Glory and Egalitarianism

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  1. Bob Miller says:


    About the beracha “… Who made me according to His Will.”—

    1. Who wrote it and when?

    2. If this was later than those authored by Rabbi Meir, why the delay?

    3. Do we believe that men have more aptitude than women for high-level Torah study (incl. Gemara, etc.), or only that, typically, they and not women have the time available to do it right?

  2. micha says:

    WRT men, the siddur was written and we were told to say it. WRT women, there is no obligation to daven the siddur — any adaptations would be post-facto.

    The Tur (OC 46) says “she’asani kirtzono” is something women were nohagos (“ונהגו הנשים לברך שעשאני כרצונו”). IOW, a grass roots coinage for the women by the women. The SA (46:4) describes it as though it’s halakhah (“והנשים מברכות: שעשני כרצונו”); so it would seem to have become minhag slightly before the Tur and finalized as inviolate minhag Yisrael by the SA’s day.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    What about my item 3. ?

  4. micha says:

    Who said either? Men are obligated in Torah study. Who said we do it any better or that we have more time for it? What would be implied is “only” that souls that require study in a more fundamental role for accomplishing their goal in life are those born as men.

    I did write a while back about how women tend toward more binah and less da’as makes them less prone to being good poseqim. In the hands of Qabbalah, da’as is the synthesis of chokhmah and binah, and thus something learned or deduced, but also an alternative to Keser — shadowing the source of chokhmah and binah. I therefore suggested that da’as is learned thinking skills. As opposed to binah, which is understanding one thing from another. Thus, women are less constrained by da’as, the norms of the discipline, which gives them more room for putting ideas together. But that’s not what pesaq requires. Pesaq requires developing the halakhah as per the halakhah’s own rules for and style of development.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    How would you deal conceptually with “outliers” , namely, those women who are daas-oriented? Can you conceive of an outlier in this sense at all? Should an outlier be under social pressure to submerge individuality?

  6. micha says:

    I’m not sure what the conceptual problem is… Halakhah can’t be based on exceptional cases, so they can’t have formal authority. If their argument has merit within the halachic system, someone who formally has that authority will be convinced by it and thereby make it law.

    Sociologically, the special cases did find ways to express themselves.

    I also think that a daas oriented woman learned to compensate for an underlying lack more than an outlier in terms of natural ability. I’m speaking as someone who is inherently dyslexic, but read well above grade level all through school, and have few problems with reading speed or comprehension today. It doesn’t mean I’m no longer dyslexic.

  7. Bob Miller says:

    I see no reason to grant the daas-oriented woman halachic authority. But can we permit her anyway to learn at the level she can handle?

  8. micha says:

    We have from time immemorial. But Beruriah, the Maiden of Lumzer, or Rebbetzin Kaniefsky aren’t held up as examples for a new norm. (For that matter, Prof Nechamah Leibowitz didn’t personally believe many of the feminist notions she is cited as an example of. She didn’t even vote, as she held like Rav Kook that it would be a violation of “‘melekh’ velo malkah”! I think she saw herself as an exception, not a role model for the majority of women.)


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