It would appear that God had the measure of the Jewish people. Despite choosing them to be His nation, He nevertheless recognized that without the inspired leadership and guidance of Moses they would quickly drift “off the reservation”.
God said as much to Moses in Vayelech, and warned that He would hide His face from the Jewish people when it happened. But the commentaries all struggle to understand this idea, and particularly with why God repeated that He would hide Himself — twice in two verses, one following the other.
Rabbi Dunner wades into this topic, sharing the classic commentaries’ take on this topic, such as Rashi and Ibn Ezra, as well as the slightly different ideas of Ramban and Sforno. To top it all off, Rabbi Dunner takes a look at Haketav Vehakabalah, Shem MiShmuel, and an inspiring piece from the Shela”h Hakadosh.