Adonai (meaning: “the lord,”) is a god of many names, attributes, and titles but is in fact one god, the God of the Jewish people. Adonai, YHWH, Heshem, Tetragramaton, Shemhamforas, and countless other names and titles have been attributed to G-D from Judaism and the Kabbalah. This one god of many names (per attributes and titles) is even evident in one of the most sacred prayers of the Jewish people, the Sh’ma prayer which starts;
Sh’ma Yisra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One
Baruch Shayim K’vod Ma-l’chutoh L’o-lahm Va-ed
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.
Jews wrestle with G-D, that is that we struggle to understand it, as well as struggle to apply its lessons, and we struggle to understand G-D in times of great fear, sorrow, and grief. It is because of this, that every Jew shares the same G-D, but see’s it in a different way, through their own understanding, perceptions, and transformed through a Jewish lens. Therefore I must state that this work, at this point in my studies and what I’ve absorbed and believe, is my view of Adonai, and my view alone. While some of my views are shared, as a whole, that is with each of these sections on G-D that I discuss, these are inherently my own.
When I talk in the context of G-D, I don’t believe it is female or male, G-D to me encompasses both feminine and masculine qualities, as is evident throughout the Tanakh and in the fact of the following portion of the Torah;
(כו) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כז) וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃
(26) And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.” (27) And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
If both men and women are created equally in the image of G-D, then we can ascertain that G-D itself is both male and female and that our equality as such, is entirely implied therein. G-D is shown in numerous portions of the Torah to be loving, kind, nurturing, and motherly and in other portions stern, punishing, lesson teaching, and fatherly. I do not call G-D “it,” out of disrespect, but out of lack of proper words to define what G-D is. I find that words, much like idols, often shrink and demean the wholeness of what G-D is and while putting it into a context easy for humans to digest, often takes away from and dilutes the whole of what G-D is. In our infinitesimal minds, we cannot hope to fully and entirely grasp the infinite of the world in which we live or of existence as it stands, let alone the immeasurable nature of the G-D which birthed it.
G-D is not a thing, it is not tangible, it is not a he or she (in the Torah, created within a patriarchal ancient society they used “He,”) and so “it,” is the closest I can possibly come to the descriptor of G-D. G-D is “it,” so when I say something like “G-D in its infinite wisdom,” I do not mean it disrespectfully and in fact, I mean it with the utmost respect to G-D being neither wholly male nor wholly female. That is the first of my understandings of Adonai I have gleaned.
Adonai is infinite in scope, it is not an invisible man in the sky, long of beard, sitting on a throne judging us. God is everywhere, in everything, within everyone; it is nature and the laws which govern nature, it is within the eyes of a loved one, G-D is the smile of someone helping another living being. G-D is within the rains that nurture crops, the cool breeze on a hot summer day, the waters which cleanse and nurture all things. G-D is the millions of stars in the night sky, the respite after something traumatic, the comforting of the one grieving after losing a loved one. G-D permeates and motivates all living things, it places and protects the soul and feeds it with the waters of life, sentience, and intellect.
Adonai is the healing of the sick, the comforting of the dying, and the blessing of new life. G-D is the joy of spending time with loved ones and family, it is the kindness of strangers and the feeling of contentment. Even during one’s darkest times, you can find glimmers of G-D, its hand outstretched to comfort and lead us to better days. G-D cannot be said to be invisible when it is everywhere and within everything, you just have to have eyes that see it. G-D cannot be delineated to the typical visage of the old bearded man on a throne, because that would directly dissolve the importance and true nature of what it is, reducing it to nothing more than an idol.