The Matronit/Maggid

Daughter Heh is equated with the Matronit and the Maggid, and is an aspect of the Shekhinah. She represents compassion and justice. She is also a protector against aggression. She is perceived to be both amorous in Her lovemaking with Son Vau and fierce as a warrior against evil. In the popular view of the 15th-18th centuries, She was a discrete Goddess and Her attributes were very similar to Blessed Mother Mary in Christianity. In Her fierce aspect, She is the chaotic and destructive Lilith.

During the period of exile, the Matronit-Shekhinah was the central link between the Divine and human. She identifies Herself with humanity and is Mother Zion, the Mother of Israel. She is directly concerned with the welfare of people, and can be approached at any time, any place. She is particularly fond of the wise and those who perform good deeds.

As Queen of the Sabbath, the Matronit-Shekhinah personifies the Sabbath. She was mentioned in Talmudic literature as early as the 2nd century CE: "Rabbi Hanina used to wrap himself [in festive clothes] towards evening on Friday and say: 'Come, let us go to receive Sabbath the Queen.'" Likewise, the 13th Century Zohar, provided instructions on how to receive Her: "[O]ne must sing and rejoice at the table in Her honor....One must receive the Lady with many lighted candles, many enjoyments, beautiful clothes, and a house embellished with many fine appointments...." Pious Jews would also honor Her with sacred union between husband and wife.

As the Maggid, the Matronit-Shekhinah is believed to have communicated verbally to humankind. Kabbalists claimed to have had auditory experience of the Maggid both in dreams and while awake. Joseph Caro (1488-1575), the renowned Jewish scholar who codified the currently authoritative Jewish law, was also a Kabbalist. He ascribed his wisdom to life-long communications with the Maggid. Caro recorded their conversations in a secret diary. He noted that She said of Herself: "I am the Mother who chastises Her children, I am She who is called Matronit...."

As the Maggid, the Matronit-Shekhinah has also appeared visually. In a Palestinian Midrash dating from the 7th century, Jeremiah [who rebuked the people for honoring the Queen of Heaven] is confronted by the Maggid, who he fails to recognize:

"Jeremiah said: When I went up to Jerusalem, I looked up and saw a woman sitting on top of the mountain, clad in black, her hair disheveled, crying and hoping someone would comfort her. And I too was crying and hoping someone would comfort me. I approached her and spoke to her and said to her: 'If you are a woman, speak to me, and if you are a spirit get away from me!' She responded and said to me: 'Don't you recognize Me?' ... I answered and said to her: 'You are not better than my Mother Zion, who has become a grazing ground for the beasts of the field.' She answered and said to me: 'I am your Mother Zion.'"

[Primary Source: R. Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (1990). See also C. Matthews, Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom (1991); T. Schipflinger, Sophia-Maria (1998); G. Scholem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead (1991); G. Scholem, Kabbalah (1974); G. Scholem, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism (1965).]