This is My Name that is hidden.(Ex. 3:13-15)

The fact that this was not apparent was simply because G‑d's mercy, although operative, was hidden. What is His Name? Certainly, both Moses and the Jewish people knew G‑d's Name. The Patriarchs knew G‑d's Name, and when they taught their children that there is a G‑d, how to serve Him, how to pray to Him, that He had promised to deliver them from Egypt, and so on, they surely taught them His Name as well. Moreover, Moses had killed the Egyptian using G‑d's Name. Even if we assume that the Patriarchs only told their children about G‑d in general but did not teach them His Name (and that Moses knew it some other way), why did Moses assume that this is the question they would ask when he would tell them that G‑d was about to redeem them? The exile and all its suffering was in fact an act of
G‑d's mercy…

Rather, the import of Moses' question was: When I tell the people that the G‑d of their forefathers has sent me to them, they will ask, "What kind of G‑d is it that allows the children of these forefathers - whom He loved so dearly - to suffer in such a terrible exile for so long? Is it only now that we have suffered so much and thousands upon thousands of our children have been slaughtered that He remembers us?!"

G‑d therefore told Moses to tell the people that "the G‑d who says 'I am always with them' sent me to you." He was not ignoring them during their exile, but in fact felt their suffering and was suffering with them.

But if G‑d did indeed feel their suffering, why did He allow it to continue? In order to answer this question, G‑d further told Moses to tell the people: "G‑d…has sent me." "Tell them that His attribute of mercy - signified by His proper Name (Havayah) - was operative all throughout the exile. That is, the exile and all its suffering was in fact an act of G‑d's mercy. The fact that this was not apparent was simply because, "this is My Name that is hidden…" G‑d's mercy, although operative was hidden. In the messianic future…we will no longer need to acknowledge that G‑d's mercy is operative…

"And this is how I am to be called": And if they ask, "Of what use is it to us that G‑d suffers with us and the exile is an expression of His mercy if this remains hidden and we do not feel it," the answer is that yes, they can call forth G‑d's mercy out of its concealment. However, they may not do this directly (by pronouncing Havayah as it is written); they can elicit G‑d's mercy by pronouncing Havayah as if it were the name Ado-nai.

In other words, we can elicit G‑d's revealed mercy if we ask for it fully cognizant of the fact that He is already acting mercifully with us but our limited perspective does not allow us to recognize this. We accept Him as our Lord (Ado-nai), as having His inscrutable reasons for allowing us to suffer and seeing our condition in the full context of His omniscience. If we acknowledge this, we can then turn to Him and ask Him to nonetheless behave toward us with revealed, self-evident mercy.

In the messianic future, when G‑d's mercy will indeed be fully revealed on earth, we will no longer need to acknowledge that G‑d's mercy is operative, even if we cannot perceive it. We will pronounce His proper Name, Havayah, as it is written.

Adapted by Moshe-Yaakov Wisnefsky from Likutei Sichot,
vol. 26, pp. 19-25; Copyright 2001 Chabad of California