proximity of what is revealed, the certainty of the idea.
But this « you » hides more than it reveals itself.
The adjective « hidden » is said mistatar in Hebrew. Esther of the Book of Esther, bears this name, she is « the hidden one » (מִסְתַּתמִסֵר mistatèr). These words come from the verb סַתָר « to hide, protect, shelter ». This word is often found in the Bible, with a wide range of possible meanings: to cover, conceal, eclipse, bury, wrap, bury, blotch, mask, shut in, shut up, hold, drag, veil.
In the substantive form, three main meanings emerge: 1) What is hidden, secret 2) Envelope, cover, veil 3) Protection, retirement, asylum.
It is revealing, I think, that the meaning of a word that means « veil » can have hidden depths, and refer to other words, just as deep, just as veiled.
The verb tsamtsem, related to the concept of tsimtsum, also means « to veil ».
The God who hides and veils himself is also the God who contracts Himself, and makes Himself silent. It is also the God of kenosis, the God who humbles Himself ( the word humble comes from Latin humus, earth, which also gave homo, man).
What is God hiding in His humiliation? What is He hiding in the humus, in the mud-made man?