Two Halves of a Whole

This newest chapter’s aim is to explore females’ rights, roles, position in the three Abrahamic religions. I aim to write this in chronological order, as Judaism is the oldest that’s where we will start. Happy reading :)! Bereishit – Genesis – Chapter 1 “And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the heaven and over the animals and over all the earth and over all the creeping things that creep upon the earth” {26} In Judaism, unlike the Western interpretation of Christianity, God is a gender neutral, omnipotent, omnipresent deity. The modern English language does not designate genders to inanimate objects. It can be argued that the English versions of the Bible use “He” because it is simply the domininte gender and not because God resembles man. However, both Hebrew and Arabic share that similarity. In both Islam and Judaism God is ascribed the masculine pronouns (He, His), but that’s not to suggest that either religion suggests that God is of the male gender. Both religions teach that God is a single being, the only one of His kind; that there is only one God, only one worthy of worship. “And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them.” {27} Jewish scholars have interpreted the above verse to mean that the first ever human was both male and female at once. “And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth.” {28} Bereishit – Genesis – Chapter 2 “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him.” {18} It is important to recognize that the above verse utilizes the phrase “helpmate opposite him”. If man and woman were created as unequal beings those words would have not been chosen. The word opposite is used when describing elements of a similar nature, belonging to the same category. The opposite of day is night, the opposite of tall is short, the opposite of big is small, the opposite of male is female. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and he slept, and He took one of his sides, and He closed the flesh in its place.” {21} “And the Lord God built the side that He had taken from man into a woman, and He brought her to man.” {23} The above verses mention that the woman was created from man’s side, which is taken to mean from his ribcage. Chapter 1 and 2 profess that man and woman were once a single being, which would mean that one is not complete without the other, that it is in the unification of both man and woman that they become a whole being again. The book of Leviticus delves into the rulings regarding sexual relations. It prohibits sexual relations while a woman is menstruating and describes her as “unclean”. “If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she will be in her state niddah for seven days. Whoever touches her will be unclean until evening.” {Leviticus 15:19} “You are not to have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter, nor are you to have sexual relations with her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are close relatives of hers, and would be shameful.” {Leviticus 18:17} “You are not to take a woman to be a rival with her sister and have sexual relations with her while her sister is still alive.” {Leviticus 18:18} “If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is depravity; they are to be put to death by fire, both he and they, so that there will not be depravity among you.” {Leviticus 20:14} “If a woman approaches an animal and has sexual relations with it, you are to kill the woman and the animal; their blood will be on them.” {Leviticus 20:16} “A man or woman who is a spirit-medium or sorcerer must be put to death; they are to stone them to death; their blood will be on them.” {Leviticus 20:27} “He may not marry a widow, divorcee, profaned woman or prostitute; but he must marry a virgin from among his own people.” {Leviticus 21:14} I must say I am surprized to observe that much of this book is written to the “man”. I would also like to note that my research into women’s rights in Judaism has been difficult to say the least. Till next time, S

Published by

Sarah Gavoci

I am a citizen of the world, a slave, a psychologist, a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend. I have an undergrad psychology degree, a psychiatry master's degree. I am a reading fanatic always have been and a writing enthusiast. So, here's my opportunity to give writing to a wider audience a chance.

Leave a Reply