|Ehieh Esher/Asher Ehieh|
|Gematria: 21||Gematria: 501||Gematria: 21|
|And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.|
is aware of his future mission. He will serve YHWH,
but so far he has not had a direct revelation of what YHWH is. He is a stranger to that name, so he calls his
son Gershon, which means stranger.
One day he goes with Jethro's flocks beyond the lands he usually treads. He goes into the enchanted regions of Elohim's desolate life, into the deep dwellings of existence. That region has a name: Horeb. From its terrible dryness, a spark of light flashes suddenly, an "angel", and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed (Exod. 3:2).
YHWH sees that Mosheh turns round to see this great light, and to wonder why this bush is not burnt Then comes the revelation.
Mosheh's mission is now fully revealed to him, but he still does not know whose voice it is that speaks to him. (Exod. 3:13) When I come unto the children of Israel ... and they shall say to me, what is his name? what shall I say unto them? And here comes the prodigious revelation, the splendid, the dazzling truth: "Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay. Aleph-Sheen-Raysh. Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay."
All the translations of these ideograms, even in the Hebrew language, are abominable desecrations. A man skilled in the Qabala needs but to contemplate those few signs to be aware of it. If he truly is of the Qabala, the universe invades him with all that lives and all that dies, and that which exists, and that which does not exist, and that which has ever existed, and that which will be, and that which never was; though time and space are there, they dissolve into timelessness; for therein lies the prodigious mystery of all that is determined by indetermination. The sanctification is there, and a man dies to himself for being so much alive.
It is thus said: Go and say: Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay has sent me to you. Yes. You will say Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay has sent me to you. Yes, Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay. Yes. Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay. A Yod for an Aleph. A Hay for a Yod. A Vav for a Yod. A Hay for a Hay.
And that is the Qabala. It is easy to understand it when one knows the game, the game that the Aleph-life-death-life-death and the Yod-existence must play continuously; the Aleph, discontinuous pulsation, at times immanent, at times activated, and Yod permanent and continuous: Yod the perpetual loser in spite of the psyche that does not want to die. All this is easy to understand when one knows that all life is two lives and that Adam is Aleph inside the blood.
Such is the revelation granted to Mosheh of one of the two mysteries of Israel: the Qabala. The other mystery is the circumcision. It will be granted, as we all know, by Zifforah, when she will save Mosheh from YHWH's aggression (Exod.4:25-26): Then Zifforah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband thou are, becasue of the circumcision.
If we imagine YHWH as a tramp or a brigand at large, and fail to understand the truth underlying those symbols, this episode appears to be insane. When we know the inner, vital necessity of the myth, YHWH, Zipporah and Mosheh himself are only personifications of symbols.
The objective historical fact is that from that time on, a convenant has been established between YHWH and Israel in its flesh and life evolving towards a higher state of humanity. The movement of that life is intergrated in the bodies of flesh, whether the Jew yield to it or not.
Suares, SY, p.32-33
It is the name of the Game . The conflict between the unknowable, endless ALEPH,
alive (HAY), and the projection of itself in existence, YOD, alive (HAY).
ALEPH is the tremendous Energy behind the movements of the Cosmic Breath, the Angel of the Lord, SHEEN thoughout the Great Dwelling, the Cosmic Container, the support of All and Everything, the Universe, RAYSH.
It is the name of the Game. The conflict between the unknowable, endless ALEPH, alive (HAY), and the projection of itself in existence, YOD, alive (HAY).
And so MOSHIEH understands THAT whose commission he has to undertake. And he fulfills the destiny of his name as "the waters" MEM within which the 'cosmic breath' SHEEN engenders this second life HAY which 'burns' within him and enables him to accomplish his mission in the face of opposition in every way as strong as that in the face of which YHSHWH (Jesus) accomplished another mission 1,500 years later in secular history, achieving a further phase in The Great Game.
Suares, Tree II, 110-111
Harold Bloom, in Jesus, Yahweh and the Names Divine (p.74), points out that the great Rabbis of the early first millennium and later did not pay much attention to the Name AHYH, at least until Maimonides in the 12th century in Guide to the Perplexed, but that the Christians have attached much greater significance to the Name, because of the similarity of "I am who/that I am" to Reb YHShWH's "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). Bloom sees these as the "sublime statements" in their respective Testaments. Bloom's translation is "I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present."
The usual top three God Names in Judaism are Elohom, YHWH and El Shaddai. Followed by many more, until eventually we get to every letter in the Torah.
The Karaites see AHYH's signficance as "God's" Holy, or essential name.
In terms of the myth, the first human to use a God name was Hheva, when she said "I have acquired a man A-Z YHWH."
Suares mentions that Moshe called his son Gershon (stranger) because he was, as yet, a stranger to YHWH.
So we could envision our mythical conversation as:
Moses: "Who are you really, YHWH?
YHWH: "AHYH AShR AHYH."
The Qabala, of course, avoids getting trapped in idiomatic God names and goes straight to the essence of these equations.
We can also see AHYH as the seed or union of both YHWH and Elohim, with the Aleph and Yod of each plus the double life of Hay-Hay (but "withdrawn" from manifestation, Ym, the sea in Elohim).
Or as an intermediate equation between Ayn (Sof) -- Aleph-Yod-Noun (general equation for everything, translated "nothingness") and YHWH-Elohim.
AHYH receives the Aleph-Yod (infinite consciousness and its projection into space-time) from the Ayn of Ayn-Sof and adds the double life of YHWH to the Yod and the projection into the biopshere (Lammed-Hay-Yod-Mem) to the Aleph.
The heavenly fire is always masculine, while the witness of its resurrection is necessarily feminine (Mary Magdalene in the Gospels).
The Number 543 - I AM THAT I AM|
Harold Bloom: "I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present" |
This interview gives us insight into Bloom's thinking and perspective, and he says things he couldn't say in the book for fear of enraging fundamentalists both Chritian and Jewish.
Q: In the book, you talk about both Christianity and rabbinic Judaism both as reactions to the times--what was going on in Palestine...
Yes, but another oddity of the book is that I point out that, contrary to what we normally think, Judaism, what we call Judaism, is a younger religion than Christianity. St. Paul did not inaugurate Christianity. He was converted, probably in Aleppo, though he says his experience was in Damascus, by a Hellenistic, probably Jewish-Christian community to a doctrine that already existed. He became the apostle or great propagandizer of it, the traveling salesman for it, as it were.
But what we call Judaism does not begin until the second century of the common era, with the rabbis clustered around Akiba and Tarfon and Ishmael, and the great sages.
Q: I am curious about your use of the term Yahweh to refer to the Jewish god. Again, something that is not normative.
I am talking about the actual text of the Tanakh. There are thousands and thousands of times in that text the name Yahweh occurs. It became a tradition very early on among normative Jews that this was the unspeakable name of God. But nevertheless, that is the name, and the name seems to have been inaugurated by the J writer or the Yahwist, when Moses is going to be going down into Egypt rather reluctantly and says, "They'll laugh at me. Who shall I say has sent me?" and gets the massive punning answer, "Say that ehyeh asher ehyeh has sent you," which is invariably translated as "I am that I am" but actually means "I will be that I will be"--or to put this into English so it is coherent, "I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present."
And as I grimly keep repeating throughout the book quite deliberately, that necessarily also means, "And I will be absent wherever and whenever I choose to be absent." And there's a lot more evidence in the last 2,000 years for the absence of this personage than the presence.
Q: Yahweh certainly doesn't come across as a sympathetic character...
You have to be absolutely a bad reader or crazy or so bound by Judaic tradition of that kind which produces Satmars or Orthodox... how can you possibly like him? He's very bad news.
Q: You also describe a certain playfulness or impishness that you seem to have a soft spot for.
There's a kind of scamp in there. But he also goes violently crazy as he leads the Israelite host in that ridiculous, mad 40 years wandering through the wilderness, trekking back and forth. He gets crazier and crazier and the poor things get crazier and crazier. One of my favorite passages in the book is what I am talking about--the ridiculous attempt on the part, first, of the neo-Platonising Jews like Philo of Alexandria, and then later the high rabbinical sages to get rid of what they might call the anthropomorphic element and say he isn't a man, he isn't a human, he doesn't do certain things, since it's made very clear that he's walking down the road frequently, that he's picnicking, that he's doing this, that, and the other thing, that he's burying Moses with his own hands, he is closing the door of the Ark with his own hands, and so on.
Yahweh is a human, all-too-human, much, much too human God, and very scary. He is irascible, he's difficult, he's unpredictable, and he himself doesn't seem to know what he is doing.
As for Jesus, there isn't any single Jesus. There are Jesuses and Jesuses and Jesuses and Jesuses. Indeed, here in the United States, it seems to me that every professed Christian has her or his own Jesus, just as every supposed scholar in that mad, quixotic quest--rather pathetic--for the historical Jesus, they always come up with a reflection of themselves in a concave mirror, a kind of distorted image of themselves.
Q: What do you think of the growing relationship today between evangelical Christians and Jews?
It is absurd to talk about a Judeo-Christian tradition. I say this in spite of the political good that this does for the State of Israel or the remnant of Jewry. Nevertheless, it is an absurd fiction. There is no Judeo-Christian tradition. There cannot be. What is at the heart of the book is a very grim fact: As you and I talk to each other at the moment, we are in a cosmos in which there are 1 and a half billion people who call themselves Christians. One and a half billion people who call themselves Muslims. There are 14 million self-identified Jews. That takes care of Yahweh on the one hand, and that takes care of--since we're outnumbered 1,000 to one by each--that takes care of.... ah, never mind. I don't want to say the obvious.
Q: Why do you think America has become such a religious country, in distinction to all the other Western democracies?
... 93% of Americans say they believe in God. I don't care about that one way or the other. 89%--almost nine out of 10 Americans--say that God loves him or her on a personal and individual basis. That's what this book is going up against.
Q: You mention in the book that Yahweh, because of the huge disparity in the number of Jews and Muslims in the world, mostly lives on in the Muslim Allah.
The closest thing that we have, since the Christian God the Father isn't even a pale shadow of Yahweh, and Adonai--or whatever you want to call him, the rabbinical, normative God of what is now Judaism--has much more in common with the God of Deuteronomy or of the so-called priestly author strand in the Torah than the original Yahwistic portion. It is a very strange irony, that Allah of the "recital" or Koran has on the whole more features in common with the original Yahweh, though he's by no means identical with him.
Q: And what are some of those commonalities?
Total authority, total demand for submission. Remember that Islam is a word meaning submission, and the Muslim is one who submits to the supposed will of God. It's the assumption of total authority.And what are some of those commonalities?
Q: To switch gears a little bit, you talk a lot about your affinity for Gnosticism. Can you explain what Gnosticism is and why you find it attractive?
The Gospel of Thomas, which is proto-Gnostic or quasi-Gnostic or a mixture of Gnosticism and ordinary Christianity shows it pretty clearly. Or what I would call "the American Religion" is clearly a Gnosticism: The belief that the best and oldest part of you, the most inmost part, is no part of the created world at all, that it is part of the original Godhead; the belief that except for that spark or breath hidden deep within the lock of the self and very hard to get at, that otherwise all divinity consists of is a good God who has either been exiled to or has exiled himself to the outer spaces, out beyond our cosmos, and he cannot get in touch with us, and we cannot get in touch with him or it or her or whatever you want to call him. Look at the epigraph of my book. There is a hidden purpose in that. It's from William Blake's "To the Accuser Who Is a God of This World." I quote the second stanza:
Tho' thou art Worship'd by the Names Divine
Of Jesus and Jehovah, thou are still
The Son of Morn in weary Night's decline,
The lost Traveller's Dream under the Hill
There's the essence of a Gnostic's stance. A god of this world, worshipped under the names of Jesus, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, call it what you will, God the Father, the Holy Ghost--which by the way is nowhere in the Hebrew Bible, it's a weird importation -- they are cons who rule a ruined world.