(c) Melissa Oringer, 1998-2001, All rights reserved
Jewish deity is all-pervasive, all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipotent,
invisible, inscrutable, ineffable, incomprehensible, inconceivable.
It is beyond gender, beyond time. It is my theory that the
Jewish laws against idolatry are because to personify this force
diminishes it by leading to anthropomorphization, creating a "personality"
to whom the description "benign dictator" only touches the surface.
Hebrew language assigns every word, noun, verb or adjective a gender.
Because of this, this vast force became God, Lord of Hosts, Man
of War, King, Master of the Universe, Our Father in Heaven - the
divine Masculine. And because this God was also all-pervasive,
all-knowing, all-powerful, omnipotent, invisible, inscrutable, ineffable,
incomprehensible, and inconceivable, any other God or Goddess must
therefore be false and an evil thing at war with His rulership.
human nature demands a divine Mother. In "The
Raphael Patai traces the thread the divine Feminine has maintained
in the long history of Judaism. In his book, he endeavors
to show that the Goddess, be She Ashera, Astarte, Anath, Shekhina,
Matronit or Shabbat, lives in the life of every Jew.
other key reason that I can be both Jewish and Wiccan is in the
lack of a single ruling body, or a Jewish "church". To quote
Patai ("The Hebrew Goddess", (c) 1978, pp. 26-27):
contrast to the Roman Catholic faith with its single body, the
Church, Judaism has never developed a monolithic structure which
could super-impose its authority upon all Jewish communities in
the many lands of their diaspora. Local variations exist,
...yet there is only one Catholic faith, one doctrine and one
practice, which unites believers throughout the world...
such unity exists in Judaism, nor has it ever existed, with the
possible exception of a brief period when the Great Sanhedrin
exercised central authority in Jerusalem. Prior to that
time and after it to this day, Jewish doctrine and practice, although
derived from one ultimate source, the Bible, differed from place
to place, because, lacking a coordinating and sanctifying central
authority, their precise formulation was left to local religious
in doctrine among Christians led to schism. Among Jews,
they led to heterodox groupings without secession, because there
was no organized religious body from which to secede or which
might have cut off the offending limb. There was, to be
sure, disapproval of the views and conduct of groups other than
one's own, there were even arguments and conflicts; but however
erroneous the ways of others appeared, such errors were never
considered serious enough to warrant a formal break. Jewish
history contains examples of excommunication of individuals because
of apostasy -- Uriel Acosta's case comes readily to mind -- but
no body of religious leaders ever used the weapon of the herem
("ban") against any Jewish group...
case in point is the situation that developed in the 18th and
19th centuries when the Jews of Eastern Europe became sharply
divided into Hasidm (roughly, Mystics) and Mitnagdim
(Opponents). The antagonism between the two groups increased
to such a degree that intermarriage between them was completely
out of the question. Yet, at no point during the great struggle,
did any Hasidic or Mitnagdic leader go so far as to cast a doubt
upon the Judaism of the opposing group."
of this history, and my heritage as a Jew, when I incorporate the
Goddess into my life I do not relinquish my claim to Judaism.
my mind, the only way to access that incredible, genderless force
is as a Wiccan. Wicca, in my perspective, is unique in that
it recognizes that unknowable force, then accesses it through the
first logical division of gender. Wicca recognizes a God and
a Goddess, each total unto itself, and together becoming the whole
that is more than its parts.
as a Wiccan Priestess, I may interact more specifically with the
God or Goddess by accessing one of the many named deities mythologized
throughout human history. In my experience, the older the
deity, the more primordial its nature, the more recent the deity,
the more human in nature. By that I mean the creations of
human civilization: war, justice, architecture, crafts, marriage,
etc. All of them carry the tangible link that ties them to
the divine Feminine and Masculine, and through that, to the infinite
source of my ancestors.
Melissa Oringer, 1998-2001, All rights reserved