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The Torah In Haiku: Sh'mot

The Torah In Haiku: Sh'mot



Moses: What's your name?
God: Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh
[Translation Goes Here]



Exodus 3:13-14:

Moses said to God, "When I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh."

At the burning bush, while Moses learns about what will literally be his mission From God, he asks to know God's name. The answer he receives has, in great Torah tradition, elicited seemingly endless questions about what it means. The JPS translation is just a transliteration. One web page has more possible meanings than there are letters in the Hebrew name. A scholarly paper (with 20 pages of footnotes) is devoted to the single verse (Exodus 3:14) in which the name appears.

I was going to chose one particular translation for the last line of this week's haiku. But there are so many possibilities I opted instead for a placeholder into which you can place your own idea of how to translate the name.

Here are a few suggestions (some of which required a bit of poetic license to fit in haiku):

I Am Who I Am
I'll Be What I'll Be
I Am Where I Am
I'll Be What's Needed

How would you translate Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh?

Ed Nickow is a teacher and member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Chai in Long Grove, IL. He blogs at The Torah in Haiku.

Ed Nickow

Published: 1/09/2015

Categories: Learning, Torah Study
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