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WOMEN-----modern orthodoxy and learning gemara

as200 Posted - 01 March 2005 0:07
Moderator, you sit up there on your throne, preaching your words to all you can, but who are you to talk this way? Who are you to publicly speak lashon hara about a respected member of the modern orthodox community? Yes, modern orthodox. That group of malicious evil-doers attempting to corrupt all we come in contact with.

Modern Orthodoxy is a sect of Judaism. It is a sect that obviously has different values than you. Does that make it wrong? You seem to think so. I do not. There are plenty of things that traditionally orthodox people do that I do not believe in. Does that give me the right to publicly bash them and everything they believe in? xxxxxxxxxx is an incredible, talented woman who uses her love of learning to inspire others to learn as well. I know that she certainly helped me when I had the privilege of being taught by her.

However you and your insular ways couldn't possibly accept any ideas other than your own. Do I expect you to read xxxxxx’s proof and immediately change your views? No, I do not. I do expect that you would give her the respect that she deserves.

Teaching Gemara to girls is tiflus, maybe. But what does tiflus mean? Tiflus means a waste. Waste. Have you, moderator, ever sat down with your family to enjoy a relaxing time, talk, eat, maybe play a game? Is that a waste? Yes it is, but in this day and age our entire day is not possible to be spent in rigorous Torah learning.

One could argue that your involvement in moderating this website is tiflus, a complete waste of your time, since more than 50% of the people you 'preach' to are young women, who obviously should not be questioning anything their elders tell them. You don't even post xxxxxx’s words on your website, and I believe there is a reason. You don't want people reading them. You don't want people reading them and seeing that maybe we don't have to believe that women, the inferior gender, should possibly seek to become closer to God through discovering the joy of learning Gemara.

No, that would be unacceptable. While I know this post will probably not make it on, since you seem to only post things that agree with your point of view, clearly making an 'open forum' pointless, I hope that at least you will read it, and realize how hurtful and condescending your words are, not only to xxxxx, but to thousands of young women around the world who willingly attempt to enhance their Torah study.

MODERATOR Posted - 01 March 2005 9:02
Well, I put up the link to her site so you can’t really say that I don’t want people reading it. Plus I invited people to read it and submit any questions they may have if they think it makes any sense.

And tiflus according to most opinions (including the parenthesis comment right there in the Shulchan Aruch) means "aveiros". Teaching Torah to girls is tantamount to teaching them to do aveiros. And I have no idea who this woman is, but I do know that she’s no posek, and - I feel weird even having to explain this - her "teshuva" is full of errors. Full. And as I promised, if there is anyone out there that cannot see that, please submit your question.

The issue is not modern orthodoxy, but a simple Halachah in Shulchan Aruch - and I say simple because Rav Moshe says it is black and white clear-cut, obvious-like simple - that you cant have Gemora classes for women. Simple as that.

And your caricature of the view of other Jews ("inferior gender"? where did you learn that any frum Jews believe that???) does not help give credibility to your point of view.

As far as the joy of Gemora, it is only a joy if it is the Will of Hashem to learn it; otherwise it’s at best plain intellectual acrobatics, no different than the "joy" of playing chess. And if the Halachah says not to learn it, then doing so is not a joy, it is a sorrow.

If you’re talking about hurtful and condescending, please understand that witnessing the public and mass violation of the Torah is hurtful. You want to know how hurtful?

Open a Shulchan Aruch. Look at the narrow meforshim on the side, on the page that says you can’t teach Gemora to girls. It brings a Chazal that says: "Better to burn Torah than to teach it to women."

How much would it hurt you if you saw a public burning of Torah seforim? And what if someone preached that its a big mitzvah to burn Seforim?

As much as that hurts, what these people who preach teaching Gemora to women are doing hurts more.

And I’ll tell you a secret. You know what hurts me even more than that? Seeing wonderful girls, well-meaning girls, smart, spiritual and aspiring girls like yourself being led astray. And being taught not to be happy with the role that G-d gave you.

You know what its like? Its like watching - l’havdil - the greatest manager in baseball decide he’s jealous of the pitcher, so instead of managing he goes out and insists on pitching, thereby losing the game for his team. Hashem made you a woman. That’s a glorious position! You’re the manger who provides tactical air support for the Torah scholars - your husband and sons. Without your support, they’d lose.

But no, you aren’t happy being the manger. You want a role that you are not cut out for, and you grab the ball and start pitching. And you lose the game for Klall Yisroel.

You’re a manger, not a pitcher. Managers aren’t inferior; they’re just managers. G-d gave you a job and he gave men jobs. G-d knows better what we are suited for.

The joy of pitching a ball is great, I am certain. But the joy of winning the world series is greater.

You can win the world series. But only if you play the position G-d gave you. If you try to pitch you may enjoy throwing the ball, but you’ve thrown the game.

And here I am, watching you, the greatest manager in the league, throw off her manager's gear and run out to the pitchers mound and demand to be a pitcher, because of the "joy of throwing the ball."

That hurts me.

Please take my advice -- don’t lose the game because you like to throw the ball.

If you want joy, joy is doing what Hashem said you do best. Joy is winning the game after 120 years. Don’t blow it, please.


MODERATOR Posted - 01 March 2005 9:23
OK. This is the head Moderator, and I am officially editing the past few posts.

Of course I agree with the content of all of them, but we may still not publicly humiliate any Jew, so I cut out the names. This person is still a frum Jew and as such subject to all the privileges of being one of our brothers (or sisters, as the case may be).

I think it gets a bit confusing, considering that women rabbis for the most part aren’t frum or even Orthodox and we automatically think that when we see a woman rabbi she’s not practicing Judaism.

But this one is. Even though she (I assume) does not call herself "rabbi" and does not claim to have smicha, writing teshuvos for the public that pasken shailos (never mind that it attempts to disprove what Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote) is just as much being a rabbi, even more so in very important ways, than preaching a musar sermon to the congregation.

It’s not enough they "learn Gemora". Now they pasken shailos. And remember - its not as if she quotes any sources that say women can learn Gemora. She derives (or tries to, in any case), in the way poskim do, the Halachah from her own understanding of Gemora and Rishonim, bringing implicit "proofs" and the like.

This is not giving over information. This is paskening a shailah. This is being a rabbi.

And this is what has become of Modern Orthodoxy. I remember, in 1977 I think it was - the 1977-1978 school year if memory serves - when Stern college started their first Gemora class for women, that the Gedolim said it was a terrible peritzas geder - crossing the line, as it were - and in the words of Rav Hutner (Rav Moshe said something similar) "They think they’re just teaching them Gemora? Soon they’ll be paskening shailos!"

The Modern Orthodox world laughed, then.

Now its time to cry.

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