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    Adam as male & female – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. B’reshit 5:2 says that “Male and female He created them… and called their name Adam”. What does this mean?

    A. One rabbi said this meant that He made Adam bi-sexual (a hermaphrodite).

    Another rabbi read the verse as saying that He made Adam double-faced, male on one side and female on the other, and split him into two separate beings (B’reshit Rabbah 8:1).

    The first view reflects the idea that man being made “in the image of God” had no distinct sexual identity. God was the source of love, both fatherly and motherly love intertwined.

    The second view suggests that there are two separate male and female identities; man symbolising power and conquest whilst woman is associated with growth and development.

    In the first view, man and woman are essentially one. The human being, like God, is a fusion of din (justice) and rachamim (compassion).

    In the second view the two genders are essentially different. But each one needs the other.

    United in marriage, man and woman combine to become a balanced partnership.

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