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Gender of God

August 18, 2011 | by

Why is God referred to as "He"? If God is complete, then He should have both male and female characteristics.

The Aish Rabbi Replies

You are absolutely correct that God is neither male nor female.

Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism, says that God is the ultimate mixture. He contains everything. In Hebrew, there is no gender-neutral term, so that's why in Hebrew, God is neither masculine nor feminine. He's both.

For example, consider the word "Shechina," which describes God's presence in our world - the feeling we have when standing on a mountaintop under the expanse of stars, in total awe. "Shechina" is a feminine word.

Other words used to describe aspects of God are masculine. The Kuzari explains that the male genital organs are external, which makes masculine reference appropriate for times when God's presence is in a revealed, "external" state.

The feminine genitals are internal and unexposed to the external eye, which is why the feminine word "Shechina" describes God's presence which is hidden, internal, and at times silent.

For more on this, see "The Gender of God" -

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