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WOMEN-----their role

tech Posted - 27 February 2002 19:00

Haven't noticed this on any of the boards. Can you please clarify the frum perspective on the role of a Jewish woman?

MODERATOR Posted - 06 March 2002 18:39

I have heard this question numerous times, but I have never gotten a clear explanation as to what it means. Women have Mitzvos, right? Same as men. So why would someone wonder about the role of women in Yiddishkeit more than the role of men? Isn’t their role to fulfill their Mitzvos and the Divrei Chazal that apply to them, just like their male counterparts?

fish Posted - 15 June 2006 13:12

Yes the woman have obligations just as the men but, woman go to shul on shabbos yet we don’t need to daven with a minyan nor can we make up one because its zman grama and women need their time for their children.

Trouble is when you’re still a kid the things that keep Jewish woman really busy don't really apply. Limud torah also is k'neged kulam, yet girls don’t have an obligation to learn but we do get rewarded if we do.

Certain halachos are more relevant to a woman yet certain things we do we are not obligated d’oraisa and sometimes not even d'rabanan. So yeah it’s a bit confusing to figure out where a Jewish girl fits in.

Maybe it’s only because im a girl than I think boys have it more clear cut, but our obligations seemed to sometimes be a bit jumbled.

MODERATOR Posted - 15 June 2006 16:15

Okay, so what I'm getting from your post is that there's kind of a disconnect between what a woman’s role is "officially" versus what a woman's experience and education seems to indicate. This causes confusion.

I agree. No question about it. Girls go to high school and study hard (let's say) for Chumash tests, staying up late and night figuring out the meaning of the ibn Ezras and Rambans. Then they get married to a Kollel guy, have children, and assume the role of Akeres HaBayis, possibly never to open an ibn Ezra again.

You learn how Midos is the most important thing in the world, yet on the report card, you can have a half dozen red, circled "dalets" because you failed your academic subjects, and the fact that you’re the most righteous baalas midos in the world is hardly documented.

I know about this - it is an issue. In more Chassidishe circles, girls are brought up more in line with their ultimate roles as wives and mothers, and therefore, in those circles, you will not hear any girls asking "what is my role" - it's pretty clear.

So you don’t really mean to ask "What is a woman's role" in Judaism. You mean to ask "Which is the real women's role in Judaism?" -- the one we learn about or the one we experience - the Akeres HaBayis or the High School valedictorian?

The answer is the Akeres HaBayis. And ideally, your upbringing would reflect that; a century ago, it would have. Problem was, girls were getting influenced by Haskalah and secularism and we had to counter it with a good dose of Torah education for girls. That's how the BY movement started. It wasn't ideal, but it was needed. if you wish, you can say it was ideal for these times.

But, like all horaos shah, the edge between the ideal (l'chatchilah) and the necessity (b'dieved) gets blurred. Sometimes Horaas Shah is obviously worth the price we pay; sometimes it is obviously not worth it. Often, it needs the hachraah of Gedolei Yisroel. this was such a case, and there were Gedolim who were against the BY movement for that and other similar reasons.

However, most Gedolei Yisroel, especially the Litvishe Gedolim, first and foremost among them the Chofetz Chaim ZTL, were in favor of organized education for girls, and the By movement was enthusiastically embraced.

Medicine often has side effects, but we take it anyway.

And here we are now, 100 years later, and the you are feeling "side effects". Rav Shach ZTL and others have stated that a BY schools that teaches too many Meforshim has gone too far, and has crossed the line into what they are not allowed to teach. others, such as the Satmar Rebbe ZTL write that even the Chofetz Chaim never intended for girls to learn Meforshim in the first place.

At the other extreme, certain institutions have gone totally beyond the bounds of what is permitted, and have started teaches girls Gemora, which has led to Modern orthodox women writing teshuvos and paskening shailos, deciding which Poskim are correct and which are not! (And, as you can imagine, with the grossest level of incompetence

But everybody agrees that whatever you are being taught, the ultimate goal is to instill Yiras Shamayim and a fiery commitment to your role as an Akeres HaBayis. No matter how big a melumedes you are, Chazal's statement applies to you:

How do women merit the next world? By supporting their husbands and children in their learning.

There are women - melumodos and not - who fulfill this role royally. If I may mention a name, Rebitzen Zahava Braunstein a"h was one of them (I may as well also mention that she was the main consultant to regarding advice regarding seminaries). See





There are many others as well.

So to answer your question, all the academics and experiences in your BY education is meant to direct you and teach you how to fulfill your ultimate role as an Aishes Chayil and Akeres Habayis, but it is not meant as a microcosm of that role.

alwaysmore2learn Posted - 05 February 2007 15:55

R' Moderator,

Is it so wrong for women to be something else as well, apart from an akeres Habayis? Why is this our only option?

I am a person who thinks quite deeply into things, and have questions that rarely get answered. Where does the Tanach, or Torah she'baal peh, say that women cannot broaden their understanding of Judaism and HaShem, in the same way that men can, by learning Gemora?

And if I can fit in being a good wife and mother, why shouldn't I have a career that stretches my mind a bit more than preparing chicken?

What's always got me is that it's actually the men who have the mitzvah of p'ru u'rvu, yet in many families, they are hardly involved in the bringing up of the kids.

MODERATOR Posted - 05 February 2007 16:27

What makes you think that learning Gemora will "broaden your understanding of Judaism and Hashem"?

What exactly is there in Gemora that makes you think that’s what it will accomplish for you? Chazal say it wont.

What makes you think that Gemora learning is an improvement over being an Akeres Habayis?

If you think that the glorious role of bringing up the next generation of Gedolei Yisroel, of being the Akeres Habayis, is nothing more than - quote "preparing chickens," then you do not need Gemora to broaden your understanding of Judaism - basic Hashkafa, perfectly permitted to you and available everywhere - will do that more than you realize.

You say you "think deeply" into things. Well, think deeply into this:

The Kohen Gadol did nothing but "prepare chickens", or cows, and stuff like that.

Yet would you ever disrespect the Koehn Godol by describing his role as "doing nothing more than preparing [meat]?" That would be kind of disgusting, wouldn’t it? And if someone did that we would say they don’t know the first thing about Korbonos, or Judaism.

And so I say to do not disrespect the even greater role of Akeres habayis, and if you would like to "broaden your understanding of Hashem and Judaism", go to a good Bais Yaakov High School teacher and ask her to explain to you what a great Avodas Hashem it is - the greatest! - to run a Jewish home.

And leave the Gemora to those who are permitted to learn it, because the Halachah is we may not teach you Gemora. You want to know where it says that? Sigh. I mentioned this like a hundred times - Sotah 21b, Shulchan Aruch YD 246:8.

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