The Multiplistic Voice of Divinity

The Talmudic Sages said that “There are 70 Faces Of Torah” שבעים פנים לתורה — Shiv’im Panim L’Torah. (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:15-16).

In Psalms 29:4 it is stated “the voice of GD is in strength.” קול יהוה בכח

Rabbi Yochanan said, “The voice of GD will be relayed to the people in 70 different languages,’ corresponding with the 70 Faces Of Torah.

The rabbis used the number 70 refers to a large number or large amount. It’s not an exact count.

Rabbi Yochanan (180–279 CE) tells us that the voice of the Divine is not only different for each person, but different at each stage of our lives. The elders, the infants, the young adults, the mothers, the pregnant women will each hear the voice of the Divine according to their strength. [Midrash Exodus Rabbah 5:9]

An elder with ample lived experience will hear the voice of GD differently than a young person or younger adult. A baby will perceive the Divine at a primal level, free from the baggage of adulthood. A pregnant woman will hear GD differently than a woman who isn’t pregnant. The physical and emotional changes of pregnancy will evoke a different perception of the Divine.

The way you ‘hear’ GD in health, will probably be different than the way you ‘hear’ GD during losses of health.

It is said that each of the Israelites at Mt Sinai (including the matriarchs, patriarchs, prophets and prophetesses) heard the voice of GD in their own way.

The Holy One appeared to them with faces on every side, so that though one thousand people might be looking upon the Divine, they would believe that the Divine One was looking at each of them. So too, when the Holy One spoke, each and every person could believe, “The Divine word is speaking to me.”

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok (1740–1809)

The most pivotal prayer in Judaism begins with Shema — meaning “hear, internalize, understand.” The word Shema appears in Devarim/Deuteronomy nearly 100 times. Active listening is at the heart of Judaism.

GD is in the eyes of the beholder and everyone can commune with GD in a way that is meaningful and comforting to them.

I love the pluralism of Rabbi Yochanan’s teaching, yet I was bothered by the word “strength” in the verse, “The voice of Gd is in strength” (koach).” (Psalms 29:4 קול יהוה בכח)

As a person with health challenges, I don’t always feel strong, physically or emotionally. Does that mean I won’t be able to hear the voice of Divinity? We all have times when our strength ebbs or is at an all time low.

I didn’t see the word “strength” (koach) as inclusive, until I remembered the mystical meanings of the word.

The Zohar describes koach as “the potential of what is” and “the potential to be.”

In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), strength is Gevurah and Gevurah equates to capacity and boundaries. Sefirah Chesed (loving-kindness), Sefirah Din (judgement) and Sefirah Gevurah work together to create a balance. Chesed draws close, while Gevurah and Sefirah Din (judgement) dispel that which is toxic for us in mind, body and spirit.

Gevurah is the fifth Sefirah (Divine emanation) on the Etz Chayim (Tree of Life).

Gevurah provides the power of discernment. When we are pressured to ‘hear’ GD on someone else’s terms, it’s alienating. It doesn’t resonate.

Perhaps more importantly, there are 72 Hebrew names for GD in Judaism, each denoting a different meaning…feminine, masculine, flowing, nourishing, peaceful, compassionate, healing, merciful, infinite, the place wherever you are on your journey.

Some commune with GD by being religiously observant, while others find their own happy medium and their own path.

The Hebrew name for GD/Divinity in Kabblah is Ein Sof, which literally means Without End. The way GD is heard and intuited cannot be boxed in — the permutations are endless and infinite.

We each perceive the Divine in our own way and at our own capacity. We each have a pathway to GD (or Divinity) that is safe space for us.

(GD is my version of the hyphenated G-d that is commonly used when writing)


16 thoughts on “The Multiplistic Voice of Divinity

  1. Thoughtful, prayerful, interesting post, Abi. I particularly like “Gevurah provides the power and discernment to ‘customize’ the Divine Light so that each person can receive the voice of the Divine according to their own capacity “. It’s the word ‘ Capacity ‘ that intrigues me. What is our capacity and does GD give us the ability to change our capacity or does it stay the same. What is our capacity to love, to help our neighbour, to bear false witness, to bear suffering? I would think that the closer we come to GD the greater our capacity. Communication with GD, we call prayer. So the greater the prayer the greater our capacity. I don’t mean prayer as only a verbal response but a soulful response i.e. meditation/contemplation. Just my two cents worth. Really wonderful post, Abi. Trust you are keeping well.

    • Great questions!! I think our capacity changes, ebbs and flows. I have found my capacity is different during different times of my life, depending on the conditions. I really love your thought that prayer from the heart and a connection to Divinity can enhance our capacity. Thank you for being here, Len. I greatly appreciate your feedback, wisdom and insights. I like the way your mind works. Stay well and stay safe.

  2. I began a response yesterday, and then my computer went kaflooey. So if you find a fragment somewhere, I apologize for me and my machine. I certainly enjoyed reading about the word of God. To whom it might be manifest and at which point in life is fascinating to consider. I appreciate your narrative about concern for strength to qualify to hear the word. I guess I’m thinking that in weak moments hearing the voice of God would be comfort and relief as well as a receiving of God’s directive. As I’m learning to appreciate from your work, there is great connectionality (a word?) here, which is terrific. I hope you are really well.

  3. Wow, yes. This was a teaching so illuminating about the idea of G-d as to be quite new. If we believe in One who “meets us at our needs” then G-d’s strength and ours are both changeable, even if the Essence of Who He Is never changes. G-d has many names, but many expressions and I love how you also explore how because we ARE so changeable in both positive and negative ways for our own lives, we also need to seek G-d as Who He needs to be for us and perhaps accept that more in others. I think the many names that G-d gives Himself is quite indicative of that very idea. I may from now on try to more often, when people are struggling (or I am struggling) in faith or understanding, ask: How do you need G-d to appear to you right now in your need? He is able to do whatever you need Him to do to be closer to you. What do you need Him to Be.” Thanks as always! ~~Jane

    • 🥰 Beautiful comment!! I read it a few times and thoroughly enjoyed it. Your question is a great question to ask when we or someone we know is struggling. People tend to get stuck in very rigid and narrow concepts of GD.

      • Abi/ Wild Pomegranate: Your question and comment, like your posts, are so deep and so much a part of the human condition throughout time and place, that of course, all of us who like to think on things would take centuries to “unpack” even this one idea fully. I would like to respond for now with only one thought I had with your question about the “Christian Bible”. The thought that popped into my mind is that I think often and on many, many things that “Christians” have really lost their way in terms of interpretation and living out Holy Scripture (mea culpa, mea culpa) — in other words, Christians have lost this idea of being another group of people who claim to be “people of The Book”. Oh, churches will claim to be “Biblical” but it is tragically a rather “cut and paste” job to supply reasons for what they want to believe about the world and G-d. I think (and this would not be typical for what the religion of Christianity at least in America tends toward today) in terms of “G-d meeting us at our needs”, if we go back to what the Hebrew Messiah was prophesied to be, it would be this –a Savior who would come in the power and glory and love of YHWH to God’s Chosen People and who would “meet their need” for salvation, justice, renewed purpose, truth beyond the world’s fallacious knowledge, and restoration in right relationship to G-d. Messiah would not only “save”, but heal and teach a right way to live to bring about the Kingdom of G-d back to the earth through the Chosen People of G-d. So, there have been different people who have done this — Joshua comes to mind as does of course Moses — individuals chosen to “meet G-d’s people at their greatest needs” . For Christians, the original thought of course was that Jesus was the unique Jewish Messiah that The Father sent to the Jews to restore the whole world, according to our “needs”. This is what the person of Jesus was, at least in the historical tales of people who knew him as found in the Scriptures, and he came as Jewish Messiah to show God’s Chosen People, The Way (or The Tao). The irony here is that those who followed Jesus as Jewish Messiah were to help convert and show The Way to Gentiles to come to belief in true Judaism once more restored through the unique teachings and life of the Jewish “Christ”. Hence, “we” were called “Christians” or “little Christs” (again, ironically originally a cult-name for that group of Jews). However, it seems to me that Christianity has become a very different sort of religion throughout the centuries — a slippery slope. Of course this is not true for everyone who seeks the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the ideas that are found in what Christians erroneously call “The New Testament”(which I use merely for short-hand here). Where all of us though, (and you could speak to this in terms of current beliefs in Judaism), I think have gone so horribly horribly wrong is relegating The G-d of power and love, justice and mercy, creativity and care of our little human souls– relegating that G’d to a little box somewhere in “outer space” who is absent until we have a little “itch we need Him to scratch”, a little need to solve. Whereas really, the G-d revealed in the Tanahk and Torah and the lives of everyone who followed in His Way, does not change — It is His Needs that must be fulfilled, and part of His Needs is to establish the earth as His. It is for us to, as you say, “find the pathway to Divinity that is safe for us”. One only has to look at the life of Moses, Abraham, David, and Esther (and yes of Jesus) to see how The Father does that for His children — “lead us in the pathway that is safe for us”, but we must make our greatest need to be becoming that Imago Dei of His Chosen People — to know Him and be known by Him. Once we submit “our will” to think we know what we “need”, to G’d’s will in our lives and the world, then we can truly understand the power we can be given to heal — even ourselves. (sorry the comment kinda gotta away from me lengthwise — you really got me going on this! Thanks for making me think.)

        • I’m honored! Thank you for being such a great contributor to the conversation! It’s always a blessing to see from your perspective. I hope to get you going again on my next post! 😊👍

  4. God is there for each of us, as varied as that is. That love encompasses everything from the soil in the ground to the universes above…and more.
    Great post. Though I may need another invite, my site is having a little wobble where it blocks some (nice) people from commenting and their voices disappear or other parts just intermittently go silly. So I may be literally uninstalling everything to begin again…once again 😀
    I shall go with the flow, or as in this case, as the love guides me ❤️ 🙏🏽

    • Thanks for your reflections. I always enjoy your thoughts! I sure hope you get all those wobbles worked out. Did you contact WP about the issues you’ve been having?

      • I’m set up on my own site using the wordpress software and my interactions with the forum or admin haven’t come to any fruition as yet because of its intermittency or just plain crazy things happening. To be honest I’m thinking it is one of my plugins I’m using so it will be one of those back to a basic load, test, add one plugin, test, add another etc things until I find the culprit.
        Either that or I’m not feeding my carrier pigeons properly 😂 🤣

        • Oy vey. I wish you success in this endeavor. Hope you figure out what your carrier pigeons need to straighten up and fly right! 🤩

  5. Every time I think that I have heard it all, you outdo yourself with your brilliance. Your intuitiveness in describing each one of our subjective realities is right on. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I need to perceive G-d in relation to myself, not in a collective fashion. Being clumped in collectively with the Jewish People from 4000 years ago has hindered me instead of enhancing my life. Thank you for helping me undo 4000 years of shaming and guilting and judgement and helping me apply it to my life today.

    • There’s nothing better than a paradigm shift! You expressed the transition from collective thinking to subjective thinking so well! Shabbat Shalom!

  6. Beautiful! I like the statement that G-d is heard differently by life’s experiences, circumstances, and needs. I hear and see G-d’s message for me much easier now than I did back in my skeptical days. It is much easier to follow His leading and trust now than before, when I often would just step out and then ask to be rescued. That is not to say that I still am not impetuous at times, but, I recognize the familiar roadblocks now when I see them telling me I am on the wrong path. Before, I did not take the time to listen carefully, sometimes not wanting to see or hear the message, or do the things that I knew I should do. Now, I am more able to listen because I actively pursue Psalm 46:10, Be Still and know that I am G-d. I remember a time when I was in a program for combat veterans and one of the first requirements was to do nothing. That was one of the most difficult things for me, because I was used to filling up every moment with activities and never really having any quiet time for meditation or quiet reflection. God spoke to Elijah in the wilderness in a “Still small voice”. 1 Kings 18:20. Sometimes he needs to command our attention and speaks in a loud voice. We are are at times rebellious and need a loud admonition to get our attention. But, in my experience, the times of my best communication were times that I silenced my busy mind and stopped activities and found G-d during my quiet times of peaceful reflection where I actively listened to what He had to say. I think it was like Elijah where he had gone to a place of reflection and quiet and where G-d was able to speak to him in a quiet voice, knowing that Elijah was listening. To me, it is less important how G-d speaks to us, than what we do with what He says. G-d speaks most clearly to us in this day through His word. The more we study and learn, including the words of the Sages and wise righteous person (tzaddik). The more we learn how G-d has worked in the past, the more we can recognize His voice when He speaks, and the more likely we are to follow and obey what we hear.

    • Thank you for bringing in the Elijah verse. I really relate to the “still, small voice.” The Sages had many different perspectives on GD, as does the Torah/Tanakh. Shabbat Shalom!

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