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Safiya James - Dvar Torah


My message today for you all to go home and think about is ‘what is G-d’s gender?’.

During my one on one sessions with Rabbi Greg he really made me think out of the box with my Torah portion, he guided me with what to speak about for my Serman and that gave me a lot of questions to think about.

My Torah portion started with G-d not wanting to reveal G-d’s face to Moses, and I thought why did G-d not want to reveal G-d’s face?

Perhaps G-d wanted it to be a mystery of what G-d looks like, or maybe G-d wanted to keep that power that no one knew how G-d looked like and so people didn’t have that power of knowing, like G-ds name, no one knows it because then when people called G-d for help the would take advantage of it and say the name when it is unnecessary or say the actual name in vain.

Who knows? But in the Torah there are all these things saying what G-d is like and what G-d did but at the end of the day the Torah was written by humans and these were tales and stories that were passed on.

The Torah describes G-d in many ways, as strong and mighty, sad or angry, having a strong hand and an outstretched arm and when it uses pronouns it does use the pronoun ‘his’ or ‘he’. Because of this people have always just assumed that G-d was a male. But no-one actually saw what G-d looked like. And no-one stopped to question that it was men who had written the Torah. Whether that was Moses or the generations after him or even the rabbis of the last 2000 years, they were all men. In the world we live in today, with men being voted more powerful/important compared to women it has not really changed that must – just that in the past it was worse at least today it is better.

What ae the most powerful leaders that pop into your head straight away? Most probably Nelson Mandela, Mhatma Ghandi, and etc., where are all the great women leaders that made an impact, we are brought up learning the really powerful leaders from the past and only a minority mentioned or learnt about or not taught bout at all are female. There has only been a few notable women leaders from the past but actually there are a lot of women who made a difference that no one knows about from the past and as the years go by women have become more important and more strong and have become brilliant leaders, some examples of women leaders from the past are;

  • Florence Nightingale- was a trailblazing figure in nursing. She was known for her night rounds to aid the wounded, establishing her image as the 'Lady with the Lamp.'

  • Marie Curie- discovered two new chemical elements – radium and polonium. She carried out the first research into the treatment of tumours with radiation. She is the only person who has ever won Nobel Prizes in both physics and chemistry

  • Amelia Earhart- the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland.

  • Golda Meir – first woman to be Prime Minister of Israel, and only the fourth woman in the world to lead her country.

Women were not treated equally to men and sometimes were treated as if they were property by there own relatives or others, and still today we live in a patriarchal world that says males are better, but as the years go by the world has gotten better.

How does this affect today? Well gender equality slowly has gotten better, so people obviously have learnt something, not to treat women as if they are property, but it is still a problem today, because some men still don’t stand up for what is right and some think it is fine to treat women terribly. But as I say this don’t think this is a bias opinion because I also know that it is still partly women’s choice/fault, because some women didn’t stand up earlier and some thought it was meant for women to be undermined and treated this way, because that is either how they were brought up or that is just who they are.

What can women do? Women must stand up for gender equality and speak up, because if no one does it will get worse and then later it will be a very big problem and the future generations will be affected worse because of it. Also what can men do? Men can stand up for women make there needs sound more urgent and the more people that stand up the less it will be a problem.

The situation would be changed if we had a bigger majority of the world that protests for gender equality and convince more people that gender equality is right, lets fight for gender equality!

Now that it’s my bat mitzvah, I would like to be part of the change that will happen now and in the future.

Shabbat shalom

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