Women Learning Gemara

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    Can someone please explain why woman dont learn gemara. If gemara is something so fundamental to judaism, why dont most woman learn it.


    Masechtes Sotah Daf 21b on top, and Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 246 sif 6.

    Shulchan Orach:

    “tzivu chaza”l shelo yilmad adam es bito torah mipnei sherov hanashim ein da’atan michuvanos l’hislamed u’motzios divrei torah l’divrei havai l’phi anius da’atan, amru chaza”l kol hamilamed es bito torah k’ilu milamda tiflus (now pay attention to this part, please) bameh divorim amurim torah she’bal peh, aval torah she’bicsav…”.

    And as attested to by the Gr”a (sham,os 24) and Chid”a in Birkei Yosef (sham,os 7) we pasken like R’Eliezer [and R’Yehoshua] as stated in the Rambam (hilchos talmud torah perek 1 halacha 13) and the Tur.

    There is a dispute in the Mishna Sotah 20a whether one is even allowed to teach Torah to women at all. The argument against the teaching of Torah to women states that if one does so, it is like teaching them Tiflus. Rashi comments that Tiflus means lechery, meaning the study of Torah will lead women to immoral sexual acts. Rashi then cites the famous story of Bruriah, one of the greatest female scholars in Jewish history to prove his point. One day, Bruriah ridiculed the Gemara (in Kidushin 80b) which states that that women are lightheaded. Rabbi Meir, her husband, ordered his student to test Bruriah’s strength and try to seduce his wife. Bruriah caved in and when she realized what she had done, she hung herself.

    Thus Rashi’s argument is that women’s minds are not meant for serious Torah learning. The Rambam agrees with Rashi’s take. Rambam also adds that when the chachamim had said, “He who teaches his daughter Torah, is as if he taught his daughter tiflus,”only applies to the oral law. The Rambam says that a man should not teach his daughters written law but if he does, it is not considered tiflus. The Shulchan Aruch follows this approach of Rambam.

    The conclusion is that there are four areas within this law:

    1. Women may not learn the Oral Torah

    2. Women may learn the simple meaning of the Written Torah

    3. Women may not learn the Written Torah in depth

    4. Women must learn the laws that apply to them


    I dont understand. How can teaching torah to woman lead them to immoral sexual acts? And isnt it obvious from today that woman are just as smart then men. You cant say that they wont understand what you teach them.


    matan1: Do you think women were dumber in previous years? Doesn’t Bruriah prove that women were smart even then?

    It has nothing to do with wisdom.

    Whatever reason we would give wouldn’t change anything. Once the halacha is a certain way, we follow it even when the reason doesn’t appear to be applicable anymore.





    It has nothing to do with “smart.” Woman and men think differently. Ask anybody who teaches both women and men. Women ask different types of questions.

    Nobody can deny that we’re better. 😉 We’re just different.


    Personally, I’m glad I’m not obligated to learn it. I don’t have the time to invest in it, and I would really not find it satisfying. With all this, I still not only have tremendous respect for gemara but I spend considerable effort facilitating its being learned by members of my family.


    I do not think I am allowed to post links, but on Yutorah there is a shiur by Rabbi Rafi Strauss on this exact topic. It should answer all your questions.


    Does it say don’t teach, or does it say, women should not learn. The difference being that there is no mitzvah of talmud torah, but if they choose to on their own, their is nothing wrong on their part.

    In todays bais yackov type high schools and seminaries girls may not sit down in front of a gemara, but they certainly learn gemara. Many meforshei tanach routinely refer to gemaras in their explanations of pesukim and when learning these meforshim in depth, these sources are learned. Many of the things we say in the haggada on leil pesach are torah she baal peh, is there a posek anywhere that says, send the women out at these parts? It implies there is nothing implicitely wrong with learning a gemara. I don’t know what the mechaber etc.. mean, but it is difficult to say it is absolutely forbidden for them to be exposed to and even taught on some level, torah she baal peh. (The next statement is superfluos, but the CR being what it is, I feel compelled to write it) Obviously I am not saying anything lihalacha, I don’t even know if what I wrote is true, they are merely observations that say “look into this further”.


    Once the halacha is a certain way, we follow it even when the reason doesn’t appear to be applicable anymore.

    Which is why Anaskis is Muttar, of course.

    I believe you are correct regarding a Takana (which this would be), not a Halacha.

    A Heimishe Mom

    Tzippi: You are pretty much on target. Bruria and Rashi’s daughter notwithstanding, a woman’s place is in the home – making sure her husband can learn, and that her children are properly cared for. Not that we are any less “smart” we just need to use our “smarts” in different ways.

    apushatayid: and as a Bais Yaakov student I skipped any number of homework assignments as my litvishe father felt it was very wrong for us to be opening up a gemara (happened rarely), and even material from my notes, he was not happy with what some of our teachers were teaching us. They, along with their husbands, spent countless hours over Torah Sheh Ba’al Peh which, in his halachic opinion was very wrong.


    Can someone please explain what the Gemara means when it says that teaching woman Gemara will lead them to immoral acts.


    oomis post which completely distorts the Gemorah and she draws ugly and twisted conclusions from it, (based soley on her own personal values and understanding) and speaks disparigingly about a Tannah!, unbelievable! is the very answer to the original post as to why women dont learn Gemorrah.

    the ridiculous and destructive post was allowed to stand only because it so well illustrates the issue.


    Before Sarah Schenirer founded Bais Yaakov the idea of education for girls was very controversial and many communities in Europe (especially Hungary) were opposed to Bais Yaakov.


    Haha Moderator, good job.

    It seems that the issue is not women’s capacity for gemara learning but its effect on them. For men Torah sheba’al peh is a yoke that captures their minds and dampens their ta’avos to do things they shouldn’t. For women apparently it not only fails to capture their minds but somehow inspires a spirit of rebellion against a Torah hashkafa and creates a dangerous egotism and overconfidence that leads to transgression. This is from the sodos shel olam — the basic differences in the briah of men and women that no amount of intellectual discourse will shed any light on. Those who make a feminist or male chauvinist agenda out of this by making it strictly an issue of women’s intelligence vis-a-vis men are being intellectually dishonest.

    Eizena Kup

    I am really appalled, no, horrified, at oomis’ post. I sincerely hope MODs consulted Rabbinical advice before allowing it – for reason stated.

    To you oomis: Jewishness, Torah and its laws are not up for emotional debate. You either accept Toras HaShem – as handed down from Sinai, or you join the others…

    DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’VE DISPARAGED ???? A Tana, no less!! How much Torah learning caused you to do that?? Before taking to the keyboard and broadcasting you venom on HASHEM, His Torah and His closest, might I suggest you do a little research on who you’re writing about.

    ???? ??????

    (hey, wuzzat?)

    If you’re Jewish and orthodox, I suggest you start doing teshuva immediately for this most greatest chilul HaShem and bizui Talmid Chacham. In times past, a person would be put in Cherem for less offenses.


    I agree with Mod 80 that leaving up oomis’ post (with Mod 80’s disclaimer) serves two purposes: 1) It answers the OP why women don’t learn Gemorah and 2) It helps point out the absolute insanity and anti-Torah posts by ostensibly “frum” people that get submitted here — that mostly don’t make it to the board.


    no i didnt ask a shaila, and i cant right now

    but ive thought about it, and i just cant leave it up


    here is a quote of just a small and mild part of the post with the name of the Tannah obviously changed:

    “This whole story says more about the inherent stupidity and egotism of man than of the so-called lightheadedness of woman. What DO they call someone who incites another person to commit an aveira (possibly even only the appearance of an aveira)? Meisit u’meidiach??? I would not tell over that story again. It does no favor for Rabbi Ploni”

    Eizena Kup

    80 – Thank you for ‘Kashering’.



    The story is from Rashi Avoda Zara Daf Yud Ches. Other Rishonim (IIRC) disagree with that being the issue of why that Tanna had to leave, and doubt Rashi’s story (saying that if she was actually M’zane, she would not have been note as she was in the Gemorah.) (Also (personally) noting that the Tanna in question had a similar situation (and failed) brought down at the end of Mesechta Keddushin, so her Z’nus would have not proved anything anyway regarding men vs. women & Da’atan Kalos).

    However, IF THE STORY IS TRUE, you have to know who you are dealing with. Tannaim are not people like us, they are people. We are like Donkeys (and not R’Pinchas Ben Yair’s donkey either, and probably not even Billam’s Donkey)(quote). Respect to the point of awe is an absolute must.


    gavra: I haven’t seen the Gemorah and Rashi recently, but in no version was their actual znus. Just a test to see if she would be receptive which she failed.

    Nashim Da’atan Kalos is a given in the Gemorah even outside of this issue.

    Eizena Kup


    Again. It was my BAD LUCK to have stumbled upon your terrible post (now B”H removed).

    I’ll have you know. A Tana has his mind and actions directly connected to HaShem. There’s no ‘machlokes’ here. That was Toras HaShem. Exactly why? Your questions? I don’t know. I don’t have answers to them right now. (Even if I would, I would not post them here – maybe they’re not fit for female consumption!) But that’s not how a believing Jew deals with his Elders/Gedolim. When a Jew (male) learns, and finds something difficult, he ‘plugs away’, ‘shvitzes’ and ‘hurravas’ until he understands. Somtimes it takes a few minutes, somtimes hours. Other times through davening and tears.

    Oh, and btw, this Tana who you’re so disparaged, once found it in His Torah to have a woman spit into his face ????? ???? ??? ??? ?????. Gates to wisdom and understanding of entire creation were open to him. He understood the emotional makeup of the separate genders. Numerous times in Mishna and Gemara we find Takanos for the welfare of women. Women fared far better then than in today’s society with all ‘movements’ and ‘rights’ notwithstanding.

    I have today gained another live ‘pshat’ and understanding in the meaning of ?? ????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??????.

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