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Renee posted a question that got zapped by a bug before reaching the boards. She heard a disagreement about whether Hashem has "male" and "female" traits. Of course, this doesn't mean Hashem has a gender but rather he has some traits of either genders. She wanted to know if this is true.

Here's your answer, Renee:

Hashem has zero traits. He is "kulo pushut", meaning "ultimately simple". There is no part of Him that is different than any other part -- in fact, there are no parts at all! He is all One. So as far as Hashem's character, kav'yochol, or His qualities, the answer is no.

However, there is male and female adjectives that we attribute to certain modus operandi (ways of action) that Hashem chooses to employ at different times. But this is not gender-related. "Male" in this sense means "active" and "female", passive, or reactive. It has nothing to do with gender. Sometimes Hashem interacts proactively in the world and sometimes He responds or is passive. There is always a plan to when He uses which mode of operation. Those plans are called the "active" and "passive" methods of Hashem -- sometimes oversimplified and referred to as "attributes."

Male in Hebrew (and English, too, incidentally - consult your local electrician on this) is a general, gender-neutral phrase for the active half of a active/passive duo; female is the same for the recipient in said duo.

So no, Hashem does not have male or female attributes or characteristics. Such mistakes often come from misunderstood readings or translations of Kabbalah texts. This is one of the reasons why only advanced Torah scholars should study such works.

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