Thursday, November 26, 2009

Women throughout Jewish history...

I was Emailed this link from one of my readers:

I'm not sure how reliable it is, being from Wiki and all.

I went to something at MJE one time one euthenasia, suicide and whether or not you can withhold medical treatment. I mention this because I want to point out this was not a class on women in Jewish history or anything of that nature. Yet, many of the examples set forth by the rabbi would double to make my point.

One examples comes from a woman who wanted to die. She said she was soooooooo old and it was just time. So, the rabbi she went to asked her how she got to be so old. She said it was because she goes to shul everyday. He said that she should stop. The next day she did not go and she passed on.

The next example the comes to mind is about a great rabbi that was in a lot of pain. He had to make many trips to the latrine everyday. This was back when the men used to wear the Tefillin all day, not just for morning davening. So, in addition to how it was painful for his insides, his hands would hurt or shake or something to where putting the Tefillin back on and taking it off again was particularly trying for him. His female aid saw this. However, the men would be downstairs constantly praying for him. So, this female went to the roof and dropped and alabaster something or other. When it shattered, it disrupted the prayers for a second and the man was able to die.

Now, these examples were used again, NOT to support a woman's role as a human, but to support ideas regarding medical practices. Yet they seem to support and acknowledge a way of life where women are treated and thought of in a more positive light than most certainly the men in Boro Park or Mea Sharim. Even the yeshivish world poo-poos women going to shul. In Queens, it's socially acceptable for them to attend on Shabbos. However, in Brooklyn, even attending on Shabbos is frowned upon. Parents say, "my daughter sleeps in." with a tone of voice like you just asked her to go to a nightclub with you instead of synagogue services. Only the Modern Orthodox accept women in shul during the week. I used to attend during the week. They were Yeshivish but, it was a Young Israel so, that may have had something to do with it.

1 comment:

  1. The last example that you cited is actually commonly told (even here in Boro Park), and I've always understood it to be that she actually jumped off of the roof herself, and died. Those who were around to comment said that her act sent her straight to Gan Eden because of the complete mesiras nefesh that she had. This is because women have greater binah, and so they see the world in a truer light, so she was able to see what the men around her could not see (again, this is coming from the Boro Park telling of the story).

    As far as women attending shul, I don't think that it is frowned upon for women to show up on Shabbos, especially not during the day. In the two shuls where I daven, women commonly come during the day, and some also come at night. It isn't discouraged at all, just not many women do it. A man can't really say much, since he wouldn't even know if they came or not. My mother, aunts, and their friends like that they don't have to go to shul (not that they aren't allowed to) because they like the freedom it allows.

    (I often feel that when I comment or even simply read your blog, that I am automatically on the defensive, since such broad generalizations are made with a perspective that is foreign to the community that is being looked at.)