From the Song of Songs (3:5):

On my bed, in the nights, I sought the one that my soul loves. I sought him, but I did not find him.

Please let me rise! I will go about the city, the market-places, the streets. I will seek the one that my soul loves!

But I did not find Him.

They found me—the watchmen in surveillance of the city.

“The one whom my soul loves—did you see him?”

I had almost left them, when I found the one that my soul loves. I grasped him tight. I will not let him loose until I have brought him to the house of my mother, to the room of the one who conceived me.

I made you swear, oh daughters of Jerusalem, that you will become as helpless as the gazelles and the doe of the forest should you seek to arouse, to awaken the love, until it desires.

A great and mighty king constructed many barriers and walls, one barrier within another, all surrounding himself in the form of a crafty maze. Between the walls he contrived deep moats, fierce beasts and many armed guards. Yet no expenditure was made on this maze, for it was all with the power of illusion.

The king then had those guards scatter gold coins at the gateway of every wall—increasing the amount with every entranceway closer towards the king. All this to test the enthusiasm and the longing of the citizens of the land, to see who would make the effort to come to see their king.

Indeed, many made the effort, but few came close. There were those who returned home as soon as they collected a few coins at the the first gate. Others were intimidated by the sight of ferocious beasts and armed soldiers and stayed away. Others swam the moat, fought off the beasts, were not intimidated by the soldiers—but satisfied themselves that they had come close to the king, seen much of his glory, and returned with gold to prove it.

But the king’s son was astonished by all he saw. The barriers only made the king’s son thirst more for his father. “How could it be,” he exclaimed, “that such a good and compassionate king should surround himself with such formidable barriers!”

In his great yearning, the prince pushed on past all obstacles and danger, leaping over walls and ignoring the treasures that awaited on the other side without once stopping. For he was obsessed only with one thing—to see his father, the king.

It was then, when the king saw the valiant efforts of his beloved son and how he risked his very life to break through all barriers with a burning desire to return to his father—it was then that he removed all illusions. The prince looked about and saw that there are no walls, no barriers, no moats, no beasts or soldiers, no veils. There is only the king.

So too, the great and awesome King of kings, the Holy One, may He be blessed! He hides himself behind many veils, barriers and iron walls. These are the barriers of scattered thoughts, of wasted time, of worldly distractions and furtive pleasures. The barriers that mount themselves immediately when one decides to rise higher, that push back at any effort to come to see the true King.

As the Zohar states, the Hidden Good is surrounded by darkness. For there is no day that does not contain goodness, a goodness that can be found hidden in the secrets of the Torah, waiting for those who search hard for it. It is only that many obstacles are laid to protect that goodness, so that only those who treasure the hidden good can reach it.

Those who think for themselves realize that all the barriers, the iron walls, the veils and coverings—these are nothing more than He Himself, may He be blessed. Like a tortoise who hides within its own shell, so G‑d Hides himself behind His own world. The obstacles—they too are the King’s holy hand. For there is no place void of Him.

In truth, from His vantage point, He is not hiding at all.

And when you know that G‑d is everywhere and that there is nothing else but Him, then you can bear everything.

Keter Shem Tov, siman 66. See also siman 51. See Degel Machaneh Efraim, end of Parashat Ki Tavo.