Ramchal then indicates that the Tzimtzum also enabled God’s light and radiance to be envisioned in the first place. For before the Tzimtzum occurred — and even now in the case of those extraordinarily sublime and inscrutable Godly levels which the Tzimtzum doesn’t affect — God’s light and radiance couldn’t be envisioned or grasped at all (Petach 25).
The point here seems to be that it’s God’s having hidden His presence (by means of the Tzimtzum) that has made it possible for us to see an aspect of His presence (His light and radiance). The analogy that’s often cited for this is that of shadows (a hiding away of light) that shield our eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s stark light, without which the eyes would be blinded by overexposure.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).