Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Why do Jews hold that G^d is male?

“When God created Man, She was only joking” — Old feminist slogan

Actually, properly translated, G^d created: ‘a human,’ not: ‘Man.’

But, let’s focus on the Creat^r. There are several reasons why G^d gets male conjugations in the Hebrew Bible. (And even when it uses the word for ‘Divine Presence,’ which is Shecheenah, a female form, it still has: His Divine Presence, which is Shecheenatoh.) That is not because G^d has a male body, figure, or gender identity, perish the thought.

(Yet, the word Lechah (‘for you,’ male) changes in Lach (‘for you,’ female) at the end of a clause. It still then means: ‘for you,’ male. But, apparently, G^d won’t mind very much to be misgendered from time to time.)

But why then this pronounced male gender?

Firstly, G^d gets a gendered pronoun in the Hebrew Bible because the holy tongue has no neuter.

That every Hebrew noun is gendered highlights that G^d created contrasts and opposites. It is hard for us to discern anything without an opposite. If everything in the world was one shade of gray, we could hardly see shapes and maybe only see movement changes. But these contrasts are especially important in several duos. We must know the sharp distinction between:

● Good and Evil. Not everything is morally neutral. And, all our lives, we should take a stance against Evil.

● The Holy and the Mundane. Holy means: set aside for a special purpose. If everything is on a sliding scale, nothing would be holy.

● The Past and the Future. The dividing line is the present and mostly there, we may make a difference in the world.

● Male and Female. Opposites sometimes complement each other. In fact, nothing is complete on its own except G^d (and peace).

● Life and Death. Death is not an option. We must choose life.

● You and Me. Only when we are not symbiotic creatures, we may freely request of, give to, and receive from each other.

So, biblical Hebrew doesn’t have the neuter.

That leaves us with the question: Why is there no exception for G^d?

That could be because He (!) wants us to enable us to relate to Him. He created us in His Image so that we could have a child-parent relationship with Him. G^d shouldn’t be a mere (tangible or non-tangible) object to us.

But, then we should still ask: if He must be gendered, why then male?

Most of Hebrew Scripture comes to teach just men how to behave. And, in general, women are not the problem in life. This is true on a global scale and in the home. Even when women create discord not related to men, when men would behave properly, most women would follow suit.

Now, for many men, if G^d presented Himself as a female, all kinds of weird interpersonal things would happen. G^d aims for some Father-son bonding. This, because if men would need some mothering, on the other hand, plenty of men and women are around to provide that.

And for women, a female god would be kind of redundant. Holy, near-perfect females abound. What most women would need is a Model of what true guys should be like. To understand her own innocence and not to give up on men but rather, to educate them to full humanity. (Except for the dangerous, violent ones. From them, she should run.)

So, G^d appearing as male in the holy Writ is not a form of sexism, Heaven forbid. For the meticulous reader, it’s the most feminist plot ever written.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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