Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Does ‘G-d Is My Rock’ Actually Mean?

 

Deut. 32 refers to G-d multiple times as “The Rock. And we think we know what “G-d is my rock” means. How hard could it be, after all? A rock is hard and firm, unyielding, and undeniably present. It is (at least in our normal time) unchanging and static.

Except that the word is not used this way in the Torah – and (to me at least) quite intriguingly so. The first time the Hebrew word from Deut 32 (“tzur”) is used is when Moses’ wife, Zipporah, performs an emergency circumcision (Ex. 4:25).

So Zipporah took a rock and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it, saying, “You are truly a bridegroom of blood to me!”

In so doing, she saves her husband’s life, enabling him to continue with his mission. So a “rock” in this case is an implement, a tool to be used by mankind in order to achieve higher spiritual heights.

Zipporah’s rock is not static; it is dynamic and kinetic. It cuts through flesh and changes our reality. The rock performs both a practical and a spiritual function.

The second time the Torah uses the word “tzur” is Ex. 17:6.

I will be standing there before you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock and water will issue from it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

This rock is also not a static unchanging thing, but a source of potential sustenance. Water in the Torah, as with many other cultures, is symbolic of sustenance and prosperity, life and holy potential. The rock, as the source of this water, becomes the origin of all of these things.

So when, in Deut. 32 Moses calls G-d “The Rock,” we should understand it in this context: G-d is not cold and constant, but instead is a means to grow ourselves in holiness, the source of material and spiritual sustenance.

Yom Kippur starts Sunday. May we all be sealed for a year of blessing and goodness, prosperity and health. May we always strive to grow to be better people, a people that grows in wealth and in holiness through our relationships to each other and to our Creator.

[another @iwe and @susanquinn work]

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  1. Arahant Member

    iWe: May we all be sealed for a year of blessing and goodness, prosperity and health. May we always strive to grow to be better people, a people that grows in wealth and in holiness through our relationships to each other and to our Creator.

    Amen.

    • #1
    • September 26, 2020, at 8:41 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    L’shana tova, iWe.

    • #2
    • September 26, 2020, at 9:08 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You too, Susan.

    • #3
    • September 26, 2020, at 9:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Manny Member

    Fascinating. I will have to contemplate “rock” throughout the scriptures. Interesting how rock is a metaphor for G-d frequently in the psalms. For instance, “My G-d, my rock, in whom I will take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Ps. 18:2). And in Psalm 31, “Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” I connect rock with the temple as a refuge and a fortress.

    Have blessed holiday.

    • #4
    • September 26, 2020, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. Hartmann von Aue Member

    L’shana tova to you and other Jewish Ricochetti.

    • #5
    • September 26, 2020, at 11:42 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. iWe Reagan
    iWeJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    I connect rock with the temple as a refuge and a fortress.

    There are different Torah words, which is very important!

    “Tzur” is the word I analyzed. Here is where it is found.

    The more common word translated into English as “rock” is “ehven”. You can see where it is used here.

    The fact that the Torah uses different words is one reason why using a translation (which easily misses this distinction) is so deceptive when trying to suss out what the text is saying.

     

    • #6
    • September 27, 2020, at 5:35 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Jules PA Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    iWe: May we all be sealed for a year of blessing and goodness, prosperity and health. May we always strive to grow to be better people, a people that grows in wealth and in holiness through our relationships to each other and to our Creator.

    Amen.

    I thought the exact same thing. 

    • #7
    • September 27, 2020, at 5:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Manny Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    I connect rock with the temple as a refuge and a fortress.

    There are different Torah words, which is very important!

    “Tzur” is the word I analyzed. Here is where it is found.

    The more common word translated into English as “rock” is “ehven”. You can see where it is used here.

    The fact that the Torah uses different words is one reason why using a translation (which easily misses this distinction) is so deceptive when trying to suss out what the text is saying.

     

    Ah yes. Agree. 

    • #8
    • September 27, 2020, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I just remembered when G-d asks Moses to draw close–Exodus 20-23:

    And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand and thou shall see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen.

    G-d wanted Moses to be close to Him; Moses could not see G-d’s face or he would die. There is also an intimacy in the cleft, too. And I think G-d wants us also to draw close to Him.

    • #9
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. Arahant Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    There is also an intimacy in the cleft, too.

    The cleft of his back parts?

    • #10
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    There is also an intimacy in the cleft, too.

    The cleft of his back parts?

    Thanks for the giggle, @arahant! Try again . . . 

    • #11
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Except for Tzipporah’s action, Moses would have died for trying to outsmart G-d’s will and thereby failing to act in accordance with it. Tzipporah redeemed Moses: She performed his omitted act, and demonstrated the transcendent possibility inherent in material creation by using a rock, about as material an object as there is, to carry out G-d’s desire.

    We later learn more about “rock” when Moses had another potentially lethal encounter with G-d’s transcendence at Sinai.

    iWe: May we all be sealed for a year of blessing and goodness, prosperity and health. May we always strive to grow to be better people, a people that grows in wealth and in holiness through our relationships to each other and to our Creator.

    Amen, amen, amen. May this be His will.

    • #12
    • September 27, 2020, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. Manny Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I just remembered when G-d asks Moses to draw close–Exodus 20-23:

    And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me, and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand and thou shall see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen.

    G-d wanted Moses to be close to Him; Moses could not see G-d’s face or he would die. There is also an intimacy in the cleft, too. And I think G-d wants us also to draw close to Him.

    Excellent catch Susan.

    • #13
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Manny Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    There is also an intimacy in the cleft, too.

    The cleft of his back parts?

    LOL! Oh Arahant. G-d is going to get you for that. ;)

    • #14
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Arahant Member

    Manny (View Comment):
    G-d is going to get you for that.

    G-d laughs, too.

    • #15
    • September 27, 2020, at 9:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Saint Augustine Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    G-d is going to get you for that.

    G-d laughs, too.

    Dogbert's bad dream part 2 - The Dilbert Strip for June 22, 1990 | Dilbert comics, Humor, Jokes

    • #16
    • September 27, 2020, at 9:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Manny Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    G-d is going to get you for that.

    G-d laughs, too.

    As He gets you. ;)

    • #17
    • September 28, 2020, at 4:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like