Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What Does G-d Look Like

I am very thankful for this blog because I have so many thoughts and questions that I'd like to share with you. I truthfully didn't realize how many until I started to look at posts I had already written. I feel a little guilty about posting material that has already floated around cyberspace, but I also feel like these are questions/comments that are really appropriate for this blog.

For that matter, given the nature and goal of this corner of the web it seems appropriate to share them here as this place is starting to feel like it has it's own energy and lifeforce.

This particular topic really resonates me with me.

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)


Stacey said...

I am not concerned about his appearance. I am more concerned about whether he exists or not.

Anshel's Wife said...

Sometimes I feel what seems to be a hand on my shoulder. Sometimes a tap and sometimes a squeeze and sometimes just a firm touch. But it's only a sensation. No one is there. And even though I don't exactly feel G-d' presence after this "touch", the feeling lingers. Does that make sense? Maybe I sound crazy. But this always seems to happen when I need that little boost to help me get through the day.

Thanks, Jack. I really liked trying to work this out along with you.

Anonymous said...

After my parents took me to California when I was five, and I saw the big redwood trees, I was pretty convinced that God lived on top of a tree. I figured when he got mad, he tore off a tree limb and threw it down on the bad people.

I'm more inclined to believe in an unseen presence at this stage of the game. I do know what Yettaboo means though... I think I've felt that phantom hand holding my hand....


sometimes like Ze'ev Jabotinsky, somtimes HE looks like zadye,sometimes like bubby sometimes both.sometimes He looks like rebbi,others He looks like a warrior (Ish Melchama)sometimes He looks angry like Gestapo(Nera Ke'oav)but worst off all is when He does not look at all(Anochi Haster aster pahni)