On Women Learning

 Posted by on July 5, 2012
Jul 052012
On learning for womenCommentary:

The Talmud says “He who teaches a woman Torah, teaches her promiscuity”. There’s been a lot of debate about the meaning of ?????? in the verse and if it indeed means promiscuity, but one can infer from uses of the verse that the word was certainly understood to mean promiscuity. They learned from this that a woman who learns Talmud becomes loose; one with society’s lowest. It is why ultra-Orthodox women don’t learn Torah; for us in Satmar, not even Chumash/rashi.

Why so harsh? Even if a woman was to learn Torah while her partner(s) makes love to her, she’d still not be revolutionary in her mix of sex and studying. Men did it, as the Talmud shows. My p’shat is (thumb dip) that while Rabbis threaten that a Torah learning woman will become LIKE a loose woman, sexual promiscuity isn’t the issue. Sex doesn’t concern them (on the contrary, it excites!), but having thinking, learned women does. Women who learn Torah do not learn the street-corner trade or how to be with a hundred men in a month (that’s another book), but they learn how to be promiscuously, damningly up to par with men. If women learn and become independent, they may not want to continue to bear many children, be homemakers and dutiful wives without a minute to think. They will become the husband’s nightmare; as out of line as a whore. That’s why the Talmud says “ignorance is bliss”, because it is bliss for the husband of the ignoramuses!

Wait. Was it the Talmud?

Frieda Vizel

Frieda Vizel left the Hasidic community, the Modern Orthodox community and the Formerly Orthodox (OTD) community. She now lives in Pomona and is actively looking for a new community to leave. She deals with the perplexities of the communities she left by drawing cartoons about them, a habit that gets her into an excellent amount of trouble.

  6 Responses to “On Women Learning”

  1. You know, its been a lot of years since I’ve attended a mussar drasha of any sort. A real long time. Your dvar torah was so beautiful, I think we can revolutionize women’ sermon. Would you like to be first on this speakers’ bureau?

  2. “It is why ultra-Orthodox women don’t learn Torah; for us in Satmar, not even Chumash/rashi.”
    In all generations there were wise women who know learned Torah, and its being told to their praise.
    Just 2-3 generations before us, since they established educational institutions for girls, Torah was being studied as usual, and that’s the case until today in Bais Yakkov’s.
    what the Talmud says can only be understood taking in account the way of life back then, when men – not only Jews – were the one in control.
    times changed, so the (wise) Rabbonin changed the approach on women learning Torah.
    And by-the-way, this is the uniqueness of our Torah, to take in account all other factors and base the Halacha according this.
    Just for an example, although women were all ways prohibited to ware pants (because it was considered a mans cloth), today it is %100 fine for a women to ware them!
    However, Satmar has a different approach.

  3. Shpitzle –

    This isn’t really relevant to the post, but I’m not sure where else to ask this. In an earlier post you wrote that Satmar women are mostly content with their lives, and not looking to be liberated. This accords with the latest NY Jewish population survey, which shows Chassidim growing by leaps and bounds. However, in a recent article, the author of the survey, Professor Steven Cohen, was quoted as being unsure as to whether this growth would continue unimpeded:

    “It might be that the haredim can’t sustain a sectarian lifestyle, it’s financially impossible,” Cohen hypothesized.

    “So the men go to work, birthrates fall and their children and grandchildren drop out of a haredi lifestyle and become Conservative or Reform or non-denominational.”

    There is evidence to support this theory in his findings, he said. The number of haredim – whose lifestyle values torah study over entering the job market – that are below the poverty line rose much more rapidly over the past decade then it did during the 1990s.

    “The poverty rate [in the recent survey] leapt upwards,” the sociologist said. “What we’re seeing is a lot of ultra- Orthodox children, but not ultra-Orthodox households.”

    He discussed how the struggle of supporting a family might pry the insular community open, or at least force many of its members to engage with the outside world.

    Do you think any of this is realistic or are chassidim so insulated that economic pressures won’t make a difference?

  4. J, despite the on-the-books statistics, Satmar and chassidim is not what they are talking about. They do OK financially.

    Shpitz, a touch more aidel?

    Don’t go anywhere for a possible laugh.

    You are higher caliber and more intellectual than that.

  5. Fact is the economy is poor all around. Does that mean reform and conservative jews will. Convert to christianity in order to make financial ends improove. Making money especialy big money has nothing to do with a formal education. You can hire lawyers,accountants and consultants a dime a dozen. Look at chassidic mega rich. B and H for example. He is. Chassidic and makes tons of money and spends his time learning and davening. Wealth is not dependent on college. In fact the forbes four hundred are dropouts.

  6. B & H is one guy. Your plan for your 8 boys and the husbands of your 5 girls is that each of them will create a billion dollar company? Shtus ve-hevel.

    The issue is not will there be a few megarich uneducated Chassidim, just as the issue is not whether a few inner city kids will become rich rap stars or basketball players. The issue is, will your average person be able to support even a small family, let alone a huge one? Will he be able to do it with minimal English and without relying on government aid programs that – let’s face it – may disappear one day? This is the plan, to become B & H?

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