Here’s a question: If artists sign their creations, and God created everything, where is God’s signature on the things he created, especially the very last thing before resting on Shabbat? (That would be us human beings, of course.)
My colleague Dave Abramowitz (from DLTI) put a lot of thought into this, and came up with an intriguing and quite lovely answer. I wrote about this before in a post called God’s Signature. In case you missed it, Dave looked at his hand, and realized that the lines on one of his palms formed a V with a line up the middle…. i.e. the Hebrew letter Shin. Then he counted the fingers on his hand, using the Hebrew alphabet; aleph, bet, gimel, daled. And then, he realized that his thumb, much shorter than the other fingers, represents the letter Yud.
Which together spell shin-daled-yud. Shaddai.
Shaddai. One of the ineffable names of God. The name by which God was known to the patriarchs and matriarchs. God says to Jacob, “I am El Shaddai: be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 35:11).
What does it mean when someone really important reveals his private name? A lot.
To what can this be compared? To a corporate executive who said to her children, “This is my private phone number, one that not even your father knows. If you are in trouble, use it to reach me – it doesn’t go through any switchboard – it is a direct line. And, by the way,” she also said, “use it to call me every day, just so I know how you are doing. Joel Grishaver, And You Shall Be a Blessing
But back to Dave Abramowitz’s discovery. Where can we find God’s signature on the very last step in creation? On our hands. We carry God’s name on our hands every day, everywhere we go, in everything we do.
Our hands are God’s hands. Whatever good we do with these signed pieces of art, we do in God’s name. With God’s name.
One of the things I love best about being Jewish is this kind of “stretch” – gematria, midrash, and the on-going debates and interpretations of text in relation to our lives. I think the image is beautiful. I’m reading a long and fascinating novel right now and the main character, a young boy named Gurion Ben-Yehudah Macabee, has two birthmarks at the base of his thumbs that look just like the letter yod so when he puts his hand together they read “Adonai”. (The Instructions, in case you are up for a 1,000 page challenge.)
Roscoe George said:
What a stretch! God does not have to sign anything since he created everything!