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The idea that the Torah violates (sic) women’s rights (sic) is based on three mistakes, and is easily shown to be based on bias and influences of the secular world, as opposed to logic and honesty.

Mistake Number 1: There is nothing in the Torah that treats women in any negative way. The idea that there is, is based on a lack of understanding of Torah, and the Christian impression that righteous women being “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

Men wear Tefillin, women do not. Women must dress tzniusdik, men do not (at least not in the same manner as women). Yet there is no difference, holiness-wise, between what a man must wear – his Tefillin and Tzitzis – and what a woman must wear – long skirts and shatilach.

The assumption that Tefillin and Tzitzis are holy items that confer nobility on the wearer, but chaste clothing is a restriction designed to subjugate women is false. Both Tefillin and skirts are mere items of clothing, worn on the outside; and both are imbued with holiness. The only reason people think differently is because they are predisposed to the Christian idea of Tznius.

In Judaism, Tznius is grounded in the posuk in Tehillim: Kol kevuda bas melech penimah, which means that a Jewish woman is a princess, and is entitled and expected to be treated thusly. And just as the Queen of England cannot walk around the streets of Soho in jeans, so too can the Daughters of Hashem not be expected to appear in a manner unbefitting of their high stature.

Of course, the Yetzer Horah uses the secular mind-set to convince people that the Torah’s intentions are just the opposite of what they really are, no different from the blood libel that convinced people – and incidentally, it is coming back in certain circles in the American Midwest! – that Jews eat blood, which is absolutely forbidden to them.

This is the result of Jews who live Halachicly (sic) do not bother to inculcate themselves with the Jewish Hashkafos. If they would go beyond their narrow, pick-and-choose Judaism, this would not be a problem. If they would bother to understand the hashkafa behind Tznius, they would not have this problem. It is merely because they see the outer legalities of Tznius only, and they project what they see onto their own misbegotten Hashkofos that they put 1 and 1 together and make 4.

Tell them that the Torah is not only Halachah, that if they want to create their own religion that only includes “laws” without the ides behind them, or laws behind which are their own, man-made interpretations, that’s one thing. But don’t blame the Torah.

It’s like saying the Torah endorses idol worship. For doesn’t it say in the Torah “And you shall worship idols” (“v’avaditem elohim acheirim”)? Of course it does! But you need to look at what surrounds those words and just the opposite idea emerges: “And if you do not follow these laws, you will veer away from the Path, and you shall worship idols”!

So, too, it’s not enough just to look at the Halachah, and it is not enough just to live Halachicly. The Torah also has its Hashkafos, and without them, the whole Torah is twisted into just the opposite of what it really is.

Another example: Women cannot get aliyos in Shul, they cannot perform synagogue services, and they cannot even be seen by the men. This bothers some under-Hashkafizcized people, for no good reason. Here, too, the concept of synagogue life has been secularized, just as has Tznius, and foreign Hashkafos have been projected onto the Halachos of the Bais Hakneses.

The center of Torah life takes place not in the synagogue but at home. It used to be, that the home was the hustle and bustle of Jewish living, and the synagogue, often not more than a “shteeble” was a place where men went to discharge their obligation to pray with a minyan, and to hear a class.

No women were desirous or resentful of that, because the synagogue was not the royal representative of Jewish life. The home was. The home, where the bringing up of our children takes place, where our holy traditions are handed down to the next generation, where the Shabbos table radiates every week with a light that outshines ten thousand suns.

Where the next generation of Talmidei Chachamim are fed, clothed, bathed, and taught that Hashem loves them so much that even while they sleep, Hashem “stands beside” their beds watching over them, and so they say “Shema” and “Hamapil” every night right after they get tucked in. And they are taught that even when they wake up, Hashem is there, eagerly awaiting their beautiful brachos and bentching, and so they say “Modeh Ani” as soon as they open their eyes.

The home is the place where the heart of Jewish life throbs. And there, the Jewish woman reigns supreme. While her husband is out making a living, she is running the holiest sanctuary in the world. There was no way that she would be envious of her man’s trips every morning and evening out of the home-sanctuary to the shtieble to fulfill his personal obligations to pray with a quorum of 9 other men.

But that changed. The secularization of Judaism and the weakening of Jewish homes in many circles have transferred the center of Jewish life to the synagogue.

What once was – and still is, in more Hashkafically aware Jewish circles – the Holy of Holies of Judaism has become a place where newspapers, novels, televisions, and radios are the primary sources of entertainment; where the more a woman can “get out” to “do something” such as sit in a movie theater, the more of a “life” she thinks she has. Where taking care of children is considered merely a necessity and an obligation – albeit a labor of love – instead of the ultimate Avodas Hashem.

The homes today have been transformed by the secular mind-set, to the point where the center of Jewish life has become the synagogue, and anyone who cannot equally participate in its programs is someone who cannot equally be part of Judaism.

Here, too, “Halachic Judaism” is an obstacle to Torah life, for nowhere in Halachah does it say your home must be a Holy of Holies, and it is merely (sic) a Hashkafa that deems the Jewish home the center of Jewish life.

But it is the Torah’s Hashkafa. And if you would like to replace it with your own Hashkafa, don’t blame the Torah for the inadequacies of your own monster-religion created by your picking and choosing what parts of Jewish Theology you would like to live with.

No woman in her right mind, who understands Torah Hashkafa, would ever feel that her “rights” are being violated.

That’s mistake number 1.

Mistake number 2: The whole idea of some people being treated inferior only makes sense if Hashem created men and women, and then decided how he is going to treat them. “If this person is a woman”, He would say to Himself, “I will treat her worse than I treat the man”. But it makes no sense if you understand things the way they are, namely, that Hashem could have made every woman a man. Every Rachel Rosenberg could have been a Robert Rosenberg; every Leah could have been a Larry; every Jennifer a Joseph.

When Hashem creates a person, He looks at a generic, asexual, formless and indistinguishable Neshoma, and says, “What shall this souls’ life consist of?”

So Hashem peers into the core personality of this Neshoma, not the parts that He adds, but the parts that a person makes of himself, and He then decides what the best world-situation would be for this generic soul-stuff.

“Well”, Hashem may say, “This person should have the opportunity to give a lot of charity, as well as the temptation not to give it. That is a good thing for this particular person.”
So Hashem will make him wealthy, but also miserly.

“It would be good for this person to search for Judaism on his own. He would be willing to do that, and he can be successful”. So Hashem makes him born to a non-religious family.

Every single detail of a person’s life (except of course whether he will be a Tzadik or Rasha) is determined before he is born; every temptation, trial and tribulation that he will encounter in the world, is calculated with precision accuracy by Hashem. And the human being IS CUSTOM DESIGNED TO BEST PERFORM THE PARTICULAR NISYONOS THAT HASHEM DEEMS BEST FOR HIM.

“I want this person to have a nisayon to defend a certain fellow Jew on this-and-this day and this-and-this place, from an anti-Semitic bully”.
So Hashem will give him muscles to be able to do it.

“Do I want this person to be a Talimd Chacham? Do I want this person to bring up children? Do I want this person to learn Gemora? Do I want this person to go through the pains of pregnancy? Do I want this person to go to a Bais Yaakov of a yeshiva?”

If “this” is what I want, says Hashem, I will therefore make her a female. If on the other hand, “this” is what I want, he will be a male.

Hashem knows before he creates everyone what the specific Halachos in Shulchan Aruch are for males and females. And Kohanim, and Leviim, and Yisroelim.

And so based on what Hashem decides is best for the particular person, that’s how he shall be created.

It makes no more sense to complain that Hashem treats women worse than men than it does to complain that Hashem treats any human being better or worse than another. If someone is poor, we all know that that’s the will of Hashem. If someone lives during the depression, would anyone think he has the right to complain to G-d that he is being treated unfairly?
If someone is born without an arm, can we say G-d is unfair?

Obviously, we know that G-d has His reasons for giving everyone their lot in life, and if G-d gives me my lot, I know its best for me. It does not mean that G-d values someone else more because He “treated them better.”

So it is not that G-d said “You’re a woman, therefore you cannot lead synagogue services.” Rather, G-d said, “I do not want leading the synagogue services to be your lot in life. Therefore I will make you a woman.”

If we accept that G-d created everyone in the exact fashion that He wanted, not because c”v he was forced to, it is impossible to ask such a question.

We can prove that this question is the result of secular influences and not honest thinking simply by asking the question why it bothers them that G-d treats women worse than men, but it does not bother them that G-d treats poor people worse than the rich/ Unintelligent people worse than the intelligent?

People born in Bangladesh worse than people born in America? Whatever answer they have for those question also applies to the way Hashem treats women as opposed to men.

Mistake #3: Who decides what “rights” anyone has anyway? And what do “rights” have to do with the fact that exercising some of those “rights” may not be good for you? The Torah proscribes what is bad for your soul. It does not force you to fulfill it.

Therefore, it does not remove any “rights”. If I say that smoking is bad for your health, I am not depriving you of your “right” to smoke, and if I say wearing pants is bad for your soul I am not depriving you of that “right” (sic). Here, too, we see that the question is based on the assumption that The Torah is not the true word of G-d. Once we establish that the Torah came from Hashem, we certainly understand that revelation of what is detrimental to your soul is not a contradiction to what you perceive as your “human rights”.

I have a question, though, for your friend. The way she is looking at this, are women’s rights the only “rights” that the Torah takes away/ how about freedom of religion? Isn’t that a basic human right? Certainly the Torah does not allow us to practice whatever religion we want. Can we say, “The Torah takes away our right to freedom of Religion”? Can we say it takes away our right to eat what we want? To do what we want, as long as we do not harm others?

The Torah, all of it, reveals things that you cannot do. Of all the “rights” that she possesses, that the Torah does not allow her to “exercise”, why is women’s “rights” the only thing that bothers her?

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