Wednesday, September 16, 2009

God Within

Elul Thought #27

Last night I read Murphy Leopold’s beautiful Elul thought, and today I am going to riff off of a part of her thought.

She wrote, “Does anyone else hear Charlton Heston as the voice of God in the Torah?” in reference to the burning bush scene from The Ten Commandments. Moses, played by Charleton Heston, approaches the burning bush, and God’s voice speaks, also played by Charleton Heston. The same dual-casting is used in the animated The Prince of Egypt for the same scene, but with Val Kilmer playing both voices.

This casting choice is also a theological choice. It says, in essence, that when Moses hears God’s voice, he hears his own voice. In other words, God’s voice is not the cinematic presentation of a booming, masculine voice from the clouds. It is the still, small voice within us. This is why the Hebrew word l’hitpalel, “to pray,” is a reflexive verb. We do not direct our prayers outward; we direct them inward, to the Divine Spark nestled deep in our soul.

When I am reading or thinking and I “hear” words in my head, the voice of those thoughts is my voice. I assume it is the same with all of us. Who knows? Maybe we all hear God’s voice, disguised as our own. Perhaps what we call the voice of conscience is that same voice that Moses heard at the burning bush, that all the Israelites heard at Mt. Sinai, and anyone can hear if we are able to recognize our own connection with God.

Have a very sweet and happy 5770.

Shanah Tovah!

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