The Female Characteristic

By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


When G-d gave the Ten Commandments, Moses was instructed to convey G-ds message first to the women and only afterwards to the men.

According to the Midrash, G-d did not want a repetition of a catastrophic mistake all over again. When the world was created the commandment not to eat the forbidden fruit was conveyed only to Adam and as a result, Eve was able to be persuaded and eat from the tree of good and bad. This time, G-d said, I will include the women first and the Torah will have an eternal existence.

In mysticism, male and female play very central and fundamental roles. Both need each other and complement each other. One without the other is incomplete and necessarily not able to accomplish.

The male, is the initiating power that generates the first motion of action. Deprived of the receptacle and partner to develop the tremendous potential in the details of this energy, it will disappear and be wasted. Because spiritually the woman was not part of the original equation when G-d conveyed the first commandment not to eat from the forbidden fruit this instruction was disrupted and violated. It did not endure.

To understand on a very crude level the roles of male and female the Talmud says the following. A male plows and seeds, threshes and winnows. After all this work, the grain is still not able to be used or enjoyed by humans. The woman takes the grain, grinds it down to flour, kneads the dough and makes it into bread which can be enjoyed by everyone.

The distinguishing characteristic of the female quality as opposed to the initiating of the male, is that the uniqueness in the female is to receive, nurture, cultivate and develop. To make it useable and practical, functional on the level of down to earth.

Since every person is a whole world unto themselves, these two qualities are within each person on many different levels and in many different areas.

A person is a composite of soul and body. The soul is where it all begins. The soul is the male and giver. The body, receives and absorbs this energy and channels the soul into a thinking brain and feet that go places. The soul on its own, if it is not drawn into the physical realm of the body accomplishes nothing. People can have an inspiration or a nice dream, and it is meaningless if it isn’t drawn down into the world of action.  A body without a soul and devoid of inspiration will not get one very far.

On a more refined level and within the soul powers itself there is male and female energies. The first spark of intellect, when the light bulb of inspiration comes on, must be immediately and carefully taken to its next step known as Binah – understanding, to dissect and develop the inspiration into a cogent concept.

That is why in mysticism the first step of intellect is known as father- Chochma, which literally means the power of something, still not fully appreciated. The second step in the process of intellect is known as mother-Binah, which means understanding. Developing the first spark of inspiration into something more cogent, logical and rational.

When G-d presented the Ten Commandments to the world, for the first time ever there became the possibility for a more revealed and open connection between spirituality and this physical world. Both dynamics male and female were in full swing.

When doing what G-d instructs, we are able to infuse the actual physical existence with the qualities of G-dliness itself.

When a person is inspired with a genius thought, in order to benefit from this moment he must immediately grab the inspiration. In the same way, when G-d presented His G-dly wisdom and energy to the world and we act on this wisdom with our bodies this G-dly energy channels its way to enhance our lives with great meaning and blessings.


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