[b-hebrew] The translation of ehyeh

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Thu Aug 4 01:32:39 EDT 2005

On 03/08/2005 23:15, Shoshanna Walker wrote:

>I really find it so hard to believe that you are actually saying 
>that the entire Jewish tradition (I've just read a few quick samples 
>of commentaries for myself) is wrong about this.

Well, is it really true that this is the entire Jewish tradition? 
After all, Jewish opinions are known for their diversity. And your 
few samples may well be quite insufficient to prove your case.

You really are very cute, and very sweet, and you are telling me in a 
very nice way that I am ignorant.  Do you REALLY think that I am so 
dumb, that what I said, I based on just a few samples?  All I said 
was that I quickly READ a few quick samples.  ALL the "Jewish" 
editions of the Torah that were published in Hebrew/English editions, 
that I have ever seen in my life, translated it "I will be that which 
I will be".  All the Yeshiva classes that I have ever attended that 
addressed this, have  explained it philosophically based on "I will 
be that which I will be".

Still no one has answered my query - how does one completely nullify 
the Jewish tradition - and if it is not 100%, what if it is 95% who 
accept that the translation is "I will be that which I will be"

And guess what!  The Metsuda edition + English translation of Rashi - 
doesn't even translate it.  There it appears as Ehyeh, spelled out in 
English letters, because after all, it is one of G-d's names, and as 
such, does not have a translation into English.  It is a NAME.


  I cannot quote any definitie counter-examples, but Gene suggested 
one when he wrote "I believe that hayah  howeh  yihyeh is a rabbinic 
interpretation based on Exodus 3:14" - in other words (if he is 
correct) these Rabbis held that the divine name embraced past, 
present and future.

I must say whenever I hear this idea of God being future I can't help 
thinking of the theories of Christian theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg 
and cosmologist Frank Tipler, who seem to locate God entirely in the 
future, at the Omega Point. While Tipler's idea of God as an 
infinitely powerful super-computer to be built in the closing moments 
of the universe seems entirely crazy, Pannenberg's theology deserves 
to be taken seriously. Nevertheless, I don't think we can reasonably 
suggest that Moses shared Pannenberg's concepts.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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