Reglei Elohim / G-d’s Feet / Legs  – Cindy Elliott

HEBREW WORD FOR IYYAR – Being Holy ~ Being Whole

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My three-year-old son was watching me pray one day, trying to imitate my movements, pretending he was also praying. Then out of the blue, he blurted out, “Daddy! I just saw G-d’s feet.”
I didn’t know what my immediate response should be to this, but quickly I decided that truth was my best option. “Yehuda,” I said, “You couldn’t have seen G-d’s feet. G-d doesn’t have feet.”
He seemed startled by that, but all he said was “Oh.”
A couple of minutes went by and then he tugged at my sleeve. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and, smiling sweetly, said with total conviction, “But I saw them.” [1]

Our first encounter with Divine feet is in Genesis 3:8, “They heard the sound of the Lord G-d walking in the garden…” At face value we may imagine G-d in the cool breeze of the evening having a relaxed stroll through the garden. But, if we look at the Hebrew in this verse we see a glimpse of something more:

Vayishmeh’oo et kol ADONAI Elohim mithalech bagan.

Mithalech is a form of the verb “to walk.” When we read walk we very reasonably assume feet – after all – if we say someone is walking we presuppose they are walking on their feet. But in the case of Genesis 3:8 the noun kol (translated as sound) is also the Hebrew word for voice. Author Aviya Kushner [2] asks the question, “who is “walking” – a being or a voice?”

The problem here is not just the translation of one word, kol, but how to translate it in combination with mithalech… This particular grammatical construction of the three-letter root for the verb “to walk” is used for doing something repeatedly. If holech, or walk, in the present tense, means to walk from point A to point B, then mithalech means to walk from point A to B to D to C – walking back and forth, walking repeatedly, or without a particular destination in mind… What mithalech means is that you can hear the voice of G-d from all directions in the garden.

The same verb form of G-d walking in the garden is used of G-d’s presence in the Mishkan (Tabernacle).

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For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have walked (mithalech) about in a tent, even in a tabernacle.
2 Samuel 7:6

They heard the voice of ADONAI, G-d, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze (leRuach hayom).

The evening breeze is the Hebrew word Ruach (Spirit, wind, breeze, breath, – also at times depicting emotion) [3] hayom (the day) – So ADONAI was walking in the garden in the Spirit, wind, breath, or maybe even the emotion of the day. G-d came each day to the garden to meet Adam and Eve in the moment – each day Adam and Eve would meet  with the Spirit of ADONAI.

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Bless ADONAI, my soul! ADONAI, my G-d, you are very great; you are clothed with glory and majesty, wrapped in light as with a robe. You spread out the heavens like a curtain, you laid the beams of your palace on the water. You make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind. Psalm 104:1-4a

This breeze, breath, wind…is the same Spirit (Ruach) that moved over the waters in Genesis 1:2. It is the same breath that was bestowed on man by G-d in Genesis 2:7. It is the same Wind spoken of in John 3:8. And, it is the same Spirit that filled the hearts of Yeshua’s followers on Shavuot in the upper room in Jerusalem!

They heard the voice of ADONAI, G-d, walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, so the man and his wife hid themselves from the face (panim), of ADONAI, G-d, among the trees in the garden.

But on this day, instead of meeting ADONAI face to face, Adam and Eve hid in shame among the trees of the garden. Our Abba, in His immeasurable affection, called out with the voice of a loving father in search of a precious son, “Adam, where are you (‘Ay – Ayekah)?”.

Adonai, G-d, called to the man, “Where (‘Ay) are you?”

Looking at the Hebrew ‘ay, gives us a picture of our Father’s heart. Ayekah is translated in Genesis 3:9 as, “Where are you?” but it is a rhetorical question, a heartfelt cry. This adverb is related to the Ugaritic (Northwest Semetic Language) oy. [4] G-d’s call to Adam resonated with sorrow.

I often wonder what would have happened if Adam had responded in teshuvah (repentance).

Nonetheless, Genesis 3:8-9 deeply touches my heart. I may not hide when G-d calls, but there are times I don’t engage. Times I am simply distracted. Our Abba calls out, “Cindy, where are you?” and I am preoccupied with life. I am busy choosing good over best and sadly there are times I am simply missing the mark and avoiding G-d all together. My heart is filled with some grievance, my mind focused on misdeeds, my energy spent on the temporal and I miss the breeze of G-d’s Spirit moving over me, and if I were not so preoccupied I might even hear His deep breath-filled sorrowful, ‘Oy’.

E-v-e-r-y day we are invited to share in the fellowship of loving and just being loved by our Abba. Weekly we are invited to breathe deeply of His shalom, monthly to stand in awe and wonder, throughout the year to dance and celebrate. From the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:14) G-d set up holy appointments – intimate times to meet with us. Baruch HaShem!

The voice heard walking in the garden by Adam and Eve – is the same voice that can be heard walking in our homes. The same Spirit that moved over the face of the waters, hovers over us even now. Just as Adam and Eve had an encounter with Divine feet, we can too.

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The heavens are my seat and the earth is My footstool.
Isaiah 66:1

Ilana Kurshan gives an amusing picture of G-d’s feet/legs in reference to Isaiah 66:1, “I imagine G-d sitting on a divine throne up in heaven with legs dangling down to earth. Any time we sin when we are alone, we are in fact bumping up against G-d’s feet.”

There’s a interesting midrash on Isaiah 66:1:

Whoever commits a transgression in private, it is as though he pushed away the feet of the Divine Presence, as it is stated: “Thus said the Lord: The heavens are My seat, and the earth My footstool” (Isaiah 66:1). If one believes that no one can see what he is doing in private, it is as though he said that G-d is absent from that place. He is therefore compared to one who attempts to remove G-d from His footstool. [5]

Divine feet – gently nudging, softly whispering, encouraging and giving us the freedom to push away if we so choose.

Going back to where we started and the young boy who told his father he had seen the feet of G-d. How is that possible?

It is possible in those precious alone moments with G-d. In moments of awe and wonder, moments of tenderness and love, of kindness and hard work. Moments of grief, laugher, tears. So very much during moments of teshuvah. We both see and show G-d’s feet when we are walking out G-d’s truth and living out G-d’s love for all mankind.

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe. Thank you for the goodness and love which you make known to us every day! Abba sometimes I do miss the sound of Your feet, Your presence, as I am preoccupied with things that seem so important but in retrospect really are not. Abba please give me Heaven’s eyes that I may see that which has  eternal worth and Heaven’s heart that I will share the eternal with others. Amen.

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G-D’S LEGS / REGLEI ELOHIM

G-d’s legs
Like the letter vav
A divine hook
Binding together heaven and earth.

Seated in the heaven’s
You walk among us
My body, your tent and dwelling place.

My heart
Knows the voice of your feet
I hear their call
And I rush to follow.

You walking,
Leading
Like two pillars you go before me
Leading me back to the Garden.

End Notes:

1. As with the Hebrew meaning, Strong’s Concordance gives both feet and legs as translations for regel H7272

2. We first see the letter vav in Genesis 1:1:
In the beginning G-d created the heavens and (vav) the earth
By joining the heavens and the earth there is an implication of the connection between spiritual and earthly matters.

photo credits:

* Shutterstock
** Yoram Raanan, Garden of Eden Sukkah
*** Elena Kotliarker, Angel Wings
*** shutterstock
**** Elena Kotliarker, Under The Wind

1. David Aaron, Seeing G-d, 21
2. Aviya Kushner, The Grammar of G-d, 70-71
3. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Reference 2131a
4. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament, Reference 75
5. Rabbi Yitzhak, Hagigah 16a

4 thoughts on “Reglei Elohim / G-d’s Feet / Legs  – Cindy Elliott

  1. Love this line: “The voice heard walking in the garden by Adam and Eve – is the same voice that can be heard walking in our homes”. I have a new picture in my mind now of Adam and Eve in the Garden fellowshipping with the Lord, and my heart will be listening more closely for the voice of Divine feet (as your poem expresses). Thank you, Cindy, for all the word pictures. <3

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