G*d Appeared to him

Vayera eilav Hashem
G*d appeared to him (Abraham) [Genesis 18:1]

G*d appeared – then what?

A vision
my eyes opened and my mind lit up like Chinese fireworks
the moon rose over my understanding and I grabbed it
the moon
and rolled it across the Universe.

The whole sequence
the entire portion
a dream an apparition
it was seen or G*d appeared
a dream or a vision
a revelation
the lifting of the eyes
the sudden appearance of three men-angels
no speaking
what is imagined
like a dream

like a vision.

At the end of the portion
so Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up
as an offering instead of his son
And Abraham named that site Hashem–yireh
thus the present saying, “On the mount of Hashem there is vision”

[Genesis 22:14]

There is vision
the entire tale
was or has the quality of
a vision.

The sequence resolves with the same root-words
as it began.

The stories
the silences
the talk
the absence of talk
the visiting
the blessing
the laugh of Sarah
the argument with G*d
the flight of Lot
the trickiness of Abraham
the remembering of Sarah
the circumcising of Isaac
the alienation of Hagar and Ishmael
the terrible trek to the mountain of G*d
all of it a revelation
a vision
an appearance of Go*dliness.

In the blessings, G*d
In the mess, G*d too
through the losses in the mess the G*d-lines
in all of it the holy and the not-yet-holy
through the whole story — vision.
G*d appears and – the entire story – all of it
every part
it’s all over G*d
a vision.

Walk away from the story
take a ride on the moon
look at the whole story from without
take a G*d’s-eye view.

The blessings the curses the deceit the alienation
the resistance the argument the righteous the wicked
the sneaking off the returning the resolutions the black fire the white fire
the spoken the not spoken the blessings the mess –
it’s all G*d.
The whole story, all over,

G*d appeared
appeared in a whole mess of difficult stories.

A vision.
Abraham Isaac Ishmael Hagar Sarah Avimelekh
the people of S’dom the good the bad they can’t leave the story.

The story is G*d –
all G*d, all over.

jsg, usa


So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up
as an offering instead of his son
And Abraham named that site Hashem–yireh
thus the present saying
On the mount of G*d there is vision [Genesis 22:14].

G*d appeared in the niphal form of the “to see” verb
passive — was seen or appeared [Gen. 18:1]
It was seen to him or it appeared to him (Abraham)
G*d was seen by him in the plains of Mamre
as Abraham was sitting at the entrance of the tent
in the heat of the day.

G*d appears but how?
The revelation of the Divine presence is usually followed by the statement
“and G*d said unto him.”

[Rashbam, Rashi’s grandson, 12th c.]

Abraham lifts his eyes and there are three men standing over him
they were angels [Rashi, 11th c.]

the game is on.

it was all a vision
whenever it is mentioned an angel was seen or had spoken
this has happened only in a vision of prophecy or in a dream

[Maimonides, 12th c., Guide, II:42]

I feel Maimonides
Vayera may be a vision
— but it is not prophecy
It is an opening of the eyes

[Nachmanides, 13th c., Commentary on Torah]

Maqam* Nawah

Nawa: C D E flat F sharp G

Every Shabbat has a maqam associated with it, a musical figure.
Maqam is cognate to Hebrew maqom = Place.