I am in love with a God transcending all forms and constructs. I am awed by the concept of a deep divine flow worlds beyond what my own finite imagination can capture. In many ways, I need my entreaties to HaShem to be spilled into something utterly unknowable. I am not interested in a God that acts, thinks, feels or even looks as I do. Most of us, beautiful certainly, are a bit messed up, as well. I prefer to think of God as more wholly perfect than all of us spectacular and truly flawed human beings.
Such ideas of divinity stand in stark contrast to the anthropomorphic and decidedly male deity of our Torah. Directing prayers of gratitude and veneration to some faraway “He” never felt comfortable for me. How can I embrace an image of God so devoid of my own distinct femaleness? My identification as a woman is as central to who I am as my identification as a Jew. Frankly, if I have to devise an image of the infinite, I’d much prefer a righteous mashup of Lisbeth Salander and Margaret Atwood, with a little Angela Davis and Wonder Woman thrown in for good measure. Which is why, on the one day our sages electrified with female energy, I am willing to suspend my whole hearted acceptance of a God entirely beyond gender.
In Parshah Va’ethanan, we are told, “observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:12). Shabbat is arguably the most important Jewish institution. For centuries, its observance has been defended, advocated for, and enthusiastically adopted. Shabbat is a sanctuary common to all Jews. Through evolving interpretations of our Torah, it has also become a space for welcoming the divine feminine.