Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Future Male/Female Dynamic

Traditionally speaking, Kabbalah teaches that male means giving and female means receiving. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explained that while giver/receiver are sufficient as descriptions of male/female roles before the Messiah arrives, during the messianic era these traditional roles will change and the giver/receiver paradigm won't hold - neither cosmically nor personally.

As a whole, the messianic era will be characterized by greater equality on every level, including gender. Since giver and receiver are unequal roles, they are out of character with a messianic era. Obviously, male/female will continue to exist, but along different lines. For a while I wondered what could a messianic era male/female relationship look like.

My thoughts took me back to the way Rabbi Bachya Ibn Pequda explained the Creator's Oneness. Obviously, anything about the Creator cannot be described directly. The closest one can get to a description of the Creator is to describe what He's not, rather than what He is. The old term for this kind of description is “negative theology”. In common contemporary parlance it’s called, "process of elimination".

What Rabbi Bachya explained the Creator’s Oneness by explaining that He’s not multiple. He eliminated multiplicity by explaining that any oneness humans can conceive of is composed of parts. Even the smallest seemingly indivisible item at the very least has a beginning, middle and end - i.e. it can be conceptually segmented. Even such subtle segmentation does not apply to the Creator - as His Oneness must be absolutely real and a oneness composed of parts is not ultimately real.   

From Oneness, Rabbi Bachya explains the Creator’s Infinity in a way which ends up eliminating limitation. He explains that since the Creator’s Oneness is absolutely seamless, He has no beginning, middle or end. A Being with no beginning, middle or end has no limits and by definition is Infinite (which also literally means “not finite” - an eliminative description). So the Creator is at once Seamlessly One and Absolutely Infinity. In Him, Oneness and Infinity are the same. It’s our minds which divide them into two concepts.

It occurred to me that the Creator's Infinity and Oneness is the very earliest possible root for any version of duality echoing throughout the vast and varied levels of His creation. Since what's male in creation tends towards outer growth and expansion, maleness is an echo of Infinity. Since what's female in creation tends towards inner growth and building inner space, femininity is echo of Oneness.

Therefore it seems to me that in the messianic era, a couple's union will be one merging the forces of inner and outer growth into a singular whole. It would stand to reason that as we draw closer to this era, more and more couples will bask in the light of this new paradigm.

This does not mean that women will be confined to the home and men only venture into the wider world. That’s actually part of the pre-messianic inequality. What it means is really equal access for both genders to move about in both domains - inner and outer. However, when a females venture into the outer domain, they will bring with them a sensitivity and understanding which comes from being denizens of life’s inner domains. This can be compared to an immigrant who opens to restaurant to bring her native culinary traditions to her adopted country; thereby, enriching her new locale with something uniquely special.

Similarly, when males venture into the inner domain, they bring with them the long range focus and vision which comes from being native to life’s outer domain. This can be compared to a psychologist/life coach who ventures into a client’s feelings, yearnings and dreams in order to shape them into long range life goals and accomplishments.  

Of course, long term exposure builds life experience which works on one’s overall skill sets. So over time, females can feel comfortably at home venturing into the outer world and males venturing into the inner world. In any event, since gender tends to be a range and people are vastly varied, very often archetypal generalizations don’t neatly fit individuals - an amazing reminder of each individual’s special uniqueness. Our Creator shaped us from a place beyond books and cookie cutter academic styled definitions.
(This is a brief synopsis of the main points of an essay I wrote a few years ago called "Future Couple". The full length version is available on my blog.)

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