Kavvanah on Standing Before God-Who-Sees-Me, by Virginia Spatz (1999)

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The Amidah’s choreography
is designed to call to mind
an appearance before a sovereign
so as to invoke the proper “stance.”

Consider, though, the variety of God-communications depicted just in the book of Genesis:
God talks to Adam and Eve,
to Cain,
to Noaḥ,
and to Avimelekh.

God even talks to the serpent.

וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע אֱלֹהִים֮ אֶת־ק֣וֹל הַנַּעַר֒ וַיִּקְרָא֩ מַלְאַ֨ךְ אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ אֶל־הָגָר֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לָ֖הּ מַה־לָּ֣ךְ הָגָ֑ר אַל־תִּ֣ירְאִ֔י כִּֽי־שָׁמַ֧ע אֱלֹהִ֛ים אֶל־ק֥וֹל הַנַּ֖עַר בַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הוּא־שָֽׁם׃ (בראשית כא:יז)
God heeds Ishmael “where he is.”

וַתִּקְרָ֤א שֵׁם־יְהוָה֙ הַדֹּבֵ֣ר אֵלֶ֔יהָ אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל רֳאִ֑י כִּ֣י אָֽמְרָ֗ה הֲגַ֥ם הֲלֹ֛ם רָאִ֖יתִי אַחֲרֵ֥י רֹאִֽי׃ (בראשית טז:יג)
And Hagar names “YHVH who spoke to her: ‘God-who-sees-me’.”

וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ק֨וֹל יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתּ֗וֹ מִפְּנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּת֖וֹךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃ (בראשית ג:ח)
So, in stepping up to greet God,
it is sometimes fruitful to picture,
instead of a royal audience,
an opportunity to meet God in the cool of the garden,
or to approach, at a desert spring, “God-who-sees-me.”

A version of this kavanah (intention) was originally produced for the Institute for Contemporary Midrash Summer Institute, 1999.

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