Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 61

For the Shekhinah, patriarchy is like static that surrounds human beings, making her urgent summons inaudible and incomprehensible to those living within it. But unlike us, the Shekhinah has never had to live within patri- archy. She has never had to define herself in patriarchy’s terms, never been forced to accept patriarchy’s assumptions and roles or pun- ished for refusing or failing to do so. She lives outside patriarchy’s zero-sum binaries, a form of femaleness that has never been defined or circumscribed by anyone’s idea of maleness, because she has never consented to be less than all of who she is. “ In the world beyond patriarchy, maleness and femaleness will be recognized as two of many ways human beings can be human. ” To me, the Shekhinah represents the ever- present possibility and urgent necessity of life beyond patriarchy—a life in which identity, safety, status and vitality do not come at the ex- pense of others. As the source of infinite abun- dance, she gives the lie to patriarchy’s insis- tence that only some of us can be seen, loved, heard, valued, paid fairly, nurtured, mentored, admired, protected; that only some of us have power; that only some of us deserve and only some of us are capable of and responsible for promoting justice, kindness, mercy, blessing, tenderness, generosity, feeling, dignity, com- munity, and hope. In the Shekhinah’s light, patriarchy’s fears and fantasies fall away, and we realize—I realize—that life beyond patriar- chy, the life she represents, is already with us, summoning us to embrace it. VOL. 34, NO. 1 What will the world beyond patriarchy, the world in which the Shekhinah’s voice comes through loud and clear, be like? Because it is up to us to create that world together, no one, not even the Shekhinah, can presume to dictate its details. But in the light of the Shek- hinah, for whom the future is always present, its outlines are clear. In the world beyond patriarchy, maleness and femaleness will be recognized as two of many ways human beings can be human, just as maleness and femaleness are only two of many ways God can be God. In that world, no one will be greater than the least of us, and no one will be less than the great- est of us, and so even our basest, most selfish impulses will inspire us to lift one another up. In the world beyond patriarchy, we will see that individuality enriches community and com- munity enriches individuality, and that recog- nizing one another’s differences expands our understanding of what it means, and what it can mean, to be human. In that world, what is true of God will be true of humanity: our cen- ter will be everywhere, and our circumference nowhere, because each of us will be embraced as a center, someone for whose sake, as the Shekhinah will happily remind us, the universe was created. Fear not, I am the one who helps you... I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys... Isaiah 41:13, 18 “7 Empowering Life Lessons from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’” Emma Dibdin. Cosmopolitan. © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 61