In a recent video by Prager University (“Why God is HE“), Dennis Prager offers some insightful answers.
Here is my comment, as posted therein:
“In the relationship between the Creator and the created — God is always the “Giver”, humankind is always the “Receiver”. In all cultures of the world, the Giver is masculine, the Receiver is feminine. There are good reasons for that, psychological, biological, cultural and historical. And that is the only reason God is invariably referred to in Jewish Hebrew Bible as masculine.”
In this post, I wish to expand on this comment.
In all bi-lateral interactions that one may observe in the world, there is a giver and a receiver. Occasionally, the two sides to the interaction play a double role (as both giver and receiver). Furthermore, there is never a morally preferential, or superior, position to the one over the other. When a sexual interaction results in pregnancy both giver and receiver are equal partners.
Oddly enough, in biblical Hebrew, where nouns are either masculine or feminine, the distinction between “Giver”, as masculine, and “Receiver”, as feminine, is to a large extent maintained (though not as a generally prevailing rule).
Here are some examples:
Givers of heat, light and water — sun (Shemesh), moon (Yareach), star (Kochav), rain (Geshem) — are all masculine (Shemesh is occasionally addressed also as feminine);
The Receivers — Earth (Eretz), land or soil (Karka, Adamah) — are feminine;
However, Afar, of which Adam was formed (“And Jehovah Elohim formed man afar min ha-adamah (grains from the soil)”, Gen. 2:7) is interestingly masculine;
Central parts of the body that deliver to the body — central command, blood, food, oxygen — are all masculine (brain, heart, mouth, nose);
Parts of the body that receive:
- From within the body — neuro-commands, blood, food, oxygen (hands & legs, kidney, stomach (Kevah), lung);
- From outside the body — sound, light, objects to grip (ears, eyes, fingers),
are all feminine;
Angel in biblical Hebrew (Malach, deliverer of messages) is masculine;
“State of Peace” delivers peace to its partners (Shalom, masculine); “State of War”, like black hole, always receives, never delivers (Milchamah, feminine).
And what is “World” in its relationship to humankind?? (hint, deliverer…)
- Shorty is a short post