"Women And Judaism" Is About Women's Place In Orthodox Society, And Whether Or Not They Are Treated As Inferiors

2224 words - 9 pages

Women In JudaismIn the Orthodox (traditional) Jewish religion women are expected to stay at home and take care of the house and children. They do not do many of the religious mizvot (good deeds) that men do. Women are also made to dress modestly, and cover their heads. This does not mean that the Jewish religion looks at women as inferior to men. There are reasons why women are expected to act this way, and they have nothing to do with inferiority. Many Orthodox women are treated as inferiors. This is because some people misinterpret what the torah (Jewish bible), and rabbinic scholars say. In the Jewish religion Rabbis opinions are highly respected, especially by the orthodox. By using various texts, this paper will show that the torah and Rabbinic scholars do not look down upon women nor do they say that women should be treated as inferiors.George Foot Moore, a gentile professor of theology and history of religion at Harvard University said that, "Women hold a higher position in Judaism than in other societies," (Kaufman xxv). This shows that women are not treated as inferiors in the Jewish religion especially compared with other ancient religions and societies.In the Torah Adam was created by G-d and contained both male and female parts, and then the female was separated and turned into Eve. Both of them are equal in G-d's eyes (Kaufman 35). Even though Adam was created first this does not make him superior to Eve. Actually before Eve was created Adam was both male and female so it cannot be said that man was created before women because Adam was both. Many Rabbis thought that women were equal to men. Rabbi Hirsch states, "The woman forthwith on a footing of equality with the man," (Swidler 7). This shows that women and men are thought of as equals in the Jewish religionIn the eyes of the ancient rabbis women are mostly viewed in by how they are related to their husband. This was not an uncommon view during that period. Rabbi Hanina believed, "As soon as a man takes a wife his sins are stopped up," (Swidler 7). This means that taking a wife can get rid of a man's sins. If women are thought of as being able to do this then they are looked up to, not down upon.There is a rabbinic saying that a pious man and woman were married but they couldn't have children so they got divorced. The man married a wicked woman and he became wicked. The woman married a wicked man and the man became pious (Swidler 8). This shows that women have more effect on people than men do, and that men are more easily corrupted than women.In the Jewish religion women are supposed to be treated with respect. Rabbi Rothenberg stated that, "A Jew must honor his wife...if one strikes one's wife, one should be punished more severely than for striking another person," (Rudavsky 17). This shows that abusive husbands are not tolerated in the Jewish religion. Rabbi Simhah agrees with Rabbi Rothenberg. He thought that is a man beats his wife it is a more serious offence that if he...

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