And Yaakov said, “O G-d of my father Avraham and G-d of my father Yitzchok, HASHEM, Who said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your birthplace, and I will do good to you. I have become small from all the kindnesses and from all the truth that You have rendered Your servant, for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.” (Breishis 32:9-10)
What does Yaakov mean when he says that he has become small from all the “kindnesses” and the all the Emes-“Truth”? What is “all” the “Truth”? Why is Truth singular and “kindnesses” plural? How do kindness and truth make someone small?
The Baal HaTanya has a powerful approach to these words. He explains that “the kindnesses of HASHEM come from the side of Chessed- Generosity and they serve to draw us closer.”
When we are feeling distant HASHEM seems to us small but when we come closer we begin to realize how GREAT He is and how small we are.
For example, when looking from a great distance, even the largest and brightest object in the sky can be made negligible.
From 93,000,000 miles away I can block the sun with my thumb. I realize that I am not really blocking the sun at all and this is a childish perspective.
However if we could fly to within closer proximity of the sun then we would gain the more true perspective of how humungous the sun is and in proportion how tiny we are. We would feel extremely small.
This explains the foolish and arrogant posture of those who would close their eyes to the kindliness of HASHEM and even deny the existence of HASHEM. It is only because they feel distant, and exist with an unawareness of the kindliness they benefit from constantly, that they feel confident to block HASHEM. It is also true that because they are in denial of HASHEM’s existence that they cannot recognize His continuous flow of kindness.
Now let us consider a true disparity in size that cannot even be calculated. I once heard, many years ago, from the Lubavicher Rebbe that “Any number, no matter how large, is still infinitely shy of infinity!”
That is why we refer to HASHEM in the mystical books as OHR AIN SOF- Endless Light. There cannot be a positive attribution. We can only describe HASHEM as without end. We lack the language or the ability to even conceptualize whatever language we have, “INFINITY”.
Now when we begin to appreciate that everything in creation is entirely dependent upon the constant renewal of HASHEM’s will and the world was initially established as a gigantic expression of ultimate kindliness then we can feel that we are being drawn into the orbit of that source of kindness. We begin to shrink in the face of that ultimate TRUTH.
At those times when our mind is open to meditate on this awesome reality, then we can appreciate why Yaakov declared to HASHEM, “I am small form the super abundance of kindnesses and also the enormity of that TRUTH!”