The annual Shavuot Tikkun always has interesting and enlightening study sessions. This year was no exception.
The keynote featured Yael Kanerek, one of the driving forces behind Toratah the regendered Torah.
I wrote about this huge project last fall when Genesis was revealed (See Toratah, Sept 30, 2021). Since then there have been weekly study sessions revealing more of the Toratah (her Torah).
What makes this project especially intriguing is that it is not just a grammatical challenge to change genders in a gendered language like Hebrew, but concepts must also be analyzed and made to fit into the context.
One of the examples that was used dealt with the Moses origin story where, as you might remember, Miriam, Moses’s sister, convinces the Egyptian princess to have the child’s own birth mother as a NURSE for Moses. In the regendered Toratah, Moses is now a female; the princess becomes a prince; and the NURSE is male. So the female baby is NURSED by a male. What does it mean to nurse a child? Is is merely the physical feeding, which women do but in this case, done by a man?
Toratah does not upend nature and biology. We are left to interpret NURSE to perhaps mean raise, inculcate values, care for, perhaps even parent.
This is both the genius and the challenge of Toratah – to make one think anew about the real meaning of Torah and not fall back on someone else’s thinking. Toratah gives us the freedom to use our intellect to interpret Torah for ourselves in our own time and make it our own.
For more on the project and a calendar of events visit Beit Toroth at https://www.beittoratah.org