Male Highs and Lows

“No questions are out of bounds,” I explained to the awkward-looking young man who approached me.  “Nothing in the entire spectrum of human experience falls outside the purview of ancient Jewish wisdom or beyond the Torah upon which it is based.  Go ahead and tell me what is worrying you,” I assured him.

He shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other and with his face betraying inner embarrassment, he finally blurted out his question.  “Why did God create men to both urinate and reproduce through the same bodily orifice whereas with women it’s different?”  I had to stop myself from smiling.  Having finally got this conundrum off his chest, he looked like he couldn’t decide whether to feel relief or a desire to flee.

“That is a wonderful question and a very important one,” I told him.  At this point, all panic vanished from his face.  I then told him the answer and added that I would be writing about it in a future Thought Tool for everyone else who had thought of the question but lacked his courage to ask it.  Trent, this one is for you!

Obviously this reflects a significant difference between God’s vision for men and His vision for women.  Knowing that God created visible physical aspects to our bodies that reflect our deepest spiritual realities assures us that our search for truth will bear fruit.  A good place to start our quest is early in Genesis where we can examine the differences between how God created man and how He created woman. 

And God said, “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness…
(Genesis 1:26)

The unique wording of this verse raises the question of why God said, “Let us…”   Who is the ‘us’?  Why didn’t God use that formulation of “Let us make…,” for fish (Genesis 1:20) or for animals? (Genesis 1:24)  What is more, God did not even use that formulation of “Let us make…,” for woman. 

Before we determine who the “us” is, let’s see another crucial distinction between the creation of man and woman.  Man was created from the very lowest substance, the dust of the earth, while woman was created from a far higher ingredient, the body of man.

And the Lord God formed the man out of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life…
(Genesis 2:7)

And the Lord God built the side that He had taken from man into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 
(Genesis 2:22)

Though man was created from a lowly ingredient, he was also given the soul of life directly from God.

We’re now able to grasp ancient Jewish wisdom’s explanation of the ‘us’.  There is a plurality in man’s creation alluded to by God’s use of plural language.  God is explaining that man is to be a composite of the very highest and the very lowest—the dust of the earth and the directly God-given soul of life.

From that day to this, men are generally capable of sinking to far lower depths than women.  Conversely, they are also capable of rising to loftier heights.  One area in which this timeless truth finds physical expression is in size differences between men and women.  Remembering that details of our bodies reflect details of our souls, it is relevant that men’s bodies run a wider range of size than women.  For instance, women’s hat shops need stock only a few sizes.  Men’s hatters, of which I patronize a few, need to stock an enormous range from 6 ¾ all the way to 8 in about eleven steps.  Women’s hat sizes, however, never range more than five steps. Most women’s hat stores keep one-size-fits-all, a strategy that could never work for men.

The same pattern is revealed in there being many very short men and also large numbers of very tall men.  Again, the range is wide.  Most women cluster around the mean, right there in the average zone while men occupy the outlier positions of very short and very tall.  Very tall for women is in the range 5’10”—6’ like tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams or First Lady Michelle Obama.  Very tall for men is 6’ 6” or more, like basketball star LeBron James.

While far more controversial than height size, objectively measured raw intelligence as revealed by standardized tests such as the Wechsler Scale or the Standford-Binet repeatedly confirm that women’s IQ tends to be closer to the mean than men’s.  Among the least intelligent Americans, you will find a majority of men.  However the same is true at the other end of the spectrum.  Among super-high-IQ individuals, there will also be more men than women.  Many people whose guiding philosophical principle is ‘equality’ reject these findings as sexist and automatically label these tests as invalid.  This makes as much sense as invalidating any test that reveals the true statistic that there are many more than ten times the number of blacks playing for the National Football League than Jews.

Finally, the same is true on the virtue/vice scale.  Men commit by far the majority of brutal, violent crime.  Though I know this is a controversial claim to make, I think I can prove that men are also more likely than women to do grand acts of self-sacrifice.  Several countries that allow women in combat have discovered the inconvenient truth that men are more likely to sacrifice their lives in combat in order to save their comrades.  Women’s self-sacrifice tends to the particular—bearing and raising the next generation.

The answer to the question which young Trent asked me is that the male organ, the essence of masculinity, in itself discloses the dual essence of men.  We’re capable of enormous goodness and greatness. Goodness way off the far side of the scale.  However, at the opposite extreme, we are also capable of wasting our lives, represented by the excretion of waste-water.  This choice is represented by the capacity to reproduce and eliminate from the same orifice. In general, fewer women are willing to jeopardize all that makes life joyfully tranquil by seizing dreams and accepting the risks necessary for extreme achievement.  Similarly, far fewer women than men waste their lives destroying others and themselves.

Understanding this God-designed difference between the sexes helps women penetrate the souls of men, and comprehend the strange compulsions that drive them.  And for men, it is vital to realize that our drive to extremes (think sports, ambition, sensuality, etc.) can both elevate us and also slam us down into the very pit of irretrievable hopelessness.  Forewarned is forearmed. 

24 thoughts on “Male Highs and Lows”

  1. In His modesty, God took counsel with the angels, before the creation of the world, regarding His intention of making man. 
    God in His wisdom having resolved to create man, He asked counsel of all around Him before He proceeded to execute His purpose–an example to man, be he never so great and distinguished, not to scorn the advice of the humble and lowly. First God called upon heaven and earth, then upon all other things He had created, and last upon the angels.

  2. Thankyou Rabbi
    Your thoughts on ancient hebrew text are very interesting in answering the question of that person. Truely God created us fearfully and wonderfully, or intricately and intimately.
    Science does confirm this yet the fact remains that “in his image and likeness” is revealed by revelation.

  3. I just want to say thank you for being my rabbi…. I have been a Trent a very long time. I have learnt and continue to learn a lot from you. I have followed you for over two years now. What you teach is very important to me, partly due to where I was born and raised and the stark reality of what stares at us as people.

  4. Rabbi Lapin , so far you have not failed to amaze me with insight as to Jewish and or biblical wisdom of the ages of all topics, maybe this is what Solomon ment when he said there is nothing new under the sun ?

  5. Good afternoon, first time responding but a very longtime follower. Absolutely an excellent article!!
    Wow, I’ve been thinking about how lots of blacks and certain religious thoughts or lack of, leaves me feeling a intense longing for more. Thank you so much!
    I once heard that the “Rib” of Adam, has lots to do with the DNA rib of genetics. Of course I understand all creation has DNA,RNA,etc…
    Thanks for being our Rabbi
    Nina S.

  6. Dear Rabbi;

    It’s interesting that our boredom brings criticism. Then again each may have a valid perspective, but I thought that’s why we NEED A RABBI!

    Thank you for deciding to post this question and answer. I delighted in both.

    I too have a perspective and that is…the ‘Us’ in God represents both male and female and seed or descendants. These parts would represent family functions of our God and not to suggest that God is actually female also. I respect your wisdom that man was created from ‘the very lowest substance’ but isn’t the word ‘man’ here not ‘Ish’ but rather ‘mankind’ or ‘enosh’? If yes, I conclude that mankind included both male and female functions, God created them, and then God separated the two after Adam could not find a proper helpmate. I am thankful for your understanding that woman ‘was created from a higher substance’. I [tend] to see her as an integer; a subpart ‘isha’ of ish obviously taken from man’s side where she would be seen as a joint not an equal. Wherefore together they produce sons (and daughters).

  7. Thank you Rabbi Lapin for this perspective. I had never considered the range of bringing a man out of dust vs a woman out of the man. This would explain the propensity for such highs and lows that we see in society and throughout history.


    How refreshing to be free of political correctness! Though I have to say that some of the comments display a certain ‘bias’ (not that this is wrong I don’t suppose?) but you are nonetheless a brave man Rabbi Lapin! I do love Jewish Wisdom… really makes you ‘think’! Thank you

  9. Neweverymoment, Deb:
    What fascinating insight! Thanks, Rabbi (and I suspect Susan is lurking just offstage).
    I am astonished at the number of criticisms it has attracted. In the immortal words of Mrs. Malaprop, “Comparisons are odorous!” So men have typically a wider range of varieties: Vive la difference! One always has to deal with the sample standing before one, exceptional or not.
    With most of us under some degree of house arrest, now is the perfect time to ponder these things. It’s eerie how today’s situations reflect similar situations from the Hebrew (Old) Testament.

  10. Thank you Rabbi ~
    Very insightful. Going to read “Feisty and Feminine” by Penny Nance to learn more about God’s beautiful creation = women.

  11. Thank you, Rabbi Lapin, for the justice you have done to this question. This is the first time I am seeing this kind of perspective from the bible. There are indeed a lot of things that I yet do not know. One of the issues I will like you to address is the issue of Longevity. Why do people who lived on the same planet as we during the Jewish bible days lived up to 900 years with limited advancement in medicine and why are we not able to do the same today? Are we a different kind of human species or is there something we are doing that is reducing our own lifespan? It would be great to hear your perspective, Rabbi.

  12. Hi Rabbi Lapin, could the “Us” referred to in Genesis 1:26 be the sons of God mentioned in Job 38:7? I would love to get your perspective on this.

  13. What an unexpected yet out-of-the-ballpark Thought Tool! I have heard again and again from pious Christian sources how men are God’s ‘favorites,’ because they are capable of so much insight and vision and the extra oomph toward competition that testosterone provides. Yet I concur with the observation that male potentiality is a sword with two edges. A great example might be the Hebrew Samson, first a hero, then an antihero in his fall, and finally a hero again to catalyze the downfall of the Philistines. I wondered again and again even as a child on mother’s knee if he were an example and a parable of male potentiality, as well as a warning of the perils of its misuse.

  14. I believe that when God said “Let Us Make Man in Our image”, he was speaking of the image of God and his own son. “Our” represents the Father and the His only Son”
    Human understanding cannot under why God created the male organ to do both jobs referred to in the question, we just know that is how God did it. Perhaps a medical or scientific answer is available. I do not believe that you provided an answer to the questioner.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Evelyn–
      Thanks for writing. Twice in your letter you wrote, “I believe” and obviously belief can never be challenged. And neither would I have any desire to challenge your belief. What I wrote, in fact all I ever write, is how ancient Jewish wisdom explains the original Hebrew text.
      That we cannot know with any certainty why God did anything is true, I believe. However, I also believe that He created the physical qualities of male and female in order to echo the fundamental spiritual truths within each. Furthermore, I believe that He wants us constantly to be trying to understand His whys. An answer to why the male organ contains two functions, I certainly did provide. What you mean is that you don’t believe that I provided the answer.

  15. You lost me on this one. This thought pattern was so mixed up and a real stretch. Wisdom?, not this time. The plurality in genesis can be easily understood, just ask your Christian friends.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Nancy–
      I teach ancient JEWISH wisdom. That there are Christian, atheistic, academic, and other views of what various Bible verses mean is a given. What I present is for readers to absorb and evaluate in the context of their own life experience. But as to why you feel my thought pattern ‘was so mixed up’ puzzles me. Still, there’s no rule that I must never be puzzled.

  16. I perplexed with the Jewish wisdom that derives such conclusions from the sex organ. That seems bizarre. However, I give a standing ovation for highlighting the differences of the genders. But you missed the mark in your assessment for the woman’s ability for off-the-charts achievement and sacrifice regarding child bearing and nurturing. Certainly they may not be as prone to take a bullet in war but their domestic achievements and sacrifices are NOT any less off-the-charts heroic!

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Mike–
      Do we really need to patronize women by reassuring them that we value their role in child bearing and nurturing? Really? As you must know if you read “Male Highs and Lows” my point was not to deny your assertion. My point was that the range of almost everything for men was wider than for women. The tallest men are far taller than the tallest women and the shortest men are shorter than the shortest women. The stupidest of men are far stupider than any woman at that end of the spectrum and those at the highest end of IQ are men too, even though they are often not able to function at a normal human level. That is why almost all chess masters are men. Most venal and violent acts are perpetrated by men but also most acts of physical self sacrifice are men too. I wrote of extremes and didn’t in any way suggest that I was devaluing child bearing and nurturing. Just wanted to clarify this for you, Mike.

      1. Jonathan BozBeckian

        Hello Rabbi Lapin,
        Your wisdom, knowledge and insight into the Old Testament is incredible and has helped me understand God more. Believe it or not, everything in the OT has a counterpart in the New Testament. The Old Testament helps a person understand the NT and vice versa. For instance the Book of DANIEL unlocks the meaning and understanding of the last book of the Bible – REVELATIONS.
        The fundamental MEANING and even DESTINY OF MAN of the verse Genesis 1:26 “Let US make man in our LIKENESS” is clarified somewhat in Psalm 82:6 and becomes clearer in NT: the first chapter of John which says who is the other part of the us , is. (He will be a direct descendent of King David). What is God up to when you continue to look into the profound meaning of Genesis 1:26 is
        Somewhat clarified by Psalm 82:6.
        The other person of the “US “in Genesis 1:26 is revealed in the NT in the First Chapter of John.
        Finally what God is up to and man’s destiny, which also relates to Genesis 1:26 is found in ROMANS (NT) 8:19-23).
        Since Angels have a free will, the Lord can not be absolutely sure they will not rebel against Him in the future. Since God is perfect in all of his ways, he wants to reproduce himself with beings that will never rebel against him again and will inherit the universe with him and the Messiah(the other part of Us). We are really “embrios in waiting”. The earth is our training ground to develop character , discipline, patience and virtue. Trying times can develop character as well blessings. We have tests to pass in this life as humans.
        We have so much to live for and and great future to look forward to if we trust God and hold his hand.
        (This is the FIRST TIME I find myself disagreeing with you. and I am a regular reader, listener and supporter of your organization.)
        Keep up the excellent work. You make my walk with God so much more inspiring and enjoyable.
        Jonathan BozBeckian
        (The person you send thank you letters to for the last 2 years in appreciation of my support.)
        ‘ You need an 🇦🇲🇦🇲🇦🇲‘.
        😀😀😀🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱 (forever)🍷🍷🍷🎂🎂🎂🍎🍎🍎🍼🍼🍼🙋‍♂️🙋‍♂️🙋‍♂️☕️☕️☕️🎃🎃🎃

        1. Hi Jonathan. Your comment caught my attention though I found it too complex for me to grasp it all. I like how RDL can explain some things in simple ways.

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