Forum Replies Created
“There was a wonderful (goyish) you tube fifties video that was used in public schools in the fifties and it made so much sense when it was presented this way.”
rc: If this is what public schools presented in the fifties, what makes you so sure that the principles herein are particularly “jewish” of “frum”? It seems to me that it was just the societal atmosphere are the time. And you also cannot argue that this is only “natural” based on this presentation because this is not anymore what is presented in public schools.
dveykus: I’ve heard those shiurim before. While they are very nice and inspirational, they do not address my questions.
Syag l’chochma: Well, why is it not my husband’s role to inspire me in MY endeavors, both personal and professional? Be a source of inspiration or comfort for the me so I can accomplish things.
I don’t see how “kol kevudah bas melech penima” encapsualtes an entire ideology that a woman’s main satisfation and role is in her internal life. Or that tznius is her supreme definition. Tznius is a midda, like any other. No one midda completely defines a person.
“Interjection, where did you get the idea that women are viewed as tools created for male entertainment? “
Golfer, she meant the typical explanation for “eeseh lo eizer k’nego” – that a woman was created to help a man. Meaning, her purpose is to help a man more than to have a purpose herself. From many of the posts above, it seems that we DO think women are there for men. Not entertainment. But to help them. If her is learning, help him learn. If he works, encourage him to learn with a chavrusah every day. If he’s down and doesn’t want to go to minyan, you be the one to inspire him. It’s all about what he is doing and you be the aid to that.
I have a problem with this hashkafah. I don’t have a problem with helping someone. Or being a source of inspiration. But I have a problem with being a chameleon that changes with whatever her husband is. And I think that a woman’s external accomplshments (I’m not talking about limud torah in this case; they would have a different type of value for a man and a woman) are equally significant to a man’s – assuming they are doing the same thing.
For those of you who are having a knee-jerk anti-feminism reaction, I would advise you to read up a little about it before swallowing all the negative things you hear. The feminist reaction is responsible for a tremendous amount of positive change in society, one which is notably important for men in kollel – your wives can earn a decent living and support you because of the feminist movement.
The feminist movement fought for things like: requiring a place of employment to hold a woman’s job if she has a baby, maternity pay, and equal pay for men and women who perform the exact same work. Are these things so terrible?
And no, the feminist movement has not “reversed” the role of men and women. It strove to make it possible for a woman to have a family and still maintain a career. And it made it possible for a women to explore more intellectual avenues of accomplishment. And it told women that with the advent of technology, they can now do housework in less time and use the rest of it to do other more useful (gasp!) things than washing curtains, dusting, or baking fancier seven-layer cakes.
Health, testing IQ is a secondary reason for making ppl take those courses. The main reason is because you need to know that stuff to understand the first thing about modern medicine. Please tell me you were joking when you said it’s solely to test IQ. Besides, there were would be many shorter and less expernsive ways to test IQ more directly than make someone take 3 years worth of prerequisites and the mcat
“That’s why noone knows how to practice medicine. What do you need this for -“calculus, chemistry (maybe?), physics and organic chemistry”?”
Health, are you serious? You don’t think knowing this is necessary for the practice of medicine? So what do YOU think one should know to go to medical school?
Then again, apparently there were great people who knew medicine without ever having learned physics or chemistry.
(Btw, to the best of my knowledge, the only medical school that requires calculus is Harvard Medical School. Almost all other medical schools in the US require basic courses in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics.)
“So what *is* the reason Hashem allowed men to marry more than one wife (but not vice versa)?”
It’s very simple. We need to know who the father of a child is. (Think days pre-genetic testing). If a man has multiple partners, it poses no problem to this. A woman having multiple partners, on the other hand, would make it difficult or impossible to know who the father of the child is. Think of all the social repercussions this can cause. “I’m not supporting this kid.. he’s not mine, etc…” That’s also why a woman has to wait a prescribed amount of time before moving on to a new partner.
We don’t need to come up with all sorts of imaginary psychological reasons about why it “makes sense” for the torah to allow men to have multiple partners and women not. It’s just a simple fact of biology and a measure to ensure basic order in society. Not an outlet that men “need” any more than women.
However if one is doing it for the wrong reasons – i.e to impress the other gender….then it’s not good.
And why is it so terrible to make yourself potentially attractive to the other gender? He will get married one day and it’ll only be a plus.
“…This is felt in the rigid, my-way-or-you’re-an-apikores-dioraysa mindset…”
If you want a peek into what this mindset is, read “Chayim B’Emunasam”.
Ben Levi, men and women are quite different. But not in any way you describe.
“Do boys and girls also watch adult content equally” No, men outdo women in general. But statistically, women do it as well, much more than you think. Besides, there are analogous things that females are more prone to doing that men don’t do. But it’s the same taivah driving it. Just the other side of the same coin.
“Also, why do boys have mitzvos of shmiras einayim which virtually do not apply to girls?”
Some say it applies to women as well. My rav, though, holds that it does not because there is no ensuing issur as a result. This does NOT mean it is recommended for a woman to view inappropriate material or that she should, or that it’s good. It’s just that, strictly speaking, it does not hold the same issur. I think that’s the most I can say in such a forum.
However, although I have no problem discussing any of these topics, I would like to ensure that this thread does not get closed, so let’s try to keep everything appropriate please, and not veer too much off the main topic.
mdg and whatdoyouknow – didn’t see your posts before. Yes, I put in that line to ensure it was obvious that I was sarcastic.
lakewood: I also wonder why frum people have a completely inaccurate view of female psychology and think that women don’t have urges or that their attraction to men is all emotional…
Apparently, Sam2 was the only one who understood me. 🙂
“Also shows me the superficiality with which you grasp chazal’s statements.” This line was supposed to make it obvious that I was sarcastic by saying chazal didn’t want women to learn gemara because they will be offended. Goodness.
Peirsuh: If levaryehboy thinks the gemara is insulting women, he has a superficail grasp of what chazal meant when they said certian things.
Or, his biases automatically make him think certian things are denigrating to women, when, they are really not.
My proof of this:
“Learning in-depth about blood stains, the obligations a woman has to her husband, the very graphic descriptions and logical analyses of hara’ah, neshikas ha’ever, shelo k’darkah … (need I say more?) may offend your somewhat feminist, or at least feminine, self.”
I was laughing really hard when I read this paragraph. I cannot for the life of me understand why any of this would me more offensive to a woman than a man. The only reason it would be offensive is if you MAKE it offensive. Like LevAryehBoy does quite well. There is nothing OBJECTIVELY offensive in any of this.
1) “obligations a woman has to her husband”… Do you find it insulting when you learn about the D’ORAISA obligations of onah a man has to his wife? This carries much more halachic weight than the other way around.
2) “learning in depth about blood stains”. Would you find it insulting to learn in-depth about the halachos applying to a male zav? Or other forms of tumah?
3) “the very graphic descriptions and logical analyses of… neshikas ha’ever, shelo k’darkah … ” Why in the world would any of this be offending to a woman and not a man? And what in the world do they have to do ith feminism?
“From the moment you asked earlier why the boys would look at the girls but the girls wouldn’t look at the boys, I realized that you obviously don’t know the differences between boys and girls,”
Again, this provided some good comic relief. Levaryehboy – you need to learn to read more critically.
I have some news for you about the “difference between boys and girls” – some things are not that different. In a room full of adolescent boys and girls, the girls are looking at the guys too. Maybe a a little less because they are not as visual, but trust me, they are looking. So here’s some education for you.
“You also said you were intelligent.”
No I didn’t, but thank you for the compliment.
Sigh. I think some posters could use a boost in reading comprehension. Maybe Sam2 could help.
Levaryehboy: you didn’t have to wait till the end of the thread to tell me the REAL reason chazal were reluctant to let women learn gemara – they were scared women would get offended. Simple solution: make sure they don’t learn it.
Also shows me the superficiality with which you grasp chazal’s statements.
little sally saucer: I address a lot of your questions throughout the thread. Have you gone through the entire thing? I do not want to repeat myself.
“No need to learn Gemora and become even more confused about things you never thought of.”
Why in the world would learning gemara confuse me? It would confuse me to the same extent it confuses the thousands of men who learn gemara every day.
Anyway, thank you all for your input. I spoke to one of my rabbis, who is a rosh yeshiva, and got a positive green light to learn gemara. Whatever. Just proves to me that my reasoning was right all along. And if I’d done it without asking would it be wrong? I think not, because I would not be violating any halacha anyway.
Now the question is only how and when I will do it.
This post has already taken too much time from me… so I’ll leave you all to argue the rest through.
“If I were to know for a fact that there are people today that know more science than they did it would mean nothing to me. It wouldn’t affect my respect for them”
WIY: So why are you bringing the story about the chazon ish, expecting me to have respect for the chazon ish because of his knowledge of science?
“Just like most of the science of 50 years ago has been debunked today and is irrelevant”
WIY: Really? That’s news to me.
I don’t know what kind of science you are referring to. The science that I know all builds on the work of previous scientists.
The only reason I might be more impressed with science, is because I know more about it. Not because it is inherently “better” than torah study.
Very nice story about the chazon ish. I also happen to know from someone very close to the greineman family (relatives of the chazon ish) that the chazon ish read medical books in his youth.
And I’m sure you know that the Rambam learned to become a doctor… not by learning torah (although maybe it helped?) but by apprenticing with a doctor.
Anyway, the chazon ish may have been brilliant and had medical knowledge. That doesn’t prove that one can know science on a deep level just from learning torah.
You need to make sure that the examples you bring actually prove what you are trying to say.
Besides, if it is true that one can know medicine/sciene on a deep level from learning torah, there should be (or have been in the past) many many more talmidie chachamim/gedolim who would do what the chazon ish did. And there aren’t. (And weren’t)
WIY: “in our camp” Like I said. It’s # 2 in the pattern. It must be someone it “our camp”.
WIY: Do you know how many rebetzins and rabbi’s I have spoken to already? And you keep forgetting – I am the rebetzin. 🙂
In fact, I even tried to bring up this topic to a GADOL – yes a real gadol whose name you know. It took hurculean effort to meet him in person. I went to ask him a question unrelated to this topic and then figured – may as well ask about this too. It took an additional dose of hurculean effort to bring up this topic, but I overcame my bais-yakov ingrained bushah and broached the topic and got: “This is how Hashem made it, this is the tevah and it’s not good to tamper with it…” Or something to that effect.
As a ninteen-year-old, I sort of just swallowed it – like a bitter pill you need to take.
But my brain had been aired out a bit since then.
And I have more to say on the GADOL/Daas Torah topic because it has impacted my life directly in a non-positive way.
burnt steak – really like the guitar! As per everything else you said, read the entire thread…
Ben-Levi – grrrr….the viewpoint you are bringing up is one of those things that could have ended up being the reason I would decide not to suscribe to Judaism anymore – but I’m not one to make rash decisions, lest I throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Yes, there are some particular places in the gemara where we are told: “kack m’kublani m’bais avi”, meaning, there is a direct mesorah from har sinai regarding a particular fact – like the duration of a lunar month.
But NOT everything is a direct mesorah from har sinai. For every scientific fact you bring that chazal knew, I can probably bring you 10 or 20 intances where their scientific knowledge was off. Although you wouldn’t know that unless you studied science.
So now you want me to stop being frum, because chazal didn’t know every scietific fact? Is my emunah supposed to hinge on chazal’s super-human knowledge?
If they knew about electricity, why did they keep it a secret? And if they had knowledge of genetics, why did they not apply it and thereby save numerous lives?
This is a bit of a digression from what i originally intended, but you can let Rabbi Rietti know that people’s emunah should absolutely NOT be based on the fact that chazal had all-encompassing knowledge of science.
Not that this in any way mitigates chazal. They may have been more advanced than the world at large, but they did not have the scietific knowledge we have today. Period.
WIY: Stop being so afraid.
You remind me of some other people I know who follow the same pattern: 1) they beseech me to get the “help” I need and talk to a rav or rebetzin – who of course – they would approve of 2) then they begin to panic and try to coerce my into remaining in their camp of belief, or else I am an apikorus or what not 3) they raise their hands in surrender “I did my part”, and stay away because the hashkafos they are hearing (from me) will contaminate them.
Don’t worry – whatever I do, it’s not on your cheshbon.
You did your part.
Besides, I AM the rebetzin. Remember? 🙂
unique: I think it’s taken from sotah: 21a/b: “kol hamelamed bito torah (k’ilu) milamda tiflus…” There are a bunch of commentaries you can go through on it.
If you want a more precise analysis, it seems some people on this thread can do a better job than me.
“So I’d like to ask you, if you’re so confused yourself, why are you you teaching? Would you teach science if you didn’t understand it? A teacher needs to be able to help her students understand. What are you doing in the education system?”
Sanityisoverated: Did your read my second post?? I HAVE been teaching. Not anymore. And read the paragraph about modifying my teaching as my thinking changed. Besides, I still think I did a better job than 95% of teachers who think they know what they are talking about.
“The only flaw seems to be your assumption that you have studied everything. You clearly know a lot, but no-one can know everything.”
Again, read my second post. I do not want to repeat myself.
“which unfortunately no one really writes in this day and age. “Popular frum hashkafa” is IMHO mostly shallow”
Gavra: Not shallow… silly. There’s a difference. Shallow just means it’s elementary. Like 2+2=4. Silly is 2+2=6 because really there’s an extra 1 hidden in each two.
Is there any logical principle or proof (or POSSIBILITY of proof) that leads to this conclusion? If not, I see no reason to accept it.
WIY: If you would be born into a christian, muslim, or buddist societal frame, you’d be saying about yeshu, mohammen and buddah that THEY don’t need our approval and how dare we ever question them. You have not taken the time or energy to think if you really believe in the Jewish frame. You are parroting the stuff you heard from your rebbeim or read in books.
charlie – I would like some info about the shiurim if possible, thnx
Assuming you believe the Rambam when he says in his hakdama that everything written in the Gemara is a Halacha l’Moshe Misinai, Hashem Himself said on Har Sinai that the closeness a woman attains through learning will not be accomplished by learning Gemara.
I would like to know where Hashem said this at har sinai.
And like Sam2 said, the rambam DOES NOT say in the hakdamah that everything written in the gemara in halacah l’moshe misinai. YOU should know that.
Have you been reading “Chaim B’Emunasam”?
“I absolutely understand why a woman would want to learn Gemara. The same reason I want to learn Gemara. Gemara is the main source of Torah Sh’Bal Peh and you can’t fully understand or appreciate Torah without the Torah Sh’Bal Peh.”
Benig: If you say it, everyone believes you. If I say it, I need to justify myself to no end.
“You may have cute answers for the Rambam’s lashon”
LevAryeh: What exactly was cute about what I said?
I am familiar with that torah temimah. He also speaks at length somewhere else about his aunt (i think?) who forever bemoaned her state as a woman and that she cannot have a part in limud torah… whatever.
“You stated that having a deeper and more logical understanding of what Judaism is about would inspire you and strengthen your Emunah, as it were.
This is not about emunah. It’s about seeing some sort of struture and reason in halachah and hashkafa. Big difference.
“According to this, fewer boys should go off the derech than girls.” I never said this. This is your own extrapolation. I do not think many people go off the derech for intellectual reasons. Most people who go off the derech do so, mostly, for emotional reasons.
However, someone who does go off the derech for intellectual reasons, and it’s not so common, is usually the kind of person who would have been able to have tremendous influence had they remained in the fold. I know a number of people like this myself. They leave Judaism not to cry about their past miseries, but they go on to accomplish great things in other areas. So it’s just chaval to lose them.
“Of course,” replied the other rabbi. “The girls were looking at the Gemara, and the boys were looking at the girls!”
Why were the girls not looking at the boys too? I’m not saying this to be funny.
“I have learned in my travels that Talmudic Judaism’s logical structure stands on a base of spiritual BELIEF”
Bar-Magen: If I didn’t have some belief (I like to think of it more as konowledge) I wouldn’t be interested in learning gemara. Or anything Jewish at all. In the same way I don’t care to open up a quoran.
“And the reason she is wavering is because she doesn’t understand the logic behind what she is doing, especially as compared to her secular job. The rules and regulations appear to be random -the product of modern rabbinic fiat. A look at the inner workings, an understanding of the halachic process and the rigor of Talmudic thought can strengthen one’s resolve in keeping halacha and provide a mature intellectual religious satisfaction that reading an Artscroll book cannot.”
Benig: I couldn’t have said it better.
“As Lakewood001 said, the Gemara is rarely scientific (i.e. based on observation). The closest secular disciplines to Gemara are philosophy and law (Gemara has the lomdus of philosophy and the logic of law).”
I know this. Science in general operates with deductive reasoning and gemara operates usually more with inductive reasoning (at least that’s how I understood it. Am I correct?) But I’m not looking to learn gemara like science. I want to see the logic and rationality behind the laws to which I am expected to devote my life.
“As a guy, I think learning gemara is an essential step to take in order to understand halachah and Jewish life. “
rational frummie: like I told benig – if you, a guy, says it, it’s duh. If I woman says it, she’s a rebel, has emunah problems, must be undergoing a life crisis, is neglecting her real tafkid, blah blah blah…
“I think at the root of things you have sfeikos in Emunah and you need to figure out why it is that you got to this point… speak to a competent Rav and or Rebbetzin who can answer your questions…”
WIY: We are back to this again. I cannot deal with this circular reasoning.
It’s impossble that I’m just sincere. I have emunah problems.
I WAS the rebetzin. I taught about emunah for many years. That’s for the most part not where my questions are.
Rebetzin Heller was my teacher, actually. She is a wonderful, brilliant woman. But I don’t think she can teach me talmud. Besides, I don’t need to ask her if she thinks I should learn gemara – she will probably tell me I should.
WIY, I read some of rav kaplans books… they are good but don’t address many of the things I want to know. I read rabbi tatz’s books when I was a teenager. I liked some of his stuff, but not everything… some of the hashkafa in his books seemed ungrounded to me,
“I think you might wish to clarify what exactly you mean by “Jewish ideas start to unravel” and “pale in comparison to everything you know”, CH”V, before you decide that gemara will somehow resolve any of this.”
Hakatan: Let me clarify: Of course I haven’t read every single Jewish books out there… But believe me – I’ve read enough. And I reached a point that the more I read anything that reflects popular frum hashkafa (I don’t want to get into distinctions of different groups… ) the more contradictions and fanciful thinking I find.
So instead of saying “this whole thing is really dumb”, I am saying that I’m willing to learn something that might actually speak to me. And gemara is the sole area of Judaic studies I have not learned systematically.
For those of you who automatically assume that this stems from some point of rebellion or that I haven’t scoured those things that I am “allowed” to learn, I raise my hands in surrender and say: I did my part and I’m done. From taking my studies seriously in high school, seminary and beyond, spending almost a decade immersed in Jewish learning, spending many summers in a Jewish learning environment, reading the books, attending the lectures, doing research… hashkafa, emunah, bitachon… I dare any of you to say you’ve done close to the same.
And if gemara really won’t do anything, like some of you say, then I’m really done. Because the edifice is downright irrational. And there is nothing on the other side of the fence that is beckoning me.I just refuse to suscribe to something irratioanl and fanciful.
“Education, both for men and women should NOT be based on emotion but rather on logic and proofs.”
Obviously.Unfortunately, a lot of the school education I got was based on emotion. Think “doing mitzvos and living a frum lifestyle because it’s a better life… what a horrible life goyim have…”
thank you all for your replies.
Computer777, it is halachically permissible for a woman to learn gemara. I’ve been through this myself with the sources, with my father who is a rav, and with my husband. What is forbidden is for a father to teach his own daughter gemara and the reason (given by one of my husband’s rebeeim – that actually makes sense) is because he will likely be too soft on her because it’s his daughter – and gemara requires a certain rigor.
How can it be assur for a woman to learn gemara if the ramabam clearly says that a woman is exempt from learning torah but if she does she gets schar? (And he is not talking about learning halachos that are pertinent to her, or chumash…) You cannot get schar for doing something assur.
“If you were truly sincere, maybe you’d find the roads less blocked. Reading through your post though, you seem to have already given up on learning for the sake of learning, and now wish to prove your worth as a woman.”
Sigh. I am so tired of this argument. I have taught limudei kodesh – virtually every subject- on a a high school level for close to a decade. You think another ten years of hashkafa and chumash and meforshim are going to do it? I know – it’s my yetzer horah trying to get me off the right track.
With time, there were many things I could not teach anymore beacuse either I stopped believing it, or I had too many questions about it. And I’m not preaching to a class of impressionable adolescents ANYTHING I do not absolutely know to be true or right. I have no desire to perpetuate the insincerity I’ve encountered in some of my education.
Yes, I have given up on learning another hashkafa sefer. I’ve had my fill of breadth. I am looking for depth and reasoning. I’m not looking for more information. I’ve reached my fill. More facts will do nothing for me. It’s actually reaching the point of diminishing returns. The more hashkafa I read, the more stupid everything seems. I’d rather not do anymore damage.
This past shabboss I picked up a book at my parents house written by a well-known Rav. The book was hashakfa about a woman’s role etc… there were so many logical contradictions… it makes the whole hashkafa edifice seems downright stupid.
The reason I think that gemara will help is the following: I was once a guest by someone on shabboss and a discussion about gemara came up. The host explained to me how gemara works and then proceeded to give me an example that we worked through together. And I was pretty impressed. Apparently, he’s way more skilled than your avergage yeshiva bachur, and thus was able to break it down sufficiently for a novice to understnad.
But a little light went off in my head: “Hey,this stuff is not so stupid after all…”
Of course I will always have questions and one’s quest for truth is never fully reached… that’s ok.
And I’m angry that so much of my time in high school and beyond was wasted on more memorization and more hashkafa when I could have been given the skills to learn gemara. And I could gave been doing it myself now.
They should have an optional track for girls to learn gemara. Of course if you hire incompetent teachers, you’re not accomplishing much. But it’s like that in every area.
Trust me, you will not have the entire high school signing up. You’ll have 5-10%… maybe.
“If your are BY literate, you can comb through the Medrashim, ALL the Neviim, the great works of Haskafa of the Rishonim, and, as we are now textual based, there is no limit of study aids and secondary adjuncts to Talmud study.”
twisted: I appreciate the suggestions, but again, I’ve combed enough through them to know that it will do nothing for me to keep combing through them.
We don’t expect men to go through all of chumash, navi, medrash, halacha, kesuvim, works of rishonim (list goes on and on) before they learn gemara. Why the double standard?
Avi K: “However, as a rule women think more emotionally and men think more logically”
A nice stereotype. I think it applies more in the context of relationships and interaction with people. Not when in comes to thinks that, by definition, are logical. A man does not think more logically about a scientific experiment than a woman. I would think the same about gemara, because it is inherently a logical activity.
there are two ways to understand this: 1) kares means that if a person does a certain thing, the likely natural outcome is that they will cease to be part of klal yisrael. For ex., if a person marries a non-jewish woman, his children will not be Jewish. you can find such reasoning in many things that are “kares”. Some are more obvious than others
2) if a person does that particular thing, they have gone so far that they have lost their olam habah
Furthermore, those actions that warrant kares probably only do so when the aveirah is done knowinlgy and intentionally.