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              You are here: Home >> Blog >> GUEST BLOG: Lessons From Rebecca: Gender in the Bible

              GUEST BLOG: Lessons From Rebecca: Gender in the Bible

              May 13, 2016 — Categories: , ,

              There has been a recent spate of attempts to reverse progressive laws protecting people of all genders from discrimination. These include the repeal of laws in North Carolina requiring restrooms to be accessible to transgender people, the so-called ‘Potty Law’ HB2. Some of the proponents of repealing these laws are faith communities believing the Bible only accounts for two genders, male and female. The Bible’s Five Books of Moses (Torah) passed down over the millennia speaks to our origins and how we define ourselves, even in modern times. The Chapter Gen. 24:14, 16, and 28, called ‘Life of Sarah’ is one of them. 香蕉视频app安卓

              There has been a recent spate of attempts to reverse progressive laws protecting people of all genders from discrimination. These include the repeal of laws in North Carolina requiring restrooms to be accessible to transgender people, the so-called ‘Potty Law’ HB2. believing the Bible only accounts for two genders, male and female.

              The Bible’s Five Books of Moses (Torah) passed down over the millennia speaks to our origins and how we define ourselves, even in modern times. The Chapter Gen. 24:14, 16, and 28, called ‘Life of Sarah’ is one of them.

              This Chapter gives the first mention of Rebecca, who will become Isaac’s wife. For those who read the Bible in its original language, Biblical Hebrew, it is striking that the adjective for Rebecca is spelled הנער (haNaar) rather than הנערה (haNaarah) with the feminine ending. The word describing Rebecca is a masculine form, as if indicating a young man, not a young woman or maiden.

              This spelling appears more than once when referring to Rebecca. What is written in the original Biblical text is always assumed to be intentional and not an error, especially when repeated in different verses referring to the same person. In that case, what does this one say about Rebecca?

              Rebecca is different from other women up to this point in the Torah narrative. She has a name, an identity, and has a direct and forthright person, the one who does heavy work of watering camels; these were qualities usually expected of men. Every time she is mentioned it is as haNaar, with the masculine Hebrew ending.

              Distinct and separate male and female gender is a relatively new concept, having arisen in the Cartesian era of separating mind/body, male/female. Prior to this, Talmudic commentaries on the Bible discuss the androgony and the tumtum. These may be understood as hermaphrodites or of ambiguous sexual assignment. Likewise, many non-European cultures continue to recognize a gender spectrum. who are both male and female and often play roles in healing and medicine, as they are able to cross into all worlds of experience.

              Our modern need to assign one gender or the other causes such babies to be medically channeled into male or female. The Cartesian belief is that it is in their best interest; yet often the wrong decision is made and children grow up in what feels like the wrong body and with the wrong expectations of how to behave, e.g. like a ‘girl’ or a ‘boy’. Male or female as the only possibilities in the past has not served us well.

              香蕉视频app安卓More recently, it has become easier for those who are not purely one or the other to live as who they are. Sometimes this is through lifestyle choices, such as female hockey players or male nurses. Others go through a physical gender reassignment process.

              香蕉视频app安卓Our early sacred texts such as the Talmud, and traditions such as First Nations culture, show us how to recognize and

              香蕉视频app安卓Recent arguments from faith groups against the integration of all genders into our communities are in fact, not supported by a close reading of the original language of the Bible from which they claim as their evidence. And worse, they contribute to the incitement of violence against LGBTQ people, .

              Our faith heritages, in trust, recognize and integrate the variety of genders into our communities. We must not use them as means to . Let us applaud and join with the . Join them in affirming that our faith traditions and sacred texts do indeed provide a framework for safe, inclusive and holy communities.

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              About the Author: Chaplain Susan J. Katz, MA, Spiritual Health Practitioner, Musician

              Susan is a hospital Chaplain providing secular as well as faith-based services to people of all genders and abilities. She has served in care homes, correctional facilities, urban health and addictions treatment centres in both the United States and Canada. Susan lives in Vancouver, Canada, and is a Professional Member of the Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, and an Associate Member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Susan’s writing and music can be found on her Web/Blog:

              About the Author: Chaplain Susan J. Katz, MA, Spiritual Health Practitioner, Musician - See more at: http://zi-1.com/blog/236#sthash.1COfKCzU.dpufSusan is a hospital Chaplain providing secular as well as faith-based services to people of all genders and abilities. She has served in care homes, correctional facilities, urban health and addictions treatment centres in both the United States and Canada. Susan lives in Vancouver, Canada, and is a Professional Member of the Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, and an Associate Member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Susan’s writing and music can be found on her Web/Blog:

               

               

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