There’s a book out there, God Is A Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism, by David A. Cooper. You see, we Jews believe in an active god, a god who is not static, a good who acts through history. His name, the ineffable name we DO NOT pronounce, the name that has no vowels, is a form of the verb, to be. In fact, we often refer to God as simply Ha Shem, The Name. God is a verb. As Raymond would say…Most definitely a verb.
In the story of the burning bush, when God orders Moses to return to Egypt and free the Hebrew slaves, Moses asks God, (paraphrasing here) – but when they ask who sent me, what shall I tell them? God answers him – Tell them ‘I Am’ sent you. I Am – the two words that encompass all existence, past, present and future – I Am, I Was, I Will Be.
Is. Was. Will be. I recently read a post about the craft of writing. Can’t remember where I read it, but the writer recommended we go through our manuscripts and count the number of times we use the following words: ‘that’, ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘will be’. And begin deleting. Now I agree (deleted ‘that’) we tend to use those words often, probably far too often. But since when did the verb ‘to be’ become a sin against literature?
Tomorrow, great writers who have been.