In the Tu B’Shevat seder, I made the choice to have all prayers address Goddess (i.e. the feminine face of the Divine). This was done as a conscious and carefully considered choice. While Kohenet focuses on the Divine Feminine, I personally believe that “God” is male, female, both and neither — all at once. There are many different facets and faces that are presented to us based on our needs, experiences, and world-view. My stance used to be that if the Divine is inherently genderless, then it doesn’t matter what gender we pray in. I now know that it does matter. My experience has also taught me that while many people give voice to this, they do not act it out in practice.
The easiest example is the one I use in the Tu B’Shevat Seder.
עץ חיים הי למחזקים בה
Eytz chayim hi l’ma-chazikim bah
She is a tree of life for those who hold her fast
This is generally translated as “it is a tree of life…”. People will say, “well Hebrew is gendered but English isn’t,” to explain the use of “it.” But, the same people will use the same “gendering” of the language to explain why God is a male. In effect, all the references to a feminine God(dess) have been removed from the translations but the masculine remains. An complete imbalance has been created. Making the choice to pray in the feminine helps to correct this imbalance. Check out this re-interpretation of the 23rd Psalm, and the following conversation, on a progressive Christian site and you’ll see a beautiful illustration of this at work.
If God(dess) is (d) all of the above…then we should pray to the most appropriate facet for the occasion.
This essay is part of my project for my Tzovah (first-level) initiation with the Hebrew Priestess Institute. The project I have been working on for the past year and 1/2 is to develop seasonal seders. The physical deliverable I will present to the directors of the program and my sisters in January will be the first seder, in what I hope will be an on-going and life-long project: Seders for all Seasons.