Revelation that follows concealment is greater than [straightforward] revelation, as is well known. In terms of man’s Divine service, the revelation that follows a state of concealment refers to the service of teshuvah. Teshuvah comes after a person [sins and thereby] distances himself from G‑dliness. [Thus it stems from a condition of] concealment. And yet teshuvah means return; it involves revelation. And teshuvah, as in revelation that follows concealment, leads to “manifold wisdom.”1 Indeed, in an ultimate sense, teshuvah causes intentional sins to be transformed into merits,2 the transformation of darkness into light.

The above enables us to understand our Sages’ statement concerning teshuvah:3 that in the place where baalei teshuvah stand, the perfectly righteous cannot stand.

Righteous men possess merits. In particular, these merits are of two types:

a) G‑dly influence drawn down through the fulfillment of the positive commandments, “doing good;”4 and

b) G‑dly influence drawn down through the observance of the negative commandments, “turning away from evil.”4

Righteous men drive evil away; they do not transform it into good. Since [their service involves the revealed levels of G‑dliness] and the service that involves these revealed levels is limited, evil remains evil and it must be rejected. Teshuvah, by contrast, touches the very essence of the soul and reaches G‑d’s very Essence. There, no limits exist and even one’s intentional sins can be transformed into merits.

This is the purpose of the calling out to G‑d through teshuvah that follows concealment: It is not only that He should remove the concealment, but that “the night should shine like day.”5

Advancing with Confidence and Trust

The above serves as a directive for everyone in his Divine service. Regardless of the situation in which one finds himself, he should not, Heaven forbid, despair. Instead, he should realize that this concealment enables him to reach a higher degree of revelation.

In this vein, [we can appreciate that a parallel to the process of ascent through descent exists in] the spiritual history of the Jewish people as a whole. In the past, there were generations of Jews whose Divine service was far more refined than ours and yet they were distant from the Redemption. How [then] can we understand that the Redemption will come [at a time] when it will be totally legitimate to ask the question: “Has the generation improved?”6

The above explanation [provides a resolution to this question], demonstrating that [the concealment is the catalyst for revelation]. A person sleeps most soundly directly before morning. At that time, a person must strengthen himself so that he will not continue sleeping, but rather arise for the morning light.7 And then we will be found worthy of witnessing that “the night shall shine like day.”

(Adapted from Sichos Parshas Pekudei, 5717)