Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What exactly do you want- those who oppose the advancement of women in Judaism?


I am wondering what it is they want exactly- those who oppose the advancement of women in Judaism. I am trying to understand where exactly they think things are going to end up.

I'll give you a hint. The constant restraining hand, the 'that's far enough' held against women in Orthodox Judaism is going to backfire.

We are educated, modern, professional. We are doctors, lawyers, professors, consultants. Our opinions are respected and sought out- both professionally and personally. We add tremendous value to the world and to society. (Lest you think this does not apply to the Charedi camp where women work but are not necessarily in these professions- how long do think you can tell them to go out and work and support the family, be in the public eye and advance- but only so far?)

But, when it comes to spiritual and religious matters, we are relegated to 'behind the mechitza', depending on the community our photos aren't shown, and when it comes to our most personal matters we are expected to ask a man... because women can't 'pasken'. 

Recognizing the serious repercussions on women and family life, the significant discomfort that women feel having to discuss their most intimate matters with a man, the Yoetzet Halacha was created. Women took back those intimate issues that had always been theirs before the mother- daughter tradition was lost over time. 

"BUT WAIT", they were told. 

'You can't pasken. Yes, you know the answers. Yes, you know the laws. Yes, you learned the materials inside and out- more in depth than most 'Rabbis', but, well, you are female and its not been done before (at least not in the box we have created- and dammit it makes us uncomfortable!) and so you must ask a man for his stamp of approval.' 

And now, the Maharats- 'Orthodox women spiritual leaders and halakhic authorities who are experts in Jewish law, Talmud, Bible, Jewish Thought', have graduated. And the fire and brimstone has ensued.

And I'd like to know why. What is so very threatening about a woman who knows whats what and is able to confidently tell those who come to her for advice what they can or should do? What is the issue here?

And if you want to tell me it is against Halacha, be prepared to back it up.

But lets step out of the halacha argument for a moment. You want to talk about the continuity of the Jewish 'mesorah'? The way things have always been done?

I'll do one better. 

Let's discuss the continuity of the Jewish people. 

How long do you think the Jewish people will last, will continue to thrive and grow, if you hold half of them back? How strong will our nation be if you tell the majority they can only go so far?    How long do you think we will accept the limitations you place because of your fear of 'slippery slopes' and other nonsense?

We are talking about women who respect, love and honor Torah. We are talking about those who CHOOSE to live within and uphold the restrictions that Judaism provides. They are not looking to change Torah --only to be a part of it.  You cannot prevent this anymore than you can stop time- and you shouldn't want to.

Education for girls was rejected as heresy but is now mainstream. 
Yoetzot Halacha were given great resistance and are now highly regarded.
And both only add honor, prestige and depth to the Jewish people.

So, I ask again. What exactly is your aim here? Who are you 'protecting' and who are you 'protecting' it from?  

Take a sincere and hard look at your motivations and your goals. I think you may find- if you can be objective- that may not be L'shem Shamayim. 

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