Do spirits have genders? This question is important for our understanding of G-d. While it may seem a hard question to answer, The Torah has a lot to say on the subject.
Do Spirits Have Genders in Grammar
First, we know that grammatically the word for spirit is feminine in Hebrew. The Hebrew word Ruach means spirit or breath and it is grammatically feminine. This alone doesn’t automatically mean that a spirit is female as the grammatical gender of a word in Hebrew doesn’t necessarily refer to physical gender. Yet, the term Ruach in Hebrew thought is the messenger between G-d and the prophet. Therefore she is seen as having creative and sanctifying feminine power, as The Holy Spirit: The Feminine Aspect Of the Godhead stated. This suggests that Ruach is feminine in more than just grammar. That would mean, Spirits do have genders.
Do Spirits Have Genders In Torah Verses
For further proof, we must look to specific verses in the Torah. If we believe that each of us was created with a spirit or with the breath of G-d, then the creation stories in the book of Genesis have a lot to say about the gender of spirits. Genesis tells us that G-d created us in her/his image, male and female she/he created us. This would suggest that spirits do have gender and can be either gender. Still, some may argue that the gender referred to in Genesis applies only to our physical form and not to our spirit.
Therefore, we must look to other examples. Angels in the Torah are always referred to as men. This clearly means that angels do have genders. In fact, this is how homosexuality has come to be associated with the story of Sodom in modern culture. The angels in the story, who the men wanted to rape, were male. Genesis and the noncanonical book of Enoch record a story of angels lusting after and mating with human women. If angels have lustful feelings and sexuality it seems likely there must be female angels. Otherwise, why would angels be created with sexual desire for females? So, this again leads us to the conclusion that spirits have genders and can be either gender.
What Does It Mean If Spirits Have Genders
So, do spirits have genders? It seems clear that The Torah supports the idea that spirits do have genders. This is significant when we try to understand G-d and the heavenly host. Clearly, if they are spiritual beings, they must have genders. What genders should we apply to them? For too long G-d has been referred to as only male. Is this a fair and accurate description, especially since the Hebrew word for spirit is feminine?
These are topics I plan to discuss in upcoming blogs and my upcoming book The Gender and Sexuality of G-d. So, please come back and read the next few blogs. You can subscribe and be updated about all future posts by clicking here and entering your email address.