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Kabbalah explains that the Infinite Creator and Creation yearn to be united, as male and female.

The Gender Metaphor

The Gender Metaphor

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The Gender Metaphor
Kabbalah explains that the Infinite Creator and Creation yearn to be united, as male and female.
G‑d is one, but He has created a world that appears to exist outside of Him….

In discussing the dynamics of the spiritual dimension of reality, the Kabbala makes frequent use of the male-female metaphor. This is because the basic concept of Creation is duality, beginning with the fundamental duality of the Creator and His creation. G‑d is one, but He has created a world that appears to exist outside of Him. This automatically sets up a tension between the existential consciousness of creation as being a separate, independent reality and its consciousness (or lack of consciousness) of its origin in and dependence upon Him.

Thus, the underlying dynamic of life is one of yearning, passion, and romance….

G‑d (in His purely infinite identity) and Creation yearn to reunite with each other, since this reunion expresses the original, perfect state that existed prior to Creation. Yet both G‑d and Creation are conscious of the fact the world was created for a purpose, and the "business" of this situation must be attended to in order for the ultimate union of G‑d and Creation to occur on an even deeper level than existed originally. Along the way, however, besides the underlying yearning for ultimate fulfillment that informs the entire process of life, there are the ups and downs of periods of partial reunion followed by renewed enforced estrangement. Thus, the underlying dynamic of life is one of yearning, passion, and romance.

G‑d assumes the role of the male and Creation that of the female….

In the dynamic of duality, G‑d assumes the role of the male and Creation that of the female. The male is "trapped" in His consciousness of the ideal, original state of reality. His challenge in working toward the reunion is "get out of his head", to realize and yearn for the superior fulfillment that is possible only through uniting with what the female represents. The female, in contrast, is "trapped" in her consciousness of perfecting created reality. Her challenge is to remember the goal towards which she is working, to reveal the subconscious yearnings of her heart to transcend created reality.

Every level of Creation has its male and female aspects….

Although, as we said, G‑d is generally assigned the role of the male and Creation that of the female, the male-female dynamic is replayed throughout all levels of created reality. In other words, every level of Creation has its male and female aspects - the part of it that represents the orientation towards abstract perfection and the part of it that represents the orientation towards concretizing and manifesting perfection in reality. The final, lowest manifestation of this duality is, of course, man and woman in our physical world.

Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky is a scholar, writer, editor and anthologist, living in Jerusalem. He has recently produced two monumental works: "Apples from the Orchard: Arizal on the Weekly Torah" and a Chumash translation with commentary based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Kehot).
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