Reform Judaism/Gender based prayer
Thank you for you service,
My wife and I are currently studying the book Aleph Isn't Enough (level 2) by Linda Motzkin (who I believe is Reform). On page 21 it gives 2 alternate prayers to HaShem for when men are not present. They use the female pronouns rather than the he/it of normal prayers and translate as: "...Who makes us holy with Her mitzvot..." We were told that while these are non-traditional they are appropriate and Torah consistent. I understand that the male pronouns can mean "he" or "it" while the female ones only refer to females. My question is, is it appropriate to use female pronouns when referring to HaShem when men are not present? I can not imagine this is correct however my wife and I really want to understand this more fully.
Thank you for the question.
I do not know if Linda Motzkin is Reform or even if she is/was Jewish.
I would never refer to God/Ha-Shem in the feminine pronoun. I do not believe that that usage is Torah consistent.
You might look at the following (from Wikipedia) and research the references in a Good Jewish Tanach:
Main article: Gender of God
The gender of God can be viewed as a literal or as an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in Classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form. In polytheistic religions, the gods are more likely to have literal sexual genders which would enable them to interact with each other, and even with humans, in a sexual way. In most monotheistic religions, there is no comparable being for God to relate to in a literal gender-based way. Thus, in Classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to feminine receptive) role in sexual intercourse.
God is usually characterised as male in Biblical sources, except: female in Genesis 1:26-27 (26 And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over thwas good.
כו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ; וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל-הָאָרֶץ, וּבְכָל-הָרֶמֶשׂ, הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל-הָאָרֶץ.)e cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (.'
כז וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ: זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, בָּרָא אֹתָם. 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them). Psalm 123:2-3, and Luke 15:8-10; a mother in Hosea 11:3-4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2; a mother eagle in Deuteronomy 32:11-12; and a mother hen in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34.
I wish you both well in your studies.