Yichud Rachel and Leah: Same-Sex Kabbalistic/Poetic Hermeneutics

Nitsa Kann


The kabbalistic literature contains erotic descriptions of the unification between the masculine and the feminine aspects of God. This article introduces another significant unification -- same-sex relationship between the feminine aspects of God, sefirat Shekhinah and sefirat Binah. It focuses on the relationships between mother and daughter, sisters, and lovers in the Zohar and in Hebrew poems by Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934) and Zelda (Shneurson Mishkowsky, 1914-1984). According to the Zohar, the Shekhinah, as the divine archetype of eternal womanhood, is actually embodied in the particular personalities of the mortal woman. This intriguing notion from a feminist perspective reveals a more complex model for the relationship between a female mystic/poet and the Shekhinah.

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