If you are one of the many Jews who think of God as a purposive entity, a real being with likes and dislikes, who intervenes in the world of humans, then you know to whom you are praying. For the rest of us, who can’t quite conjure up an image of a divine personage, to whom are we praying? Or to what are we praying?
For us, the word “God” is a metaphor we use to describe something which is beyond description. We have an experience of this force, but we can’t explain it. God, then, is the name we use to describe the transcendent mystery that gives meaning to the important things we do.
This year, I taught a class in the Adult Education program called “What is God?” about the metaphors we use to talk about this mystery. Turns out, we have found dozens of metaphors in our liturgy that help us think about God. I believe they fall into nine categories: