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Darkness Speaks

Darkness Speaks

From the upcoming book, “Wisdom to Heal the Earth”


At the outset of Creation, He removed all light. And that is the source of all that ever goes wrong.

Why did He remove the light? Why did He choose that things could go wrong?

Sometimes we say He wanted darkness as a background, like the black velvet upon which a diamond is displayed, a clouded sky through which the sunshine bursts. After all, who will appreciate the light if there is no darkness? Pain exists to make room for healing. But that could not be the entire answer. Who will appreciate acts of beauty and kindness if there are no deeds of ugliness and selfishness?

So the darkness is there for the sake of light. Evil exists so that good might also be. Pain exists to make room for healing.

But this could not be the entire answer.

Why? Because if it were the entire answer, the darkness would not be as thorough as it is. It would be a darkness that would provide some hint of light, some glimmer of hope, some weakness by which it could be pierced. But when He removed the light, the resulting darkness allowed not even a possibility of light. It was absolute, a void, an emptiness, the diametric opposite of the Infinite Light that preceded it—so that we find evil in our world that has no explanation, no answer, no light to shine.

The answer must be that in light alone, G‑d cannot be found. For He is beyond dark and light, presence and absence, being and not being. And so, just as darkness is there for the sake of light, so light is there for the sake of darkness—to reveal the true purpose of that darkness: To allow knowledge of a wholly transcendent G‑d to enter His world.

A time will come when the very darkness, otherness, coarseness of this physical existence will itself speak the most profound truths of its Creator.

Getting There

How do we get the world to this point—that the darkness itself should speak out its truth?

The most vital question still remains. Not a philosophical or a theological question, but one that concerns us here and now: How do we achieve this? How do we get the world to this point—that the darkness itself should speak out its truth?

We can flood the world with more and greater light, but that alone will not achieve the goal. Neither will raising the darkness to a place of greater light. No, we want that this darkness, here, as it is, to shine and speak its own truth.

And it does. Because it challenges us at every turn. It denies everything in which we believe—that there is purpose and meaning, that G‑d is good and He is one. It laughs at our ambitions and scorns our enthusiasm, sets fire to our dreams and pours ice buckets upon our greatest aspirations.

And when it challenges us this way, we defy it, stubbornly, repeatedly, from the immovable essence-core of our souls. We show it that all its efforts are futile and vain, for we are bound up inextricably with the core of truth. And so we too are beyond darkness and light, self and not self, being and not being.

To which the darkness must eventually respond, “Yes. That is all I am here to say.”

Darkness speaks, in silence. We will make it sing.

Bati L’gani 5731; V’nacha Alav 5725
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Rod Texas May 18, 2015

In the US at one time they called then President Ronald Reagan a great communicator. When I read your words I am starting to realize what real communication is ! A sharing of the soul with joyful understandiing.

Thank you again and again! Reply

Joe January 17, 2015

This is why we can't try to be good, either you are or you're not, the law teaches us the principles of who he is. When we honor Him with a sincere heart, the attributes of good lives in us, and when we don't, we then know we need to correct our behavior to get back on focusing on him. Reply

In appreciation, K. December 13, 2014

... how do we encourage individuals to speak their dark truths? All healing involves opening to the Light. Surrender. Giving up ego battles that drain us - at the expense of just being peacefully with oneself and the world. I visualize pouring buckets of cool water over my emotional wounds. Regularly.

"Sifting"/clarifying/discerning/Purifying" is still so important. Balance of masculine and feminine is a huge step of consciousness evolution.
Soon after Creation, we had the yetzer hara, the Christians called it the adversary, which has a mystical resonance as a destructive force within our consciousness - needing extraction. Letting go of anger & sadness is crucial to allowing light to come into us to warm our hearts and focus our minds for the Good. In this way, the physical vehicle is not unlike that first Garden. Reply

Anonymous June 25, 2014

Darkness Speaks Wow! What an awesome summary of this light and darkness composition. It has so touched apart of me until I don't know what to say, but what has already been said by David "The night shines as the day:as is the darkness and the light (owrah) both alike unto you". Moreover, I find within me a level of darkness where there's no hiding not even from self. Though by way of a secular song, yet it's true-you can't hide from yourself, every where you go there you are... However, Mr. Freeman allowed me to take a further look at the darkness that wants to act as a compass round about my soul. Reply

Paul Bourgeois June 25, 2014

Gathering, and being gathered I wonder what all this analysis is good for, if not translated into real life. The Zohar says that every word, every letter, creates a world. The Zohar also says that before it can come from Above it must come from below, so we have to initiate. So I guess all this study has to be translated into action, and prayer helps to ensure whether that action is good or bad.

As for action, some might play with their kids, some might practice guitar or harmonica on a street corner. Some might beg for change. Some might take a friend out for lunch. We are all broken shells with sparks of The Divine inside us. We are all stars in the darkness. Let's go out and connect the dots of the Divine, gather the universe into a sparkling net of light and song and then leave it to the Divine to gather us in. This little observation is good, but only if I'm going to get out of my cramped little office, off the internet, say a little prayer, and hang around some people and see what happens. Reply

Karen Elise Fuller sonora, ca June 22, 2014

purpose of pain and darkness.. I loved your answer--I remember being in so much physical and spiritual and emotional pain all at one time and i cried out to G-d,
"YOU dont love me! I have too much pain" i actually hear this very soft answer
"YOU have pain BECAUSE i LOVE you"
today i fear nothing and no one except my G-d--and I am a stronger person because of all that pain and I thank G-d so much for loving me enough to allow me to experience this pain. i didnt understand what he had said for a long time until one day i looked at myself and i looked backward and i saw the difference! i like the difference. no pain--no gain..means something totally different to me now. Reply