Torah: A Woman's Commentary, p.573
male without blemish. It is not clear what the animal's sex symbolizes. Nicole Ruane, who examines the sacrificial system with regard to the sex of its victims, concludes that the hightest level of holiness is symbolized in Leviticus by perfect masculinity. Femininity can express graduations away from the ideal (Sacrifice, Purity and Gender in Priestly Law).
Bekhorot 6:12…as quoted in Torah Queeries
By reason of the following blemishes firstborn animals may not be slaughtered either in the Temple or in the provinces: if it has white specks or rheum in the eye that are not lasting…or if it is a tumtum or an androginos; such may not be slaughtered either in the Temple of in the provinces. Rabbi Ishmael says: No blemish is greater than this. But the Sages say: It does not count as a firstborn animal but may be shorn and used for labor.”
According to Classical Jewish teachings, there are 6 genders
- Androgynos- both male and female characteristics
- Tumtum – neither male or female organs/appearance
- Saris – a eunich, by birth or human intervention, or person who was assigned male at birth but became feminized)
- Aylonit – assigned female at birth, barren, seems to resemble man
Bava Batra 140b:7-8
The mishna states that the males direct the tumtum to the females. The Gemara asks: Does this mean that they direct him, and he takes sustenance like a daughter? Isn’t it taught in the latter clause of the mishna that if one said that either his male or female child will receive a certain sum once his wife gives birth, and she gave birth to a tumtum, the tumtum does not receive anything? This indicates that the tumtum does not have the rights of a female. Abaye says: The mishna means that they direct him to the females, but he has no rights to sustenance.
And Rava says: They direct him to the females and he has a right to sustenance. And with regard to the latter clause of the mishna, which grants the tumtum nothing at all, there we arrive at the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, as it is taught in a mishna (Temura 24b): If one consecrates a firstborn animal while it is still a fetus, stating that if it is male it shall be a burnt-offering and if it is female it shall be a peace-offering, and the mother gave birth to a tumtum or a hermaphrodite [androginos], Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: It is not imbued with sanctity, as it is neither male nor female. So too, in the case discussed in the mishna here, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that the tumtum receives nothing, as he is considered to be a distinct entity of indeterminate sex, neither male nor female.
Mishnah Chagiga 1:1
All are obligated in seeing [the Temple Mount], except for a deaf-mute, a shoteh, or a minor; a Tumtum [person with recessed sexual organs whose gender is therefore impossible to determine, presently, by external examination. It is halachically uncertain whether such a person is male or female], an Androginos [person with both male and female sexual organs. It is halachically uncertain whether such a person is male, female or, perhaps, has a uniquely defined halachic gender.]; women, unfreed slaves; a lame person, a blind person, or a sick person; or an old person who cannot stand upon his feet.
Mishna Bikkurim Chapter 4
א אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס יֶשׁ בּוֹ דְרָכִים שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים, וְיֶשׁ בּוֹ דְרָכִים שָׁוֶה לַנָּשִׁים, וְיֶשׁ בּוֹ דְרָכִים
שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים וְנָשִׁים וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דְרָכִים אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים וְנָשִׁים
Mishnah 1: Androgynos is in some ways like men, and in some ways like women, and some ways like both men and women and in some ways neither like men nor women.
ַאַנְדּרוֹגִינוֹס, יֶשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים; וְיֶשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה לַנָּשִׁים; וְיֶשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים וְנָּשִׁים, וְיֶשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה לאַַלָאֲנָשִׁים וְלא לַנָּשִׁים
Mishnah 2: How is he (sic) like men? He becomes impure when he has a seminal discharge like men, and he dresses like men. He can take a wife, but he cannot be taken as a wife like men… He must not be alone in the company of women like men… And he must perform all the commands of the Torah like men.
כֵּיצַד שָׁוֶה לָאֲנָשִׁים? מְטַמֵּא בְּלֹבֶן כָּאֲנָשִׁים, וְזוֹקֵק לִיְבּוּם כַּאֲנָשִׁים וּמִתְעַטֵּף וּמִסְתַּפֵּר כַּאֲנָשִׁים, וְנוֹשֵֹא אֲבָל לא נִשָֹּׂא כָּאֲנָשִׁים, בְּכָל מִּצְוֹת הָאֲמוּרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה כָּאֲנָשִׁים
Mishnah 3: And how is he like women? He becomes impure when he has a menstrual flow like women, and he must not be alone in the company of men like women; and he does not share the inheritance with the sons like women… Like women, he is disqualified from acting as a witness.
כֵּיצַד שָׁוֶה לַנָּשִׁים? ממְטַמֵּא בְּאֹדֶם כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאֵינוֹ מִתְיַחֵד עִם הָאֲנָשִׁים כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאֵינוֹ זוֹקֵק לְיִבּוּם כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאֵינוֹ חוֹלֵק עִם הַבָּנִים כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאֵין
אוֹכֵל בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַמִּקְדָּשׁ כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאִמּוֹ יוֹשֶׁבֶת עָלָיו בְּדַם טָמֵא כַּנָּשִׁים, וּפָסוּל מִן הָעֵדוּת כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאִם נִבְעַלבַּעֲבֵרָה נִפְסַל מִן הַתְּרוּמָה כַּנָּשִׁים.
Mishnah 4: How is he like both men and women? Guilt is incurred for killing him or for cursing him, as in the case of men and women; one who unwittingly slays him must go into exile, and one who intentionally slays him receives the death penalty… He inherits in all cases of inheritance like both men and women.
ֵֵֵּּּכֵּיצַד שָׁוֶה לַאֲנָשִׁים וְלַנָּשִׁים: חַיָּבִים עַל מַכָּתוֹ וְעַל קִלְלָתוֹ כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְכַנָּשִׁים, וְהַהוֹרְגוֹ שׁוֹגֵג גּוֹלֶה וּמֵזִיד
נֶהֱרַג כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְנָשִׁים, וְיוֹשֶׁבֶת עָלָיו דָּם טָמֵא וְדָם
טָהוֹר כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְכַנָּשִׁים, וְחוֹלֵק בְּקָדְשֵׁי קֳדָשִׁים כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְכַנָּשִׁים, וְנוֹחֵל לְכָל הַנַחַלוֹת כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְכַנָּשִׁים, וְאִם אָמַר “הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה” הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר
Mishnah 5: And how is like neither men nor women? … He cannot be assigned a value (for the biblical Temple tax, because one amount is specified for men and another amount for women) unlike men or women; and he cannot be sold as a Hebrew slave, unlike men or women. If someone says, “I will become a Nazirite (take vows of asceticism) if he is neither a man nor a woman,” then he becomes a Nazirite.
כֵּיצַד אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה לֹא לַאֲנָשִׁים וְלֹא לַנָּשִׁים: אֵין חַיָּבִים לֹא עַל מַכָּתוֹ וְלֹא עַל קִלְלָתוֹ לֹא כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְלֹא כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאֵינוֹ נֶעֱרָךְ לֹא
כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְלֹא כַּנָּשִׁים, וְאִם אָמַר “הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה לֹא אִישׁ וְלֹא אִשָּׁה” אֵינוֹ נָזִיר. רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס בְּרִיָּה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ
הוּא וְלֹא יָכְלוּ חֲכָמִים לְהַכְרִיעַ עָלָיו אִם הוּא אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה. אֲבָל טֻמְטוּם אֵינוֹ כֵּן, פְּעָמִים שֶׁהוּא אִישׁ פְּעָמִים שֶׁהוּא אִשָּׁה
Rabbi Yose says: Androgynos is a creation of its own kind, and the sages could not decide if he was a man or a woman. But this is not the case for the tumtum sometimes a tumtum is a man, and sometimes a tumtum is a woman.
Rabbi Sarah Lev, How the Aylonit Got Her Sex
I posit that the ’aylonit essentially receives her sex/gender assignment from her parallel, the natural eunuch. I reach this conclusion by demonstrating that the aggregate simanim (signs) of the ’aylonit are chosen specifically for their sex/gender-crossing attributes, fitting neither any known modern condition nor any ancient condition. Given that in the legal material the rabbis do not, in fact, understand the ’aylonit as a sex/gender crosser, the list of attributes seems to emerge from nowhere. The answer to the riddle of its origin is to be found in the text describing the seris ḥammah (the congenital eunuch, whose description parallels that of the ’aylonit in many ways). That is, the simanim of the seris ḥammah also present him as a sex/gender crossover despite the lack of supporting halakhic literature. But whereas the ’aylonit has no ancient corollary in the Greek and Roman literature, the attributes of the seris ḥammah directly match those of the Roman eunuch, who does appear in many of the contemporaneous Christian and Roman materials as a sex/gender crosser. It would seem, then, that the seris ḥammah shares his sex/gender with the Roman eunuch, and the ’aylonit receives her sex/gender from her mirror image, the seris ḥammah .
Holding God Accountable for LGBT Marginalization by Noach Dzmura
We should hold God accountable for the errors of compulsory heterosexuality and the gender binary. These are not solely human errors, if God has anything at all to do with us....everything is God, what do we ask God to give us in reparation for Hir sin?
...I hear Hir making an offering for Hir redemption every time a community supports its LGBT members. God is adding one more small payment on the huge debt S/he has incurred every time a transgender person is acknowledged as belonging to the gender s/he claims. Every time a gay or lesbian couple in DC gets married. Every time a transgender child is allowed to dress in the clothing s/he chooses, God is doing tshuvah. S/he’s not off the hook yet, and S/he won’t be until every one of us is free, everywhere. S/he has a very long way to go. But I believe one day S/he will complete this tshuvah. And we must hold Hir to it by telling our stories, being out, living queer – and hence providing Hir with opportunities to move humans toward compassion.