Allen S. Maller
Allen S. Maller

First artistic depiction of a bi-gender Adam HaKadmon found near Bethlehem

According to a Times of Israel article (6/28/18) the first artistic depiction of Adam HaKadmon was uncovered in the 1930s in a cave near Bethlehem called Ain Sakhri. The ancient (11,000 years old) sculpture, chiseled out of a white calcite cobble with a sharp rock during the Mesolithic period, depicts two faceless, genderless embracing individuals.

According to the British Museum website, “The arms of one [individual] hug the shoulders of the other and its knees are bent up underneath those of the slightly smaller figure.”

Depending upon which way the small sculpture is held, viewers say it can look like a phallus, female genitalia, two lovers or the bi-gender Adam of Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

In Biblical days, Israel recognized and revered female prophets like Miriam (Exodus 15:20) and Huldah (2 Kings 22). It was evident to everyone that Adam was a bi-gender creature created in God’s image:

“So God created Adam (Kadmon) in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) This was the primordial Adam Kadmon.

In post Biblical days, when Israel’s all male rabbis thought about Adam Kadmon, they pictured a solo male figure standing upright, and not a face to face hugging couple figure kneeling or sitting as indicated by Genesis 1:27.

Most Medieval Kabbalists used the solo male, standing upright, ladder like image; rather than the non-hierarchical, concentric spheres form of the radiating and expanding sefirot. As the Zohar states: (3:209a)
“When the King joins with Matrona (Shechinah) keter ascends and settles on the head of Matrona”

Our generation has been blessed to be the first generation with female rabbis and female Kabbalists in fulfillment of the statement: “He placed keter malchut – the crown of the kingdom on her head. (Esther 2:17)

Thus today’s mystics, aided by Jewish feminists, should switch to the egalitarian concentric radiating and expanding spheres couple shape, to enable us to make progress in spreading advanced Jewish teachings.

I myself prefer the hugging seated couple shape because it makes it easier to depict the Merkavah/Shekinah relationship of a committed, loving, couple covenant; as described in the Song of Songs (2:1-3:4)

The well known Kabbalist Moses Cordovero states in Deborah’s Palm Tree (Jacobs p.103-4) “A man should not intentionally derive any kind of (self-centered) pleasure from the wild/untamed inclination, but when his wife appears before him in her beauty, in a refined house, he should have the (conscious) intention of adorning the Shekhinah … stirring up his wild/untamed inclination to love (attaining wealth and honor to give to his wife)”…

“This method applies to all desires which derive from the evil inclination. These should be directed chiefly towards the benefit of the wife whom God has chosen to be a help mate for him”

All husbands need to remember that “All females are in the shelter of the Shekhinah” (Zohar 1, 228b)

For more insight into the two gender nature of Adam Hakadmon see pages 254-6 in my just published book: Which religion Is Right For You?: A 21st century Kuzari (Hadassa Word Press ISBN 978-620-2-45517-6)

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 450 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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