On the Wings of Shekhinah takes readers on a guided walk through Jewish history and scripture, revealing along the way the feminine face of God, Shekhinah, a mystical figure that can be found in many traditional world religions but one who, until now, has merely been alluded to by the sages and patriarchal societies. Rabbi Novick draws from the elements of the natural world, starting with the Torah and the many legends that emphasize the presence of the Shekhinah. She then discusses the Talmud and the ethical nature of the human relationship with the Divine Presence, who appears in the context of positive human activities such as study, prayer, and charity. From Israel and the Middle East, where these concepts originated, to medieval Germany where the early Jewish “Pietists” held a more abstract vision of Shekhinah as light and prayer, Novick continues through the evolution of the Divine Feminine by introducing readers to the Zohar—the most engendered version of the divine feminine energy—and the Kabbalists of 13th and 14th century Spain, as well as the 16th century teachings of the Lurianic circle in Northern Israel, who developed the prayer practices for receiving the Shekhinah as “Shabbos Queen.” Female and feminist readers alike will perhaps appreciate this text the most when they reach the latter half of the 20th century when women emerged to lead their communities towards a better life; a life of more equity as the world began to allow the entry of the divine feminine energy. We see evidence of this today in the generations of women rabbis and cantors, musicians and dancers, all leading the world to embrace the Divine Mother. On the Wings of Shekhinah will provide lay readers with an understanding of how the Jewish sages of each cultural era envisioned the Divine Feminine, and how those insights provide the direct linkage with the understanding of the Goddess in other faith traditions. In that regard, it will help make Judaism more accessible for those on Eastern and Native American paths. It may also provide a healing framework for those of Christian or Jewish background who rejected their religion of origin based on the perceived, stringent gender roles.
On the Wings of Shekhinah: Rediscovering Judaism's Divine Feminine
- Rabbi Leah Novick