Tuesday, June 07, 2005
What Does G-d Look Like
I have written about prayer and G-d on a number of occasions. Most recently I wrote a little about it last night because it is something that my son has been asking me about.
Typically I do not read my posts. Once I have posted them I leave them alone and try to forget about them. Last night just before my son fell asleep he asked me if I could describe what G-d looks like.
It is an excellent question and I am really trying to remember if I spent any time learning anything that gave me any sort of handle on this. I just can't recall if there was such a time. I cannot think of the Classical Judaic Response to this question.
If you asked me what the Christian G-d looks like I would mention Jesus, although I don't think that if such a man existed that he would look so European. I rather imagine that he would be a little bit more semitic in appearance.
So I have been mulling over what images I have in my head and what kind of response I want to give. I would have said something last night but he basically fell asleep before I could answer.
My initial image is kind of the classic image of a very large, muscular man with a beard and long hair clothed in a robe or toga. But thanks to the wonders of Hollywood and the media in general it is not limited to that, sometimes it could be George Burns.
It is hard for me to articulate. There are places in which I feel G-d's presence, but not in a place that I can see G-d. It is similar to the feeling you get when you have someone in your peripheral vision. You can almost see them, but not quite. There is enough to feel their presence, to sense them, to feel like if you turned around you might bump into them, but not quite enough of an image to really capture.
And in the past when I have tried to focus on this image it ran away. It was grasping water in my hands. The harder I tried to grab ahold of it the less I retained.
So I am stuck in a place where I am not real sure. I like the idea of the "everyman" G-d where G-d looks rather ordinary, like anyone you meet on the street.
When I think about it hard enough I come to the place where Moshe Rabeinu is on Har Sinai and asks to see G-d's face but is turned down. That has always bothered me. The almighty should be able to create the almighty shield that would protect Moshe.
Truthfully it has felt a bit like a cop out, but like I said I think that this is ok. I almost prefer the everyman approach so that everyone feels like they are G-d like as opposed to a society of Sneetches who fight over who gets to wear a star and who does not.
And now I find myself in the same place I was in when I started. I can provide an answer for adults, I can provide an answer for teenagers and children, but young children, I am not so sure about.
I am going to have to consider this one for a while.
(cross posted on Jack's Shack)
Posted by Jack Steiner at 12:59 PM