Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yep, the Rabbinate is still sexist.

Thanks, DovBear, for this one:

Rabbi Eliyahu: Women shouldn't study Gemara
Prominent leader of Zionist-religious public rules girls should not engage in Gemara study due to risk of obscuring differences between genders
Kobi Nahshoni Published: 06.13.07, 14:56 / Israel Jewish Scene

"Women shouldn't study Gemara. It obscures the differences between the genders and leads to a decrease in god-fearing and mitzvah observance," former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu stated.

The old debate about women and Gemara studies was revived lately, after Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, another prominent spiritual leader of the Zionist-religious public, ruled that girls were absolutely forbidden from studying Gemara, because this was "unfitting for their souls."

Unfitting for our souls, or challenging to your misogynist interpretations that would come under scrutiny when women studied them, Rabbi?

I have a sneaky suspicion it's the latter - after all, if we are supposed to "teach Torah diligently" to our children, that would be all of them.

The Rabbis fear women scholars more than the black death, more than ebola, and probably more even that getting caught having gay sex in the mikveh. (I think the fact that there is far more documented gay sex in mikvehs than there are women Orthodox Rabbinic Torah experts proves this point.)

Notice he doens't say it's improper for women to be Rabbis in positions of authority over men. There are a lot of people of all sects who would actually agree with such a ruling. No, that's not his fear. His prohibition is against a woman even studying anything that isn't about food, niddah, or housekeeping - and not even those in depth. After all, doesn't each book or pamphlet on these topics always say at the end: but be sure to go to your local Rav for a final decision. Even on issues that affect women every day the Rabbis fear women making a decision for themselves about it.

So pardon me for being a bit skeptical about your motives, Rabbi.

This is about power, class - and who isn't going to be allowed to have it in the frum communities. If anything, a woman who has actually experienced "women's issues" is far more qualified than a man to issue rulings to other women on these subjects.

But no, that would be a slippery slope, wouldn't it? My goodness, once they got the idea they could issue rulings about their own stuff, then they'd be wanting to have their opinion considered on everything! Can't have that, class, now can we?

Especially since a woman who is struggling to work full time and raise a passle of kids and run a house all by herself while her kollel-husband sits on his bum all day "learning" and contributes nothing to the household budget, local economy, or welfare of the community in general might care to weigh in on, say, perkei avot. Gee, she just might want to say something about that - so they have to make sure she can't.

She might also want to say something about a lot of other things, too, come to think about it. Because in real life, class, there's NO SUCH THING as "women's stuff." What both men and women do affect the entire family, the entire community, even the entire Jewish people. The rulings made by Rabbis on every subject affect the woman's home, family, food, budget, and time.

So they fear a woman scholar more than death, because she might make observations about their rulings that they don't want to hear - after all, they're God's appointed spokespersons. OF COURSE they've considered every possible implication from their ruling. Silly women just have no idea. Women will just mess themselves up trying to think so hard. Business as usual is working fine, and always has! Everyone's happy! We know what we're doing.

Nothing to see here - move along.

1 comment:

Garnel Ironheart said...

Come on out to We're looking for folks like you.