Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: OT: Shekinah; some spoilers: was: THE DAVINCI CODE

From:Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Date:Sunday, June 8, 2003, 18:47
Since this thread seems to have infiltrated the list anyway, i might as
well submit my rambling notes on the subject as i sent them to Sally:


Well, i didn't read the book, but...

"Shekhina" is a feminine noun, so it would always be refered to in
feminine terms.  It's the fairly normal C'CîCâ pattern of verbal nouns in
the |qal/pa`al| paradigm - in this case, the verb is /Skn/ 'dwell', and
the noun is [S@xi:nO:] 'dwelling'.  (but not as in 'place of dwelling'
the way we'd use "dwelling" in English, that's |mishkan| with the /m-/
place prefix; it means 'Tabernacle').

But, i looked in two searchable online Hebrew Bibles, and i couldn't find
the word "Shekhina" using either of their search engines.  So it may be
just a post-biblical thing; in post-biblical Judaism it refers to 'God's
Presence', or the 'Manifestation of God's Presence'. So for instance the
pillar of fire and cloud that traveled with the Israelites in the
Wilderness is considered a representation of the Shekhina, meaning it
represents the fact that God was 'close' to the Israelites and was
'watching over them', and 'present' among them.

In the little i've heard and seen of Mystical literature, the Shekhina is
seen as the feminine 'aspect' of God;  the Qabbalists make a big deal of
the idea of "unifying the Holy One Blessed Is He, with His Presence (=the
Shekhina)".  In a Judaic Studies class i took in college (i just
graduated) about Hhasidism, we saw a quote from an early member of the
(Qabbalistically-based) Hhasidic sect who said something like 'swaying
motions during prayer is like having sex with the Shekhina' (this was
meant positively).

So the Shekhina is God's manifestation/presence, which can be in certain
places and times - God is 'everywhere', but may manifest his 'attention'
specifically; that presence is called the Shekhina.

The Qabbalists do see Y&H and V&H as expressing 'God' and the 'Shekhina';
the 'unification' of God and his Presence is also the unification of the

Commentary of the early medieval commentator Rashi (R. Shelomo Yitzhhaqi,
from France) on Exodus 17:16 - "[ jO:D 3al kes jO:h...]", 'the hand
of the Holy One Blessed Is He is raised in swearing by his throne that
there will be war and eternal hatred against `Amaleiq.  And what is
"[kes]", instead of "[kisse]" ('throne'), and even The Name (Y&H instead
of Y--H) is cut in half?  the HOBIH swore that his name will not be full
and his throne will not be full until the name of `Amaleiq will be fully
erased; and when it will be, both the name and the throne will be
This is based on the Midrash Tanhhuma, a Talmudic text.

I see no reason whatsoever to associate the second half (or any part) of
the Tetragrammaton with Eve ([HavvO:]).  Eve's name comes from the root
/Hjh/ "life", and the Tetragrammaton comes from the root /hjh/ "be,
exist".  Two completely separate roots; and according to biblical
scholars, the Tetragrammaton is a |yaCCêC| future/imperfect |hif`il|
(causative) paradigm form, meaning something like "the One Who Makes
[Other Things] Exist".  'Hhava', on the other hand, is an agentive noun
|CaC²âC| form according to the same pattern as [naggO:r] 'carpenter',
[gannO:v] 'theif', [mallO:H] 'sailor', etc.
(btw, both /hjh/ and /Hjh/ are 'empty' roots; the medial consonant shifts
between [j] and [v] depending on form).

What does he mean by saying that Eve is a 'pre-Hebraic' name?

Based on archeological evidence, when the Israelites wanted to pigeonhole
God as male and give him a female consort, they picked Asheira, a common
Cana`anite goddess.  I've never heard of any evidence for worship of Eve.

I remember hearing about a Hellenistic-period synagogue somewheres that
was discovered, and it had Greek-style artwork including a naked female
figure which was interpreted to be a representation of the Shekhina;  i
don't remember anything more about it, though.

-Stephen (Steg)
"there is darkness all around us;
  but if darkness *is*, and the darkness is of the forest,
  then the darkness must be good."
     ~ song of the BaMbuti in troubled times

On Sun, 8 Jun 2003 21:06:35 +1200 Wesley Parish
<wes.parish@...> writes:
> I was just thinking, the Prophet Jeremiah recorded several instances > of > arguing with some Jerusalem women who held him and his > uncompromising > monotheism responsible for all their woes, saying things like, "When > we > offered cakes to the Queen of Heaven, we were all right." > > And there is documentary proof in some papyri I have lost the info > on, where > the Jerusalem priesthood after the establishment of the Persian > Empire, > writing to a Temple set up by the Egyptian Jews, a temple to both > The Name > and Ashtorath, his consort. Or it may well have been El and > Ashtorath - as I > say, I only remember the central details. I haven't seen it in at > least ten > years. > > If so, the Shekinah being female, may well be the same sort of > phenomenon as > the Catholic/Orthodox veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary - once > the > goddess was banished from the hearth, she rebounded back among the > devotees > and the mystics. > > Only the Protestants and the Muslims appear to have been successful > in > banishing the goddess. But then the Protestants have lost out to > the > scientific movement, and the goddess seems to have reappeared in the > forms of > the various pre/post-Christian religious movements. How long the > Muslims'll > hold out for, I don't know, but I think the next few centuries'll > be > interesting. > > Wesley Parish > > On Sun, 08 Jun 2003 03:31, you wrote: > > The concept of the Shekinah as a powerful female being goes back > at least > > to the Kabalah, IIRC from reading Gershom Sholem > > -- > Mau e ki, "He aha te mea nui?" > You ask, "What is the most important thing?" > Maku e ki, "He tangata, he tangata, he tangata." > I reply, "It is people, it is people, it is people." > >