Breathing the Name of God, Wednesday Morning Wisdom

Eyes Remade for Wonder, by Lawrence Kushner is one of my all-time favorite books. Kushner is a Jewish Mystic, and as one writer puts it, “he helps us see through the mundane details of everyday life to catch a profound glimpse of the sacred sparks that surround us.”

In one of my favorite chapters of this book Kushner makes some interesting observations about the name of God in Hebrew. The following is an excerpt from that chapter:

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew are yod, hay, vav and hay. They are frequently mispronounced as “Yahveh.” But in truth they are unutterable.  Not because of the holiness they evoke, but because they are all vowels and you cannot pronounce all the vowels at once without risking respiratory injury.

This word is the sound of breathing. The holiest Name in the world, the Name of the Creator, is the sound of your own breathing (Kushner, 144).”

Which raises some fascinating questions:

  • Is the first thing a baby does, breathe?  Or say the name of God?
  • When someone is about to die, is the last thing they do before they pass on to eternity, breathe?  Or say the name of God?
  • Could you be sitting at coffee with an atheist who is saying, “There is no G-d”….while breathing the very name of God?
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