I Will Be Who I Will Be

Excerpt from “Exodus: Cargo of Hidden Stories,” Being,  April 14, 2011:

Krista Tippett: Let's talk about also the very mysterious name of God when Moses encounters God in the burning bush. He says, "Who should I tell them I saw?" And the name that comes back now, or the way it's often translated in English is, "I am who I am." I've also heard it translated, "I am becoming who I am ehyeh-asher-ehyehbecoming." How do you read what is said? And say it for me in Hebrew as well, if you would?

Avivah Zornberg: Yes. It's Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, and literally it just means, I will be who I will be. And I think there's just no getting around it. Some of these translations are just mistranslations.

Ms. Tippett: Right, yes. And they don't help, do they?

Dr. Zornberg: They really don't because, actually, God is being evasive. God is saying, “I'm not giving you a handle.” You want a handle of some kind to hold on to, to say, "Now I've got him." That's a name. And instead he answers, "I am the very principle of becoming, of allowing the possible to happen."

Listen to the unedited conversation…