Friday, August 05, 2005

Women Learning Gemara

Gil Student has been preoccupied with the issue of the right of women to learn gemara.In that connection, he reproduces the Rav zt'l's letter, that was published in R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Community, Covenant, and Commitment: Selected Letters and Communications, p. 83.

I recall seeing the Rov quoted on this issue (but I can't recall where). The quote went something like this: Women are obligated to study the Halakhos of the the mitzvos that they are required to observe. So, for example, in order to know Hilkhos Shabbos, you need to study Masseches Shabbos, and 'the way to Masseches Shabbos goes through Baba Qamma.'

2 comments:

rabbidave at aljazeera dot com said...

Women need to learn the halachas they are required to observe. That is why there is Kitzur Shulchan Orech and a whole bunch of books in English on Shabbos, Kashrus, and Toharas Hamishpacha, and RABBIS TO ASK. There are numerous websites offering halachic help and guidance. Personal shaylos can be ask with more anonomity than ever before.
Norman Lamm's idiotic notion that creating a womans kollel somehow advances Judaism is beyond description. We have now given women another reason to push off marriage for a few more years, further lowering the Jewish birth rate. As well as providing an "acreditted" place where the next generation's reform and conservative woman rabbis can study. AND we have now given women the tools to authoritatively argue with their husbands on every halacha, minhag, and chumrah in existence, because the "Rush in yevamos says differently". Explain to me how Judaism is now better off?

Ronit said...

The logic you present here is faulty. If it is true that women NEED to learn the halachas they are required to observe, that in no way suggests that it is undesirable for a women to exceed the minimum requirement and delve into the depths of Jewish learning.

The argument that a woman's knowledge will challenge her husband's should be welcomed. Contrary to a source of discord in a marriage, as you present it, a man and woman's connection on an intellectual plane would be far more likely increase their appreciation and respect for one another.

Sure, there are Rabbis whom women could consult with personal questions. But it is more in the nature of the Catholic Church than of Judaism to raise the clergy to the level of holders and protectors of the scripture. Judaism encourages the dissemination of knowledge, not stinginess with regard to learning.

As to your arguments with regard to the birthrate and marriage age of women and couples in the community, that is a personal decision that has little to do with the options that ought to be available to women and nothing to do with the halachic validity of such actions.

Out of curiosity, why is your name rabbidave at aljazeera.com? Do you work for the organization?

Thank you.