The Search for a Name
A story on the search on identity from "A Ray of Darkness" by Rowan Williams.
In keeping with the spirit of how this story may appeal to transgender individuals of faith, I have made a few minor changes to ensure inclusive language. As with all stories, others experience with this text may vary based on their identity and background.
Rabbi Yehuda was the greatest rabbi of his age in Europe, the man who in his house in Prague, created the Golem, the animated form of a man, to which he gave life by putting under its tongue a slip of paper bearing the unutterable name of God. One night, Rabbi Yehuda had a dream: he dreamed that he had died and was brought before the throne. And the angel who stands before the throne said to him, "who are you?" "I am Rabbi Yehuda of Prague, the maker of the Golem," he replied. "Tell me, my lord, if my name is written in the book of the names of those who will have a share in the kingdom." "Wait here," said the angel. "I shall read the names of all those who have died today that are written in the book." And they read the names, thousands of them, strange names to ears of Rabbi Yehuda; as the angel read, the rabbi saw the spirits of those whose names had been called fly into the glory that sat above the throne.
At last they finished reading, and Rabbi Yehuda's name had not been called, and he wept bitterly and cried out against the angel. The angel said, "I have called your name." Rabbi Yehuda said, "I did not hear it." And the angel said, "In the book are written the names of all people who have ever lived on the earth, for every soul is an inheritor of the kingdom. But many come here who have never heard their true name on the lips of human or angel. They have lived believing that they know their names; and so when they are called to share in the kingdom, they do not hear their names as their own. They do not recognize that it is for them that the gates of heaven are opened. So they must wait here until they hear their names and know them. Perhaps in their lifetime one person has once called them by their right name: here they shall stay until they have remembered. Perhaps no one has ever called them by their right name: here they shall stay until they are silent enough to hear the King of the Universe himself calling them."
At this, Rabbi Yehuda woke and, rising from his bed with tears, he covered his head and lay prostrate on the ground, and prayed, "Maker of the Universe! Grant me once before I die to hear my own true name on the lips of my kin."
Context Note: This resource was created in 2014 and predominantly reflects artifacts and ideas that were
known by the author at that time.
Copyright © Ari Leigh 2019