Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Shall be that I Shall Be

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass

The process of forming Adam, and breathing life into him, is related to the term "Lord God". The addition of the term Lord to the term God should by no means be understood as the introduction of a new God besides Elohim of the first chapter of Genesis. It rather points to a specific and decisive aspect of one Creator: the aspect of mercy.
In order to understand this Divine aspect of mercy, let us consider the Hebrew word for Lord, i.e. the tetragrammaton which stands for this aspect. It cannot be pronounced, nor can it be translated, for it comprises everything which can be expressed in words as well as that which is beyond words. Moreover, its structure can be seen as an invocation of the past, present, and future tense of the Hebrew root word for BE. We humans are not able to pronounce these three aspects of time (or, indeed, entertain these three concepts) simultaneously, so how much less can we dare to pronounce the tetragrammaton? Instead, it is often referred to as "the Name" or "the Name of Names".
We find one of the most revealing interpretations of the meaning of the tetragrammaton in Ex.3:14, where, in accordance with the Divine plan, emphasis is placed on the future. God reveals himself to Moses with the words: "I shall be that I shall be".
This rendering of the Divine name in a future tense does not, of course, reduce the Lord's Divinity to a mere aspect of time. Time as such is not a force, and is therefore no deity at all. As forces may need a certain time span in which to operate, similarly the Lord apparently wants to take us, as individuals as well as collectively, through a time-bound process of education and growth, which would apply to our physical and spiritual natures.
This becomes clear in the verses and chapters following the revelation at the burning bush. These verses describe the exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and the 40 years in the desert as a learning process, a preparation for entry into the Promised Land, the essential venue for implementing the Divine instruction. All this goes on under the aspect of Divine grace. In this way, Israel's history serves as a model for all Humankind; the Lord of Israel symbolizes the unifying of Man's will with the will of God, the Creator of all..
This process can be illustrated by applying the revelation ,אהיה אשר אהיה I shall be that I shall be, to both the Kabbalistic Tree and the six-pointed Star. Since we, being created in God's image, are to grow unto His likeness, we may infer that we are to become what we are by Divine will; and, vice versa, that the Lord God wishes His Divine qualities to be expressed to the fullest in Men.
This two-way process is indicated also by the wordאשר , asher, (rendered in the above revelation by the word that) as its basic meaning is to step forward, to progress. When we put this revelation on the Kabbalistic Tree, we would have to apply the two words אהיה , I shall be, to the upper and lower rhombs respectively, and the word ,אשר that, to the central and connecting Sephirah Splendor. When applying it to the six-pointed Star, we would have each of the two triangles representing the two words ,אהיה and the center representing the word אשר and what it conveys.

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