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The Shechinah in General

We do not always have a positive image of a king in our society today. We see him as someone who wants to enrich himself at the expense of the common man, someone who plays the boss and wages war. But a true king protects his people, gives everything he has to ensure that his people are well off.

In the Adon Olam we say: He who was, is and will be King. He was King even before this world was created, but a king is not a king without servants. But this desire - to put it casually - made Him King and this is the Shechinah at the highest level, in the highest heaven. But while it is in the highest heaven it is not revealed, it can only be revealed here in our physical world. You can name the Shechinah as the revelation of G-d's Presence as King of His World.

HaShem created formed, and made the world and Gan Eden and placed there the first people, Adam and Chava. The garden they were to guard and preserve. And make G-ds Kingship also visible by not eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. After eating the fruit, the Shechinah withdrew in part. After the sin of Cain and Abel, the sin of Noah's generation, the tower of Babel, she withdrew further and further, to the highest heaven. With Abraham, this changed. He recognized G-d and made His Name known among men. People who were his guests and wanted to thank him for his hospitality, he pointed out that they should give their thanks to G-d. As a result, the Shechinah slowly returned to earth. This return to earth culminated at Mount Sinai. Here the highest heaven - the Throne of G-d - touched the physical world, so to speak. Rashi points out in his explanation of Deutronomy 5:19 that this was the highest form of revelation of G-d's Kingship that He publicly revealed, thereafter it never occurred.

The people at that time were at the same spiritual level as Adam and Eve in Gan Eden, making this revelation possible to the entire people. After hearing the 10 G-d sayings, however, the people chose that the rest of what G-d would speak would come to them through Moses because Moses was at a higher spiritual level than they were and he could handle the intensity of G-d's words, for they feared the intensity would be too high for them. Moses was at such a high level that he was able to approach G-d's Throne and receive the Torah there and take it with him to our physical world. Whereby the Shechinah could again dwell among the people, even at a higher level than in Gan Eden.

However things turned out differently, the people, led by the Erev Rav, made themselves a golden calf. The Shechinah would eventually, after G-d's forgiveness, reside among the people, but in the Mishkan. In the Mishkan, the Levites and Kohanim would serve in place of the firstborn of the people, because they had not participated in the sin of the golden calf.

After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Shechinah went into exile with the people. But soon when the Third Temple becomes visible, she will fully return to the Temple. HaShem will be King of the whole world and everyone will recognize and serve Him.

Experiencing the Shechinah Personally

Anyone who already now recognizes and commits His Kingship will experience an ever-increasing revelation of His Kingship here and now.

That is a process of growth, and even in that process of growth there are times when you experience the Shechinah more or less.

As a young girl I could talk intensely with HaShem, under the stars, experiencing Him. As I got older that slowly diminished however when I was 13 and decided to give my heart to Him, that intense moment from before was back for a while. But even that waned again, it was undulations of experiencing the Shechinah. At the moments in my life when I sought Him, He stayed with me. Just as He stayed with the people when they stayed at an encampment in the desert.

Now that I'm bat Noah the undulations are no longer there, it's more of a gradually increasing awareness of His Kingship a trust in His goodness even when things are momentarily difficult.

I think I have felt my trust in Him, and therefore His Presence, the most after a car accident (and another personal event), and it is because of that that I know and trust that when the time will be there to leave this world, my awareness of His Presence will be the greatest.


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the website. She contributes for the admin of the website in English and Dutch. She teaches Hebrew to beginners and intermediate students at the Academy.

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