Women and Gemara

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  • #598137

    simcha613
    Participant

    I know the last topic was closed, but I just wanted to put in my opinion on the subject, as I did much research on it.

    It’s not so clear from the S”A that women aren’t allowed to learn Torah Shebal Peh. Even though the S”A says that one who teaches his daughter Torah it’s as if he taught her “tiflus” (tiflus being something negative), the S”A also say that women receive sechar for learning it! Now if the S”A was saying that it is assur, the S”A wouldn’t have said they get a reward for doing it. The S”A just says it can’t be taught to them which I understand to mean that it is not allowed to be imposed on them, however if they learn it by choice, then they receive reward.

    One also has to factor in (based on the S”A and the Rama) that a woman does not have a chiyuv to learn Torah which has no practical application, and has a chiyuv to learn Torah that has practical application (halachah, mussar, Tanach [Gemara in Megilah says that the only nevu’os that were recorded were those who’s messages are meant for all generations, therefore Nach is practical], etc…). It’s a positive thing to learn the areas which have no practical application (the S”A says they receive reward), it’s better than wasting time, but it’s not a chiyuv.

    Based on this, I think there are 4 criteria that need to be met for women to learn Gemara:

    1) They have to want to do it.

    2) It has to be for lishmah reasons, not feminist reasons.

    3) They need a teacher to guide them in the right way to learn Gemara.

    4) It can’t come at the expense of learning those areas of Torah that are a chiyuv for them to learn, but it can only come at the expense of things that are reshus (learning secular subjects, going shopping, etc…).

    #788402

    i think you put that very well simcha.

    and not only are your conclusions sound but i believe this is how we actually Poskin today.

    thank you

    #788404

    shlishi
    Member

    I think the OP’s analysis is how the modern schools (i.e. YU) use to justify teaching girls gemorah. But the Gedolei Yisroel of the Litvish and Chasidic world don’t make such an analysis, and simply follow the Shulchan Aruch. I think the halacha is pretty clear against formal schooling in gemorah for girls. I don’t believe prior to YU’s teaching girls gemorah have there been any schools formally teaching gemorah to girls in the Torah world.

    #788405

    simcha613
    Participant

    Shlishi, I think that’s because in the old world, most girls didn’t have an interest in learning Gemara. Nowadays, women have the opportunity to go to college and get a very intense secular education. Many girls feel that they are selling their spiritual side short by going so in depth in the secular world, and not as much in depth in the Torah world. This is very much lishmah, they want they’re Torah education to at least match their secular, and therefore the demand for women learning Gemara is much higher. Granted there are also more women who want to do it for feminist reasons as well, which is a problem, but I don’t really have a solution to that.

    #788406

    shlishi
    Member

    Simcha, so the modern woman is on a higher spiritual plain than 3000 years of Jewish women prior to them? Seems counterintuitive.

    #788407

    Many girls feel that they are selling their spiritual side short by going so in depth in the secular world, and not as much in depth in the Torah world.

    I have difficulty understanding that logic. This brings to mind a story I heard about Rabbi Soloveithchik of YU.

    A lady came to him saying she feels as though it would give her great spiritual fulfillment to be able to wear a Tallis. He told her that before she take on herself to start wearing one, she should first try it out without the tzitzis attached for a week and see how she feels.

    She comes back a week later and tells him that it really gave her the fulfillment she was looking for and he explained to her how she proved it was all in her head.

    To me it makes more sense for a women who feels that she is getting to much secularism in her, to balance it out by doing the ruchniyusdig things that are noyge’ah a women. Like saying Tehillim or learning tz’ena u’rena or hilchos tzniyus. According to the GRA the ikkur schar a women gets is not from learning Torah but from her tzniyus. I would have thought it would make more sense to focus on that above anything else.

    #788408

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    According to the GRA the ikkur schar a women gets is not from learning Torah but from her tzniyus.

    I may have asked this before, but source?

    (seems to be my motto this afternoon)

    #788409

    RSRH
    Member

    I think the different perspectives here have a lot to do with how each side views limud hatorah. The more yeshivish end of the spectrum, those like shlishi that staunchly oppose women learning Torah sh’bal peh maintain a view that the point of limud haTorah is simply to learn. There is no further aim. Consequently, the more public role that women have in the modern world is of no consequence. For whatever reason, God commanded that learning gemarah is for men and not women, and like other gender roles ordained by God (dayanus, kohein gadol, smichah, serarah, child birth), this does not change with time.

    The more modern (YU types, if you will) end of the orthodox world like simcha613 maintain the view held by many rishonim that “the goal of a person’s amaylus in Torah is not that he should simply study a lot of Torah; the goal is to be able to practice the Torah” (Rabbeinnu B’chaye on Avos 1:17 – there are many other similar sources). In other words, we study Torah in order to understand how to properly navigate through the world around us (a world we can and should enter and engage). Since we need Torah to tell us how to act in the world, the more we are engaged in the larger world, the more Torah we need to know and internalize. On this view, women not learning Torah sh’baal peh during the period of the mishna and gemarah makes sense – you don’t need to know much beyond practical household halacha if you spend most of your life keeping up the home. Indeed, as the gemarah says, for women to spend time learning in depth Torah sh’baal peh under such circumstances would be a complete waste of time (tiflus) since has no need of the Torah’s instruction to that extent in her everyday life. But now, when women (in some circles more than men) are in the work force and engaged in the larger non-Jewish world, they MUST learn in depth and prepare themselves to handle the challenges of the real world as God would expect them to.

    nature of womens’ rol

    #788410

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Yes, there where women through the ages who learned Gembra, but it was on their own and on a very individual basis. Like kaveh (I think) wrote on the other thread, it is not about being able to follow or remember, but about the effect. That effect is very clear today, even more so than in the past.

    #788411

    I must have seen it somewhere myself or I wouldn’t have heard of this. But this was all I was able to come with. This seems to be a speech by Rav Michel Yehudah. In it he quotes the Iggeres HaGra from a Nusach of Rav Zundel MiSalant:

    ?????? ???”? ?”? [???? ?????? ????”? ????? ?”?] ???? ??: ???? ???? ????, ??????? ??? ????, ?????? ??? ?????, ??? ????? ????? ???????, ???? ???”? ???, ????? ???”? ????? ???? ????? ??. ?????? ??? ???”? ?????? ??? ????? ?????, ??????? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???”?. ?????? ????? ????? ?? ????? ?????, ?? ?? ???? ??? ????”?, ??? ?? ???”? ?”?, ”??????? ???????”, ??????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????? ?????,

    This is the link if its let through:

    http://www.shtaygen.co.il/?CategoryID=1259&ArticleID=4096

    #788412

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    According to the GRA the ikkur schar a women gets is not from learning Torah but from her tzniyus.

    The GRA you quoted says the Tznius is the main anti-yetzer hara potion for a woman, not that it is the “ikkur schar”.

    #788413

    mosherose
    Member

    The gedolim said it’s assur for a woman to learn Gemara. End of story.

    #788414

    apushatayid
    Participant

    The opinion of Rabbi Eliezer in the Mishna in Sotah that was quoted in previous thread “as if he taught her tiflus”, according to the Choftez Chaim (brought in likutei halachos) was applicable back in the time of R” Eliezer. Nowadays, he wouldn’t hold this opinion according to the CC. It should be pointed out there are two other opinions in the mishna as well. One that one is obligated to teach his daughter torah (ben azzai) and one that I’m not quite sure how to put into words that the mods will allow. See the gemara on chaf beis amud beis.

    It would seem to me that the analysis of the OP is very much along the lines of the chofetz chaim in likutei halachos.

    #788415

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Who gives a blazes?

    We are never going to start teaching our daughters gemara, and they frankly don’t want to.

    They are not going to stop teaching their daughters gemara, and their daughters want to. And I figure, if they want to, why not? If there is a problem in their community, the problem is not the gemara learning, it is that their daughters are raised in a way that they are not happy and cannot feel equal without learning gemara.

    So the learning is not the problem, the rest of it is the problem. And once we are at that point, the learning is probably a good idea.

    #788416

    shlishi
    Member

    The Chofetz Chaim in Likutei Halachos on Sotah says that girls should only be taught Chumash, Pirkei Avos, Menoras HaMaor and the like. He is solidly against teaching them gemorah.

    #788417

    g_a_w:

    The GRA you quoted says the Tznius is the main anti-yetzer hara potion for a woman, not that it is the “ikkur schar”

    You are right. I am being influenced by a leaflet that my wife was given 4 years ago about tzniyus. The ikkur schar a women gets is from sending her husband to beis medrash and sons to cheider.

    #788419

    shlishi
    Member

    That women can learn the mitzvos they are obligated to keep was never in question by any authority. Indeed they are obligated to learn the mitzvos they must keep.

    #788420

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Shlishi. According to the CC. In the time of R’ Eliezer they didnt their daughters ANY torah. They learned from their parents (mothers?) what to do and not to do.

    #788422

    shlishi
    Member

    That was the case up until the Beis Yaakov’s were established.

    #788423

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Shlishi. Yes. Basicly the point I was making is that despite the claims of some that the halacha follows R’ Eliezer, the CC clearly says that R’ Eliezer would not hold his opinion in our (he said his) generation.

    #788424

    shlishi
    Member

    The CC wrote in Likutei Halachos that in his time they began allowing limited teaching (of Chumash etc. not Gemora) to the girls because “presently due to our myriad sins, ancestral tradition has become exceptionally weak… because [if we do not do so] they are prone to abandon the path of God and violate all principles of [our] faith.” That’s why he held even R. Eliezer would allow it under the unfortunate circumstances.

    #788426

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    You are right. I am being influenced by a leaflet that my wife was given 4 years ago about tzniyus. The ikkur schar a women gets is from sending her husband to beis medrash and sons to cheider.

    I was going to post that, but I forget if that is the main schar or the method to get schar limud (which is K’neged Kulam, but possible that other mitzvos can get more).

    As an additional point, this is another example how these “leaflets” and other Tznius items twist halacha towards a specific untrue, non halachic outcome. It is why Tznius must also be learned from a real Halacha sefer (if you want the halacha).

    PS: It makes sense that Tznius (of action, not only elbow & knees) is similar to Limud Torah for men, based on each gender’s specific main Yetzer Hara. (I believe I’ve posted on this before).

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