Someone close to me really messed up and has since experienced very serious and painful consequences. A friend says she doesn't believe G‑d "causes" the consequence, because, she says, "we have free will."

Although that may seem like a loving attitude, I find it disturbing. I find much more comfort in the idea of a G‑d that deals with us directly, rather than leaving it up to consequences. Or maybe a G‑d that is even "in the consequence," with the idea that there is an ultimately loving purpose to the consequence. Without this, the world seems just too scary and lonesome.


There is much truth in all you write. On the one hand, yes, the consequences are our own doing. They are the product of our free will pushing the buttons and pulling the levers of the cosmic pinball machine. We all have the freedom to walk outside barefoot in the snow, but don't complain if your nose starts to run. We have it in our power to hurt others, but be prepared to receive in kind. Kindle wood beneath your natural human passions, but don't be shocked to find a wildfire consuming all you have built. Put out your hand to help others, and eventually a hand will come to help you or your children or your children's children. Fill your life with the wisdom of Torah and the Torah will protect and shield you from many woes. Bring light into the world and your own soul will shine as well. Plant and reap, sow and harvest.

And yet in all this, there is nothing else but G‑d. The numbing cold of that snow beneath your feet, the sensation of air passing through your nostrils, the pulse of blood rushing through your veins, the passions that tug at your kishkes—all is nothing more than modalities of His Infinite Light tightly condensed in rhythms, patterns and sensations designed for the human mind to grasp and feel.

If so, He must be there in those consequences as well. For if there is nothing else but Him then even in that space He has granted us to make our own choices and determine our own world, He is there too. Meaning, even the empty space is G‑d.

It may not be obviously Him. To those who seek Him in all their ways He peeks from behind the veil of natural events, squeezing their hand fondly as He carries them through their individualized curriculum of life. As they speak to Him in their prayers, as a child speaks to a parent, face to face, heart to heart, so He speaks back to them in every nuance of life, His face peering through the mist of life's consequences.

But to those who choose to ignore His presence, He is compelled to hide within the cloak of cause and effect, of "that's just the way the world is." "If you will deal with Me haphazardly," He tells us through Moses' voice, "then I too will deal with you in much the same way." Meaning: "You have chosen to live as a lonesome creature in a hostile pinball machine—and so I am forced to disguise myself as such."

Yet even the hiddenness is love. For this way, eventually the human soul will come seeking its other half which is truly G‑d Himself, and find his own soul and his G‑d hiding there within the trail of broken pieces. Picking up the scattered shards, he discovers himself in the embrace of a loving G‑d who waited patiently in exile for His precious child to return.

For even the hiddenness is G‑d.