A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Time Out for Fun - I and I

Dylan's interpretation of Exodus 33:20, lo tuchal lirot et panai ki lo yirani ha-adam vachai, "and God said 'You cannot see my face; no person can see my face and live.'"

Let me know if you think this song has any mussar insight....

By the way, if you think you hear Mark Knopfler here, you do (and even if you don't, you do):


  1. It seems to me that Dylan's song "I and I" has Mussar insight; asking the ultimate question/s "G-d is?" Or isn't?

    I listened several times; the first couple times I was thinking that Dylan was trying to Describe "G-d": then I started to look "at the women in his bed" as representing those thoughts and questions that come up in the mind; questions such as "Who Am I?", "What is my relationship with G-d?", "How do I describe that which you can't describe?", or the idea how can I put into words that which is coming from my heart...

    I really thought the line "The world could come to an end tonight, but that's all right she should still be there sleepin" when I get back..." was incredibly powerful in the sense that was Dylan trying to say: was this a feeling of coming to some type of conclusion, or honoring the fact the even if you can't figure this all out, it's OK...that it could take a lifetime to find the answer/or maybe never finding the answer at all...

    The line; "In creation where one's nature neither honors nor forgives" fascinated me and raised all kinds of questions: Is this in relation to the Jewish Teachings; "A Punishing G-d?", "A Forgiving G-d?", or the fact that
    "G-d is just there?"

    Or the idea of "Tikkun Olam", repairing the world, in the line: "Someone else is speakin' with my mouth, but I'm listening only to my heart, I've made shoes for everyone, even you while I still go barefoot..."

    What a fabulous way to start Shabbat Morning; A little Dylan and Study...


  2. very interesting read. i hear it dfferently but am intrigued by your reading. i hear a tension between the desire for "I and I," which I hear as a person-God relationship and a relationship between human beings. The woman sleeping in his bed imposes on him and his solitude: Besides, if she wakes up now, she’ll just want me to talk
    I got nothin’ to say, ’specially about whatever was.'

    But as with so many Dylan songs, their complexity and beauty and mystery always subvert any single coherent interpretation.

  3. Now this is fun!
    I’ve been thinking, aren’t we actually talking about the same thing; in that “tension between the desire for I and I” which is possibly a person-G-d relationship and relationship between human beings isn’t there a possibility that those questions would be raised:
    Who Am I?
    What is my relationship with G-d?
    How do I describe that which you can’t describe?
    Or those questions about “A Punishing G-d?” “A Forgiving G-d” or “G-d is just there.”
    The relationship between human beings; “Tikkun Olam” or Middot and Mitzvot?
    It seems to me the woman in his bed does impose on him and his solitude, and through the years just think of all the people that have tried to figure Dylan out; heck the world could come to an end and “they” would still be trying…
    Shabbat Shalom…