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Rabbi Rami: Should I Prostrate Myself to My Teacher

Question: My teacher insists we prostrate ourselves to the Father and to him. As a woman, I am all too aware of how women have been made to prostrate themselves to male gods and their male hierarchies, and I find myself resisting this practice. Am I missing something? Rabbi Rami: Let me be clear: The God I grew up with was made in my image (Genesis 1:26), was obsessed with my genitals (Genesis 17; Leviticus 21:20, 22:24; Deuteronomy 23:1), and privileged a hierarchy reflecting my likeness. That said, I am drawn to prostration practice, though I prostrate myself to the Mother rather than the Father. Stretched out on the ground, my body given to Mother Earth, my mind offered to Mother Wisdom, I feel like a cat curled up in a beloved’s lap, purring my mantra softly until surrendered at last to the infinite emptiness/fullness of Her. While I support your resistance to male gods and their male hierarchies, it may be that your teacher is the problem rather than this practice. I will be dead before year’s end. What I want to know is this: Will I survive my dying? When I pose the question to myself …

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Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has...

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