Sunday, July 30, 2006

Women's rights in Torah

The idea that the Torah violates women’s rights is based on three mistakes, and is easily shown to be based on bias and influences of the secular world, as opposed to logic and honesty.

Mistake Number 1: There is nothing in the Torah that treats women in any negative way. The idea that there is, is based on a lack of understanding of Torah, and the Christian impression that righteous women being “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

Men wear Tefillin, women do not. Women must dress tzniusdik, men do not (at least not in the same manner as women). Yet there is no difference, holiness-wise, between what a man must wear – his Tefillin and Tzitzis – and what a woman must wear – long skirts and shatilach. The assumption that Tefillin and Tzitzis are holy items that confer nobility on the wearer, but chaste clothing is a restriction designed to subjugate women is false. Both Tefillin and skirts are mere items of clothing, worn on the outside; and both are imbued with holiness. The only reason people think differently is because they are predisposed to the Christian idea of Tznius.

In Judaism, Tznius is grounded in the posuk in Tehillim: Kol kevuda bas melech penimah, which means that a Jewish woman is a princess, and is entitled and expected to be treated thusly. And just as the Queen of England cannot walk around the streets of Soho in jeans, so too can the Daughters of Hashem not be expected to appear in a manner unbefitting of their high stature.

Of course, the Yetzer Horah uses the secular mind-set to convince people that the Torah’s intentions are just the opposite of what they really are, no different from the blood libel that convinced people – and incidentally, it is coming back in certain circles in the American Midwest! – that Jews eat blood, which is absolutely forbidden to them.

This is the result of Jews who live Halachicly but do not bother to inculcate themselves with the Jewish Hashkafos. If they would go beyond their narrow, pick-and-choose Judaism, this would not be a problem. If they would bother to understand the hashkafa behind Tznius, they would not have this problem. It is merely because they see the outer legalities of Tznius only, and they project what they see onto their own misbegotten Hashkofos that they put 1 and 1 together and make 4.

Tell them that the Torah is not only Halachah, that if they want to create their own religion that only includes “laws” without the ides behind them, or laws behind which are their own, man-made interpretations, that’s on e thing. But don’t blame the Torah.

It’s like saying the Torah endorses idol worship. For doesn’t it say in the Torah “And you shall worship idols” (“v’avaditem elohim acheirim”)? Of course it does! But you need to look at what surrounds those words and just the opposite idea emerges: “And if you do not follow these laws, you will veer away from the Path, and you shall worship idols”! So, too, it’s not enough just to look at the Halachah, and it is not enough just to live Halachicly. The Torah also has its Hashkafos, and without them, the whole Torah is twisted into just the opposite of what it really is.

Another example: Women cannot get aliyos in Shul, they cannot perform synagogue services, and they cannot even be seen by the men. This bothers some under-Hashkafizcized people, for no good reason. Here, too, the concept of synagogue life has been secularized, just as has Tznius, and foreign Hashkafos have been projected onto the Halachos of the Bais Hakneses.

The center of Torah life takes place not in the synagogue but at home. It used to be, that the home was the hustle and bustle of Jewish living, and the synagogue, often not more than a “shteible” was a place where men went to discharge their obligation to pray with a minyan, and to hear a class. No women were desirous or resentful of that, because the synagogue was not the royal representative of Jewish life. The home was. The home, where the bringing up of our children takes place, where our holy traditions are handed down to the next generation, where the Shabbos table radiates every week with a light that outshines ten thousand suns.

Where the next generation of Talmidei Chachamim are fed, clothed, bathed, and taught that Hashem loves them so much that even while they sleep, Hashem “stands beside” their beds watching over them, and so they say “Shema” and “Hamapil” every night right after they get tucked in. And they are taught that even when they wake up, Hashem is there, eagerly awaiting their beautiful brachos and bentching, and so they say “Modeh Ani” as soon as they open their eyes.

The home is the place where the heart of Jewish life throbs. And there, the Jewish woman reigns supreme. While her husband is out making a living, she is running the holiest sanctuary in the world. There was no way that she would be envious of her man’s trips every morning and evening out of the home-sanctuary to the shtieble to fulfill his personal obligations to pray with a quorum of 9 other men.

But that changed. The secularization of Judaism and the weakening of Jewish homes in many circles have transferred the center of Jewish life to the synagogue. What once was – and still is, in more Hashkafically aware Jewish circles – the Holy of Holies of Judaism has become a place where newspapers, novels, televisions, and radios are the primary sources of entertainment; where the more a woman can “get out” to “do something” such as sit in a movie theater, the more of a “life” she thinks she has. Where taking care of children is considered merely a necessity and an obligation – albeit a labor of love – instead of the ultimate Avodas Hashem.

The homes today have been transformed by the secular mind-set, to the point where the center of Jewish life has become the synagogue, and anyone who cannot equally participate in its programs is someone who cannot equally be part of Judaism.

Here, too, “Halachic Judaism” is an obstacle to Torah life, for nowhere in Halachah does it say your home must be a Holy of Holies, and it is merely (sic) a Hashkafa that deems the Jewish home the center of Jewish life.

But it is the Torah’s Hashkafa. And if you would like to replace it with your own Hashkafa, don’t blame the Torah for the inadequacies of your own monster-religion created by your picking and choosing what parts of Jewish Theology you would like to live with.

No woman in her right mind, who understands Torah Hashkafa, would ever feel that her “rights” are being violated.

That’s mistake number 1.

Mistake number 2: The whole idea of some people being treated inferior only makes sense if Hashem created men and women, and then decided how he is going to treat them. “If this person is a woman”, He would say to Himself, “I will treat her worse than I treat the man”. But it makes no sense if you understand things the way they are, namely, that Hashem could have made every woman a man. Every Rachel Rosenberg could have been a Robert Rosenberg; every Leah could have been a Larry; every Jennifer a Joseph.

When Hashem creates a person, He looks at a generic, asexual, formless and indistinguishable Neshoma, and says, “What shall this soul's life consist of?”

So Hashem peers into the core personality of this Neshoma, not the parts that He adds, but the parts that a person makes of himself, and He then decides what the best world-situation would be for this generic soul-stuff.

“Well”, Hashem may say, “This person should have the opportunity to give a lot of charity, as well as the temptation not to give it. That is a good thing for this particular person.”

So Hashem will make him wealthy, but also miserly.

“It would be good for this person to search for Judaism on his own. He would be willing to do that, and he can be successful”. So Hashem makes him born to a non-religious family.

Every single detail of a person’s life (except of course whether he will be a Tzadik or Rasha) is determined before he is born; every temptation, trial and tribulation that he will encounter in the world, is calculated with precision accuracy by Hashem. And the human being IS CUSTOM DESIGNED TO BEST PERFORM THE PARTICULAR NISYONOS THAT HASHEM DEEMS BEST FOR HIM.

“I want this person to have a nisayon to defend a certain fellow Jew on this-and-this day and this-and-this place, from an anti-Semitic bully”.

So Hashem will give him muscles to be able to do it.

“Do I want this person to be a Talmid Chacham? Do I want this person to bring up children? Do I want this person to learn Gemora? Do I want this person to go through the pains of pregnancy? Do I want this person to go to a Bais Yaakov or a Yeshiva?”

If “this” is what I want, says Hashem, I will therefore make her a female. If on the other hand, “this” is what I want, he will be a male.

Hashem knows before he creates everyone what the specific Halachos in Shulchan Aruch are for males and females. And Kohanim, and Leviim, and Yisroelim.

And so based on what Hashem decides is best for the particular person, that’s how he shall be created.

It makes no more sense to complain that Hashem treats women worse than men than it does to complain that Hashem treats any human being better or worse than another. If someone is poor, we all know that that’s the will of Hashem. If someone lives during the depression, would anyone think he has the right to complain to G-d that he is being treated unfairly?

If someone is born without an arm, can we say G-d is unfair?

Obviously, we know that G-d has His reasons for giving everyone their lot in life, and if G-d gives me my lot, I know its best for me. It does not mean that G-d values someone else more because He “treated them better.”

So it is not that G-d said “You’re a woman, therefore you cannot lead synagogue services.” Rather, G-d said, “I do not want leading the synagogue services to be your lot in life. Therefore I will make you a woman.”

If we accept that G-d created everyone in the exact fashion that He wanted, not because c”v he was forced to, it is impossible to ask such a question.

We can prove that this question is the result of secular influences and not honest thinking simply by asking the question why it bothers them that G-d treats women worse than men, but it does not bother them that G-d treats poor people worse than the rich? Unintelligent people worse than the intelligent? People born in Bangladesh worse than people born in America? Whatever answer they have for those questions also applies to the way Hashem treats women as opposed to men.

Mistake #3: Who decides what “rights” anyone has anyway? And what do “rights” have to do with the fact that exercising some of those “rights” may not be good for you? The Torah proscribes what is bad for your soul. It does not force you to fulfill it. Therefore, it does not remove any “rights”. If I say that smoking is bad for your health, I am not depriving you of your “right” to smoke, and if I say wearing pants is bad for your soul I am not depriving you of that “right” (sic). Here, too, we see that the question is based on the assumption that The Torah is not the true word of G-d. Once we establish that the Torah came from Hashem, we certainly understand that revelation of what is detrimental to your soul is not a contradiction to what you perceive as your “human rights”.

I have a question. The way you are looking at this, are women’s rights the only “rights” that the Torah takes away? How about freedom of religion? Isn’t that a basic human right? Certainly the Torah does not allow us to practice whatever religion we want. Can we say, “The Torah takes away our right to freedom of Religion”? Can we say it takes away our right to eat what we want? To do what we want, as long as we do not harm others? The Torah, all of it, reveals things that you cannot do. Of all the “rights” that she possesses, that the Torah does not allow her to “exercise”, why is women’s “rights” the only thing that bothers people?

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The Morning Brachos are the way we thank Hashem for bestowing upon us special Mitzvos that others do not have. A Goy, and Eved and an Isha have less Mitzvos than a Jew, a free man, and a male. So those who were created with more Torah obligations thank Hashem for them.

As far as any controversy goes, the Brachah of Sheloh Asani Isha didn't create any controversy. People did. If people would be intellectually honest and bother to understand the Torah there wouldn’t be any problems. The general rule is, Yesharim Darchei Hashem Tzadikim Yalchu Bam Ureshaim Yikashlu Bam, meaning, we do the right thing - here it entails giving people the privilege of thanking Hashem for the extra Mitzvos a male is responsible for - we give people the honest and fair opportunity to gain. If they choose to, that's their choice. If they willingly refuse to, that’s their choice.

I once saw a different explanation, that when Hashem created Adam, He later changed him, by removing a rib and making Chava. But when Chava was created she was a "finished product" with no need for modifications. "She'asani kirtzono" means that Hashem made woman according to His will, meaning His ultimate desire, as opposed to man who when he was created was not yet the way Hashem wanted him.

While it is true that since everything Hashem does is the best for the particular person to whom it is done, and so it is true that it is better for girls to be girls, and boys to be boys, by the same token, it is better for poor people to be poor and rich to be rich; sick to be sick and healthy to be healthy; slaves to be slaves and free men to be free men. Yet we do not thank Hashem for our individual gam zu letovah situations.

If we did, women could make shelo asani ish; slaves could make shelo asani ben chorin, etc. It doesn't work like that. We make a bracha only when our situation is not only the best for us, but when Hashem deems that what is best for us is something extra in terms of opportunity or shefa.

The question is not that women should thank G-d for not having the men's mitzvos, but rather that they should thank G-d for being on such a high spiritual level that they don’t need them to create the "connection", as you put it, with Hashem. The fact that the Mitzvos won't harm them doesn't answer that.

Second, there is no such thing that a person does not need Torah and Mitzvos to connect to Hashem. There is no other way in the world to do that. If women do not need Mitzvos to connect to Hashem, what do they need?

Don't forget also - G-d created us in this world in order to grow beyond the status with which we were created. To say that woman, or anyone else, was created closer to Hashem and therefore needs less Mitzvos makes no sense, because the goal is not to be close to Hashem but rather to work, on your own, to enhance whatever closeness you were created with. So even if there were such a thing that women were created closer to Hashem (which there isn't), that would not lessen the amount of Mitzvos that they would be assigned in this world. Because at the end of their life, only the Mitzvos that they perform will get them Gan Eden - not because they were created close to Hashem.

The idea that women are closer to Hashem and therefore don't need Mitzvos to make the connection is not only wrong, but if it were true, it would be very unfair to women, because in the next world, the way you were created doesn't matter at all - just the Mizvos that you did matter.

And for the record, that interpretation of the phrase "shelo asani" as opposed to "she'asani" (that it is because noach lo shelo nivra) is but one opinion in the achronim, and certainly not to be understood k'pshuto, because it contradicts one of the fundementals of our religion, namely, that everything Hashem does is best for us. Kol davdin min shemeya l'tav. And that’s not only an isolated Chazal - its a major theme throughout our tradition, as well as a fundamental "trait", kivyachol of Hashem - that He is all good. So it makes no sense to say that it would be better for us had we not been born.

The Maharsha says on that Gemora that all it means is that since there are more aveiros (lo sasin) than Mitzvos (esin), the odds are objectively against our success. But, as he points out, the Gemora adds: "but now that he is created, let him take stock in his deeds", meaning, he says, that Hashem has given us the ability to beat the odds if we choose to do so through our Bechirah.

So the Gemora does not mean that at all.

Now the question is, what to do with the Taz (who mentions noach lo shelo nivra as the reason for the negative phrase). That's a good question, and it needs a good answer. But what is definitely not the answer is anything that involves the idea that G-d did us a disservice by creating us. That is not possible, nor can it be what the Gemora means. As Rav Chaim Brisker used to say, "It is better to remain with a hard question than to give a bad answer."

We really have no choice but to reinterpret the Taz, either today or when we figure out how. But as it is, it’s a tzorich iyun.

Now here's a suggestion: Let's say the Taz agrees with the Maharsha that Noach lo shelo nivrah merely means that without manual intervention on the part of man, the odds are against his success. Therefore, whether our life is good or bad for us depends on what WE make of it. The opportunity for success is what Hashem bestows upon us when we are born. And that opportunity is definitely to our benefit. We can mess it up, or we can fulfill it. This particular gam zu letovah is the potential for success; the actual is in our hands.

Therefore, the Taz is saying, thanking Hashem for giving us an opportunity while at the same time we squander that opportunity and make it into something bad for us makes no sense. Imagine someone giving you a job, and you steal form the cash register, then you go thanking your boss for giving you the opportunity to work for him. Ain zeh mevorech - elah menaetz - kind of like making a brachah on treif food - you’re thanking Hashem for the opportunity to rebel against Him.

So until we live our lives the way we should, we cannot make a Brachah thanking Hashem for giving us life. Chazal surely would not institute a universal brachah for all of Klall Yisroel like that. Instead, we thank Hashem shelo asani this or shelo asani that - not that He made us, but that He didn’t make us in a less desirable way.

So in the end, it is because of Noach lo shelo nivrah - that our existence in this world can be detrimental to us (if we cause it to be) that we cannot thank Hashem for putting us in this world. But it does not chas vsholom mean that Hashem's creating us was in and of itself detrimental. That cannot be.

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The prohibition for women to speak for men can be derived from the Din that prohibits women who are obligated to Bentch gomel to do so in front of men due to Tznius reasons. There are many customs as to what a woman who needs to Bentsch Gomel does, but everyone agrees it is improper for her to do so in front of men. If the Halachah is so regarding an obligatory statement of hers, certainly it would be so regarding a plain speech or Dvar Torah.

The Mishna Brura and Kaf HaCHaim say merely that there is no prohibition of Kol Isha if the woman is not singing. That’s fine, but Kol Isha isn’t the problem here. The problem here is the lack of Tznius involved when a woman gets up and speaks in front of a multitude of men, being the center of attention while doing so. There were a number of instances when women spoke for a group of men in the "olden days" but it was through a Mechitzah. That would not be problematic. In fact, the source I cited for prohibiting was the fact that we do not allow women to bentch gomel in front of men in Shul for Tznius reasons. Yet there is a legitimate Minhag that women bentch from behind the Mechitzah.

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One could walk into the Bais Hamikdash and see the Kohen Godol offering sacrifices and say "I am glad I don’t have to be a butcher all day like that man", for all he does is chop up and roasts meat (oh - he also sprinkles blood around, now and then). The fact that a woman is busy with children does not make her job any less desirable, if you understand its value. When a woman cooks for her family, she is doing avodah similar to that of the Kohen Gadol roasting a Korbon; when she breaks up a fight between her kids, she is doing Avodas Hashem similar to that of Moshe Rabbeinu when Yisro noticed the nation coming to him to settle their grievances. I don't think Yisro would have understood a brachah "shelo asani moshe". Hashem gives each of us our way of Avodas Hashem - women's avodah is holy as well. And sometimes it’s hard, but l'gfum tzaarah agra - plus, it is a labor of love.

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Of course women don't need more mitzvos than they have - otherwise Hashem would have given them what they need. But the fact that you don’t need more mitzvos doesn’t make you spiritually higher. A Kohen, then, would be spiritually lower than a yisroel, and a mamzer and eved spiritually higher than a regular Jew. Not to mention a goy.

The Mishna in Horios says that if two people are in danger and you can only save one, you should save first the person who has more mitzvos. This means, kohanim over yisraelim, men over women, regular Jews over mamzerim (then Chazal say that a Talmid Chacham, even a mamzer, gets precedence over even a Kohen Gadol who is an am haaretz).

I think this idea came from a misreading of something written by R. Samson Raphael Hirsch. But otherwise, I haven’t a clue where this idea comes from.

The 613 mitzvos correspond to the 613 limbs in the body. Each Mitzvah "fixes" a different part of you. And therefore, all of us need to somehow connect to all of the Mitzvos in order to be spiritually whole. We do this by supporting and loving and helping those Jews who do actively have Mitzvos that we do not. And by learning about those Mitzvos.

But girls, the Gemora says, have only one way to connect to the Mitzvah of Torah learning, which is so important that without it we cannot merit the next world. Women merit Torah by supporting and waiting for their husbands and children who go to the Bais Hamedrash to learn.

Women do indeed need the Mitzvah of Torah, even though they are not commanded in it. The way they "get" the Mitzvah is by supporting those who are.

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The Rambam writes that anyone in the world - including women - can be as great a Tzadik as Moshe Rabbeinu.

Women do not have as many Mitzvos as men.

Among men, Yisroelim do not have as many Mitzvos as Leviim.

Leviim do not have as many Mitzvos as Kohanim.

People who were born during the times of the Bais Hamikdosh have more mitzvos than those who are born during golus.

A first-born has more mitzvos than someone not first born.

Yet all of them can be as great a Tzadik as Moshe Rabbeinu, because your level of righteousness does not depend on how many Mitzvos you do but how well you pass the tests that are given to you.

And it is more fair, not less, that everyone should get different tests, each according to their particular strengths.

Imagine a teacher who knows which students do best with essays, which do best with multiple choice, which do best with plain questions.

The teacher also knows how much time each student had to study, and what distractions there were in his or her life.

Imagine a teacher that knew all the factors that make up each individual student, and then custom made tests for all of them, each one according to his and her own particular individual circumstances.

Some people would have more questions, some less, some one type of questions, some others. Some students would take the test in the morning, some at night, some in a classroom, and some in a garden.

But at the end, if you get a 100 on your test, whatever it may be, you get the "A".

That would me the only really, really fair way to give tests, but our teachers can't do that. After all, they're not G-d.

But G-d is G-d. And He knows what each individual needs in this world for a perfectly fair test. How many Mitzvos, how many temptations, where, when, and how. In every single detail that matters.

Those details, the custom-made best test for you, will become the different circumstances in your life, including the amount of Mitzvos you will be obligated to do, the type of Mitzvos, when, how, and with whom.

But if you get a 100% on your particular test, you get a "tzadik" degree, as valid as anyone else who got a 100% on a different test.

So tell your friend that she shouldn't be jealous of someone else's test. That if Hashem would give everyone the same test, that would be unfair. It's much fairer to give everyone their own individualized tests.

So if she wants, she can wish, foolishly, to take a test that was designed for someone else. But tell her that she hasn't the foggiest chance of doing as well, or getting as fair a deal, as if she would take the test that Hashem custom made for her.

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If you are assuming that Orthodox Judaism was created by men, then who has a right to treat women and men differently? - but since G-d wrote the Torah, there is no longer a question of fair, since G-d knows what's good for everyone. Why don't people ask why it's fair that only women can get certain sicknesses and not men? Or that only women have to go through the pain of having children?

See, everyone understands that male bodies and female bodies are different and physically they are not "treated" the same. So too the male and female souls are not the same either, and they are subject to different spiritual realities. A woman can only be divorced if a man gives her a Get, just like she has to bother nursing the baby while the man can go to the ballgame.

It's all the "custom life" concept above. "Fair" does not mean "treated equal".

If G-d wanted any particular woman not to be an Agunah, He could have tons of ways to accomplish that. Like the husband can die of a heart attack for instance. Any time someone does something bad to you it is your particular Nisayon, from Heaven. That's why revenge is silly, says the Sefer HaChinuch, because everything that happens to you in the world is from G-d. (Of course, this does not alleviate the person who hurt you from the blame, since he "volunteered" for the job of hurting you.)

Nobody asks why people born slaves are treated unfairly as opposed to people who are born free. That is because they understand that G-d runs the world and we can't "question" His plans. An Agunah is in the same type of predicament as a slave -- chained, in a way. It's sad, and we should do all we can to help them, just as we should, all mistreated people in the world.

But at the same time, there is no reason for us to question the particular mistreatment of Agunos more than we do any other mistreatment, if we accept that G-d wrote the Torah.

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Women have Mitzvos, right? Same as men. So why would someone wonder about the role of women in Yiddishkeit more than the role of men? Isn’t their role to fulfill their Mitzvos and the Divrei Chazal that apply to them, just like their male counterparts?
What I'm getting from the posts is that there's kind of a disconnect between what a woman's role is "officially" versus what a woman's experience and education seems to indicate. This causes confusion.

No question about it. Girls go to high school and study hard (let's say) for Chumash tests, staying up late and night figuring out the meaning of the ibn Exras and Rambans. Then they get married to a Kollel guy, have children, and assume the role of Akeres HaBayis, possibly never to open an Ibn Ezra again.

You learn how Midos is the most important thing in the world, yet on the report card, you can have a half dozen red, circled "daleds" because you failed your academic subjects, and the fact that you’re the most righteous baals midos in the world is hardly documented.

I know about this - it is an issue. In more Chassidishe circles, girls are brought up more in line with their ultimate roles as wives and mothers, and therefore, in those circles, you will not hear any girls asking "what is my role" - it's pretty clear.

So you don't really mean to ask "What is a woman's role" in Judaism. You mean to ask "Which is the real women's role in Judaism?" -- the one we learn about or the one we experience - the Akeres HaBayis or the High School valedictorian?

The answer is the Akeres HaBayis. And ideally, your upbringing would reflect that; a century ago, it would have. Problem was, girls were getting influenced by Haskalah and secularism and we had to counter it with a good dose of Torah education for girls. That's how the Beis Yackov movement started. It wasn't ideal, but it was needed. if you wish, you can say it was ideal for these times.

But, like all horaos shah, the edge between the ideal (l'chatchilah) and the necessity (b'dieved) gets blurred. Sometimes Horaas Shash is obviously worth the price we pay; sometimes it is obviously not worth it. Often, it needs the hachraah of Gedolei Yisroel. This was such a case, and there were Gedolim who were against the BY movement for that and other similar reasons.

However, most Gedolei Yisroel, especially the Litvishe Gedolim, first and foremost among them the Chofetz Chaim ZTL, were in favor of organized education for girls, and the By movement was enthusiastically embraced.

Medicine often has side effects, but we take it anyway.

And here we are now, 100 years later, and you are feeling the "side effects". Rav Shach ZTL and others have stated that a BY school that teaches too many Meforshim has gone too far, and has crossed the line into what they are not allowed to teach. others, such as the Satmar Rebbe ZTL write that even the Chofetz Chaim never intended for girls to learn Meforshim in the first place.

At the other extreme, certain institutions have gone totally beyond the bounds of what is permitted, and have started teaches girls Gemora, which has led to Modern orthodox women writing teshuvos and paskening shailos, deciding which Poskim are correct and which are not!

But everybody agrees that whatever you are being taught, the ultimate goal is to instill Yiras Shamayim and a fiery commitment to your role as an Akeres HaBayis. No matter how big a melumedes you are, Chazal's statement applies to you:

How do women merit the next world? By supporting their husbands and children in their learning.

There are women - melumodos and not - who fulfill this role royally. If I may mention a name, Rebitzen Zahava Braunstein a"h was one of them (I may as well also mention that she was the main consultant to frumteens.com regarding advice regarding seminaries). See http://www.frumteens.com/topic.php?topic_id=7339

There are many others as well.

All the academics and experiences in your BY education is meant to direct you and teach you how to fulfill your ultimate role as an Aishes Chayil and Akeres Habayis, but it is not meant as a microcosm of that role.

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If a boy has inappropriate thoughts about a girl, she is punished only if she violates the rules of Tznius; thereby putting the boy in a worse Nisayon than Hashem never intended him to be in.

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There is a machlokes regarding the purpose, and therefore minimum size, of a mechitza. Many poskim hold that a mehitza's purpose is to make sure you can’t see the women. According to them the Mechitza has to be as tall as the tallest woman, basically. Others hold that the purpose of the Mechitza is to prevent mingling. They hold the Mechitza has to be 5 feet tall.

However, everyone agrees that you cannot daven in front of women who are improperly dressed. Therefore, if you are davening in a shul where you can see the women, and they’re not dressed according to halachah, you can’t daven there according to everyone. The 5 foot mechitza is only meant if the women are all dressed tzniusdik.

In practice, you should not daven in a place with a Mechitza that allows you to see the women if it can be avoided. There are poskim who hold that it is better to daven alone, even on Yom Kippur, than in such a place. Others would be more lenient. You should therefore try hard to avoid the situation if possible.

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Even though single women are considered Niddos Halachicly because they do not go to the Mikvah, regarding this particular item, they do not go to the cemetery only if they are actually having their period. The reason is because this is not a Halachic problem but a Kabbalistic one, and therefore subject to different guidelines.

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The Rama rules that women may not wear Tefillin. All poskim after him have accepted that, and - this is important - the excepted custom is that women do not put on Tefilin. Now look at the Targum Yonason on Lo Yilbash Gever, where he says a woman may not put on Tefillin because it is a man's garment.

Secondly, you need to understand how Halachah works. Once the Poskim all accept the ruling of the Rama, which they have, it doesn’t matter what Tannaim or individual stories once happened. We follow the accepted Halachic practice.

Moreover, the Rama's reasoning is that women are not able to maintain the proper thoughts for Tefillin. That being the case, this would apply more and more as the generations progress (or: regress, rather). So it would prove nothing if individual women in ancient times put on Tefillin or if certain authorities in ancient times allowed it. The issue is, the Rama says they would not allow it today.

And the idea that women can maintain such a level as good as men won’t work either. First, if the Rama says they cannot, then you will have to prove that they can. And second, men are obligated to put on Tefillin, and therefore even if it is difficult for them to maintain such a level, we have no choice, since it is a Mitzvah D'Oraisa for them to do it.

It's like when the Gemora says that really we would not allow men into the Bais Medrash unless they are "toch k'baro", but since there is a Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, we must.

Or --- the reason men do not put on Tefillin all day is because we cannot maintain this level. However, we have to put on Tefillin some time since there is an obligation to do so. Women who have no such obligation are no better than men the rest of the day. Meaning, they do not put it on.

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Women do not make Kiddush Levana. The reason is because the aveirah of Chava was responsible for the moon getting shrunk, and so women are ashamed to "face" the moon during Kiddush Levana.
In some Seforim it seems to say that the same Tumah that caused the shrinking of the moon was instilled in Chava when the Nachash convinced her to sin. That would explain their "embarrassment" at the shrunken moon. But I can't say for sure that this is the correct answer for why they are embarrassed. The reason for women not doing Kidush Levana that I cited above is given by the Shelah.

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