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God the Father

The Church of England allegedly now plans to put a  spanner

in God’s gearbox, setting it in permanently neutral gender,

a change that’s contrary to a conclusion that I’ve drawn from manna,

suggesting that God’s is very masculine, and not a gender bender.

In Legal Friction I explain that manna was His seed,

which Israelites collected six days every week but not on Sat-

urdays.  Legal Friction is my magnum opus that you’ll have to read

to learn my evidence for a theory on which I would hang my hat

if I possessed one, but I don’t.  Instead a yarmulke is what

I wear, except when I am sleeping, which the Psalmist states that God

does never do, though I do believe what many faithful Jews do not,

that sometimes even He allows Himself like Homer just occasionally to nod.

                     Afterthought for Purim

In the megillah, Esther 6:1, we all read on Purim that the sleep of an unnamed king nadedah,

which means the sleepy mind not just of Persia’s king but God, the greatest King, was wandering.  I’ve added a

bilingual interpretation to this word, suggesting that it also can imply that God “nodded,” a rather

outrageous suggestion, like the one that I’ve just made above concerning God the Father,

but appropriate for Purim, festival whose name can be connected

to the Hebrew root p’ru, be fruitful, Gen. 1:28, where reproduction was by God directed.

                      ======

In “Church of England Considers Gender-Neutral Language for God: The church said that God was neither male nor female and has asked a commission to explore how that is reflected in its services,” NYT, 2/9/23, Amanda Holpuch writes:

The Church of England is considering whether to use gender-neutral terms to refer to God, a spokesperson said on Thursday, adding that there are no plans to “to abolish or substantially revise” the existing liturgy.

The church said in an emailed statement that Christians have recognized “since ancient times that God is neither male nor female.” The clergy is now weighing whether it could better reflect that in the language used in its services…

In Christian denominations, God is often rendered with masculine pronouns in religious texts and prayers, though many theological scholars and leaders argue that God transcends gender. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “He is neither man nor woman: he is God.”

In 2018, the Church of England’s archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, said that God was neither male nor female. The archbishop is the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, which exists in the United States as the Episcopal Church, with 85 million members in 165 countries.

In my book Legal Friction in pp. 688-711 I draw attention to the fact that the descriptions of manna in Exod. 16:13 as שכבת הטל (“layer of dew”) and in 16:31  כזרע גד לבן (“like white seed”) imply that manna resembled semen, and explain (p. 700):

The idea that manna is God’s seed explains the meaning of the word מן, manna. The etymology of this word is obscure. An Arabic cognate denotes a plant in the Sinai peninsula which exudes a sweet, sticky, honey-like juice at the end of May and in June. I think that the true derivation of the word is based on its resonance with Min, one of the Egyptian gods of fertility. This god, always depicted with an erect phallus, was associated with the Egyptian cos lettuce, a tall, straight vegetable that was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as an aphrodisiac, probably because it secreted a milky substance when pressed! Further support for the idea that manna is God’s seed comes from its description in Ps. 78:25 as לחם אבירים, bread of the mighty. אביר, mighty, has an Akkadian cognate abāru, which means ‘be firm, strong’, and has sexual connotations in many contexts. One is found in Jacob’s blessing of Joseph:

And קשתו, his bow, remained strong, and his arms ever-moving, through the hands  of אביר יעקכ, the Mighty One of Jacob, from the name of the Shepherd,   אבן ישראל, Rock of Israel. (Gen. 49:24)

The sexual implications of אבן, stone, are well recognized, because אבנים can mean ‘testicles’ (Exod. 1:16), and אבן is a keyword in the narrative of Jacob’s journey to Mesopotamia where it appears eleven times, corresponding to the number of sons born to Jacob in Paddan-aram, also mentioned eleven times.

Ps. 121:4 states:

הִנֵּה לֹא-יָנוּם, וְלֹא יִישָׁן–    שׁוֹמֵר, יִשְׂרָאֵל.  4 Behold, He that keepeth Israel doth neither slumber nor sleep.

Esther 6:1 states:

א  בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא, נָדְדָה שְׁנַת הַמֶּלֶךְ; וַיֹּאמֶר, לְהָבִיא אֶת-סֵפֶר הַזִּכְרֹנוֹת דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים, וַיִּהְיוּ נִקְרָאִים, לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ. 1 On that night could not the king sleep; and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king.

Gen. 1:28 states:

כח  וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם, אֱלֹהִים, וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, וְכִבְשֻׁהָ; וּרְדוּ בִּדְגַת הַיָּם, וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבְכָל-חַיָּה, הָרֹמֶשֶׂת עַל-הָאָרֶץ.    28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: ‘P’ru, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earthsent at 10.17am

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.
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