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WOMEN-----learning torah II

What does it mean that we can’t learn Gemara exactly-?

What are the boundaries of this Halacha?

We can’t hear a Gemara told over? We can’t learn with our father? We can’t learn by ourselves?

What’s the Halacha?

Anything that goes beyond the Halachos and Hashkofos that are relevant to your fulfillment of Torah is prohibited. Torah shebal peh is permitted to women on a "need to know" basis. It doesn’t matter who you’re learning with.

Re learning on your own, there is a Perishah that states that if a girl chooses to learn Torah on her own, that shows she is an exception to the average girl and therefore she may learn the Gemora.

In my opinion that Perishah cannot be applied to today's situation since the Perishah's reasoning was based on the fact that if a girl decides to learn Gemora it must be because she has an exceptional amount of Yiras Shamayim or commitment or whatever, that is no longer the case. In those days, why else would a woman want to learn Gemora in the first place? Women were happy in the role the Torah gave them, and besides, there is so much to learn within the parameters of relevant Halachos and Hashkofos that it would make no sense for a girl to learn Gemora. And also, since in those days it was not considered chic or stylish or even "normal" for girls to learn Gemora, a girl who decided to do it on her own would likely do nothing but raise eyebrows. In any case, for whatever reason, the Perishah observed that a girl who wants to learn Gemora has absolutely no possible motive except the fact that she is exceptionally committed to religion and for whatever reason, has established herself as an exception to the rule.

But today a girl learning Gemora is no longer an exception to the rule. And it no longer proves anything special about that girl. Today we have even Conservative and Reform women learning Gemora. The social observation upon which the Perishah made his statement is no longer the case today. So the Perishah would not apply.

The only possibility to apply the Perishah today would be if he means that the Gezeirah of Chazal not to teach girls Torah was never made against a girl learning on her own. If that is the case, then we would not be able to prohibit it today, even if the reason to prohibit would apply. We do not add to or make new Gezeiros.

However, even if that were so, and it is open-ended in the Perishah, a girl learning Gemora today even on her own would still be as if she were learning Tiflus, because that fact is independent of the prohibition of Chazal, and so long as you are not an exception to the rule (and nowadays we have no reason to believe you are) you are only hurting yourself and damaging your soul by learning Gemora.

But in any case, teaching Gemora to girls in a classroom setting, or father to daughter is prohibited no matter what.


If a Torah item, i.e. concept/idea/fact/whatever, is relevant to you, then you may learn it, regardless of whether it comes from Torah shebiksav or Baal Peh. So if you have a story in the Gemora, if the story is a Mussar lesson, it’s fine to learn.

What is not OK to learn is any Torah item, i.e. concept/idea/fact/that is not relevant to you.

It doesn’t matter if learning Gemora "turns you on", since turning you on is not the criterion - relevance is.

So all the Halachos that you have to know, all the reasons to believe in G-d, the concepts and philosophy behind Judaism which all constitute the Mitzvos of Emunah, Yiras Shamayim and all the Mitzvos of the heart and mind - all of this is permitted, and a Mitzvah for you to learn. But the Mitzvah you fulfill is not "limud hatorah" - you are exempt from that Mitzvah. The Mitzvah you fulfill is whatever Mitzvah you happen to be studying (as a hechsher) - because the first part of a mitzvah is knowing what to do.

It is not an excuse to learn Vayikra because you have to teach it, since you don’t have to teach it! Such logic is circular reasoning, as you mentioned.

Thanks for answering

So wait,

If learning something gives you emuna, even if its not relevant in any other way, then it IS relevant because it gives you emuna, no??

No. Since the material contains much less Emunah-instilling material than the seforim that deal with Emunah directly, you have no need to learn those topics that do not address your needs. And if you do get Emunah more from learning about Korbonos than from Seforim on Emunah, you are creating an artificial, man-made need that does not exist in reality. It makes no sense that a person gets more information about Pesach by learning the Laws of Sukkah than by learning Hilchos Pesach; and it makes no sense that a person gets more information about Emunah by learning Korbonos than by learning Sifrei Emunah. And if a person does learn more about Pesach from Hilchos Sukkah, we show him what he is doing wrong.

So too this idea that girls should learn anything to give them Emunah is against what Chazal said that they do NOT learn Torah shebal peh (and believe me - Chazal knew a lot more about the Emunah-inducing properties of Torah than us), and we know that she is doing something wrong in her learning methodology.

I would guess, incidentally, that her desire to learn "exotic" topics - exotic for girls, that is - as opposed to the meat and potatoes of what she needs, is due to Mayim gnuvim yimtaku. It’s the same excuse that people have for learning Kabblaah - "it turns me one more than Gemora." And just as we tell those people that they still can’t learn Kabblaah, and they should rather see what they’re doing wrong in their Gemora learning, we tell the girls the same thing. Don’t learn what Chazal said you can’t -- learn what you need. There’s plenty of that - more than you will ever finish with.

…Torah does straighten out a person, but not the way you think. For men, it means learning Torah. For girls, the Gemora asks, since girls do not learn Torah "nashim b'mai zachyan - how do women get the merit of Torah?" and it answers, "By encouraging their husbands and children to learn in the Bais Medrash, and waiting for them to come home when they are there." Rav Yonason Eyebushitz says that the Gemora means that women get the full extent of the benefits of Torah by supporting their husbands and children in their learning.

Note that the Gemora had no other answer as to how women merit Torah except this.

So that's how it will straighten out your heart. It’s a supernatural process. Torah is not a science. It works only the way Chazal said it does, and that means girls don’t learn Torah shebal peh.

It’s a halachah in shulchan aruch. Look it up. Hilchos Talmud Torah. That IS relevant to you. It’s something that it not disputed.

The problem with learning Kabalah is not that they neglect Gemora; the problem is that they are not allowed to learn Kabalah. That applies even if it "turns them on."

The same thing for girls and Torah she bal peh.

…It mentions "father" only because in those days that’s how people learned - there was no Bais Yaakovs. But the prohibition has nothing to do with your father exclusively. Nobody is allowed to teach you Torah shebal Peh.

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