the role of women in judaism

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nlwright
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the role of women in judaism

Post by nlwright »

i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure :))

there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

thank you.
mikeinie
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the role of women in judaism

Post by mikeinie »

nlwright;1177798 wrote: i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure :))

there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

thank you.


The fact that you have to ask proves that we are correct..... now go to the back of the synagogue
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Oscar Namechange
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Oscar Namechange »

mikeinie;1177803 wrote: The fact that you have to ask proves that we are correct..... now go to the back of the synagogue Yeah and clean everyone's shoes while your out there.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. R.L. Binyon
qsducks
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the role of women in judaism

Post by qsducks »

oscar;1177806 wrote: Yeah and clean everyone's shoes while your out there.


:yh_rotfl:yh_rotfl:yh_rotfl
nlwright
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the role of women in judaism

Post by nlwright »

i have to ask because i do not know. does anyone here know or am i just wasting my time? perhaps another forum might be better. how can i hope to get answers from jews or peoples of other faiths if those people are going to be ridiculed and antagonized into not wanting to be here?

is this disrespectful treatment tolerated?
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Oscar Namechange
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Oscar Namechange »

nlwright;1177913 wrote: i have to ask because i do not know. does anyone here know or am i just wasting my time? perhaps another forum might be better. how can i hope to get answers from jews or peoples of other faiths if those people are going to be ridiculed and antagonized into not wanting to be here?

is this disrespectful treatment tolerated? I'm afraid our humour some-times over-rides our manners.

I hope you get the answers you're looking for. There are some religeous posters here so i hope they can answer for you. :-6
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. R.L. Binyon
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Clint
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Clint »

nlwright;1177798 wrote: i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure :))

there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

thank you.


Judaism like nearly all religions comes in many flavors. You can find sects that allow women to become a Rabbi and there are those who wouldn’t think of it.

The reason a man would pray to God thanking God for not making him a woman is simply saying he is thankful God made him a man. Even though it isn’t okay in western culture, it is okay to be a man and you can even be happy that you are one. In spite of western culture I am thankful to God I was created a man and not a woman. If I was a woman I would say I was thankful I was created a woman.

At the time the idea of women being unclean during menstruation the modern hygiene aids we have today were not available.

In most sects of Judaism you will find women held in high esteem as you will in many traditional Christian sects. The confusion comes from trying to apply everyone’s values to those of today’s western culture. Men and women are different and they are respected for their differences in other cultures and religions in ways we don’t understand. You won’t find honor killings or the extreme physical abuse of women in Judaism that exists in some other religions.

I'm sure there are others who can give you more insight. I hope this helps.
Schooling results in matriculation. Education is a process that changes the learner.
nlwright
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the role of women in judaism

Post by nlwright »

i think that does help. i may have misunderstood because the prayer also includes thankfulness for not being a gentile and thankfulness for not being a slave. the prayer explicitly gives thanks for NOT being a woman. isn't that significant? why not just say "thank you for making me a man" and be done with it? why even mention women? furthermore why not be thankful for jewishness and thankful for freedom? it looks an awful lot like there is reason to be more thankful for avoiding these unlucky conditions than to be thankful for the conditions with which one is actually blessed. also i found out that this is a prayer intended to be said every morning to start the day. so this is some kind of daily affirmation.

as far as women being considered "unclean" because of menstruation, there were many ancient cultures that regarded a woman's menstrual blood as magical and holy...bleeding without pain, cycles in tune with the moon cycles, creation of life etc. these cultures also did not have access to modern hygiene aids but they somehow revered women for menstruating. it seems to me that the idea of women being unclean at menstruation came from monotheistic, patriarchal religions. why those religions and not the older religions? i can't help but think this is a reflection of the attitude those religions have towards women.

being a woman, it is difficult not to take such a statement personally. perhaps this is not a modern attitude of jewish faith. if not, is this prayer still said every day? are there sects of judaism that have rejected the notion of female uncleanliness or male superiority in a formal way? perhaps they are the same ones who allow female rabbis? i would like to learn more about them.
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Clint
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Clint »

Gentiles, slaves and women all have burdens to bear that a Jewish male would be thankful he doesn’t have. I’m very thankful for not having to go through the pain of bearing a child and I am also thankful I don't have to deal with menstruation. If I’m born a Jew, I’m very thankful I’m a Jew and not a Gentile as many who are born a gentile are thankful they aren’t Jews.
Schooling results in matriculation. Education is a process that changes the learner.
nlwright
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the role of women in judaism

Post by nlwright »

conversely i feel blessed with menstruation, the natural cleansing of my body, which is a symbol of my ability (and not a man's) to bring forth new life. i feel blessed that i have felt new life stirring inside of me and being nourished by me. the pain of childbirth represents the rite of passage into motherhood, a most holy and blessed stage of life. also, childbirth pain is not as bad as many people would have you think (and as everyone told me). it is a useful pain that results in the beauty of new life, making that life even more sacred and cherished because of the sacrifice made for it. i am special and honoured because i am a woman and a mother.

yet, if i were a jewish woman i, and everything i touch, would be considered unclean for the act of childbirth, and doubly so if i should give birth to a girl-child who will ultimately be able to bring forth the blessing of new life. the blood i bleed is responsible for all of human existence and yet it is considered "unclean". why is woman's blood, the blood of life, unclean but a man's blood is not?
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Clint
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Clint »

nlwright;1182365 wrote: conversely i feel blessed with menstruation, the natural cleansing of my body, which is a symbol of my ability (and not a man's) to bring forth new life. i feel blessed that i have felt new life stirring inside of me and being nourished by me. the pain of childbirth represents the rite of passage into motherhood, a most holy and blessed stage of life. also, childbirth pain is not as bad as many people would have you think (and as everyone told me). it is a useful pain that results in the beauty of new life, making that life even more sacred and cherished because of the sacrifice made for it. i am special and honoured because i am a woman and a mother.

yet, if i were a jewish woman i, and everything i touch, would be considered unclean for the act of childbirth, and doubly so if i should give birth to a girl-child who will ultimately be able to bring forth the blessing of new life. the blood i bleed is responsible for all of human existence and yet it is considered "unclean". why is woman's blood, the blood of life, unclean but a man's blood is not?


Ask a Rabbi.
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Shimon
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Shimon »

In Torah, a woman has every obligation of a man, and a man every obligation of a woman.While respecting the uniqueness of both genders and setting parameters so that this boundary is not violated.

menstruation is a spiritual state called tumah which we call impurity.The opposite of tumah is taharah purity.it's very, very hard to give an accurate English translation to these two words taharah and tumah simply because they do not exist in the English language.This has nothing to do with hygiene and personal cleanliness. When a woman has her menstrual period every month, that egg which died, if it had become impregnated, could have become another person. Therefore, there is a vestige of death every month.

Similarly, when a man has an issue of seed from his body, this seed can potentially impregnate a woman and cause a child to be born,there is a potential for life in every drop of seed. Every time a man has an issue, even if his wife becomes pregnant, he becomes impure.

The Torah itself is called a Tree of Life. Where there is life, there is holiness and purity, and where there is death or the loss of life, there is impurity.It's that simple.
Shimon
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Shimon »

nlwright;1182365 wrote: conversely i feel blessed with menstruation, the natural cleansing of my body, which is a symbol of my ability (and not a man's) to bring forth new life. i feel blessed that i have felt new life stirring inside of me and being nourished by me. the pain of childbirth represents the rite of passage into motherhood, a most holy and blessed stage of life. also, childbirth pain is not as bad as many people would have you think (and as everyone told me). it is a useful pain that results in the beauty of new life, making that life even more sacred and cherished because of the sacrifice made for it. i am special and honoured because i am a woman and a mother.



yet, if i were a jewish woman i, and everything i touch, would be considered unclean for the act of childbirth, and doubly so if i should give birth to a girl-child who will ultimately be able to bring forth the blessing of new life. the blood i bleed is responsible for all of human existence and yet it is considered "unclean". why is woman's blood, the blood of life, unclean but a man's blood is not?


Because a mother carries a child for nine months had an extra soul in her , an extra life , during the pregnancy, A woman is extra pure. But when the child is born and leaves her body , even though the child is independently alive outside the mother's body , then as far as the mother's body is concerned, there was a loss of life. This loss of life is the reason for her temporary state of spiritual impurity

Torah describes various other situations the common denominator of all these kinds of impurity is that they are all somehow related to the concept of death.
Shimon
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Shimon »

Clint;1182168 wrote: Judaism like nearly all religions comes in many flavors. You can find sects that allow women to become a Rabbi and there are those who wouldn’t think of it.

The reason a man would pray to God thanking God for not making him a woman is simply saying he is thankful God made him a man. Even though it isn’t okay in western culture, it is okay to be a man and you can even be happy that you are one. In spite of western culture I am thankful to God I was created a man and not a woman. If I was a woman I would say I was thankful I was created a woman.

At the time the idea of women being unclean during menstruation the modern hygiene aids we have today were not available.

In most sects of Judaism you will find women held in high esteem as you will in many traditional Christian sects. The confusion comes from trying to apply everyone’s values to those of today’s western culture. Men and women are different and they are respected for their differences in other cultures and religions in ways we don’t understand. You won’t find honor killings or the extreme physical abuse of women in Judaism that exists in some other religions.

I'm sure there are others who can give you more insight. I hope this helps.


Oh my,

according to Halachah, the prayer was accepted by the ancient Jewish Parliament (the Sanhedrin) as a way for the Jewish male to express his thankfulness for having been given the more assertive, aggressive role in the fulfillment of mitzvot , a role which, at that point in the spiritual history of Creation, was perceived even by women as greater than the more intimate and nurturing feminine role.

see Maimonides, Book of Judges, Laws of Mumrim, Chapter 1

It was not meant as an insult to women.Masculine performance is oriented to action and public performance, whereas the feminine role in Torah is an inner and pervasive one.
fuzzywuzzy
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the role of women in judaism

Post by fuzzywuzzy »

Shimon;1323491 wrote: Because a mother carries a child for nine months had an extra soul in her , an extra life , during the pregnancy, A woman is extra pure. But when the child is born and leaves her body , even though the child is independently alive outside the mother's body , then as far as the mother's body is concerned, there was a loss of life. This loss of life is the reason for her temporary state of spiritual impurity

Torah describes various other situations the common denominator of all these kinds of impurity is that they are all somehow related to the concept of death.
I thought in judaism that a person is only a "soul" if it breathes it's first breath? So therefore pregnancy has nothing to do with carrying an "extra" soul........so therefore no death.
nlwright
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the role of women in judaism

Post by nlwright »

that's all fine and good to say that she is unclean (tumah) because of the "death" of the egg and that a man has the same obligations etc. HOWEVER: a man is not considered unclean when he ejaculates. maybe, strictly speaking, you might have to admit that in these situations he would indeed be considered unclean, but there is no law that i know of where the man must be separated from the rest of the community say, if he has a nocturnal emission or masturbates. surely there is a lot more "death" for the millions of sperm that are emitted, probably on a weekly basis if not every few days, as opposed to the monthly death of one single egg. furthermore when a woman gives life she is considered unclean. if she happens to have a female child the period of time for which she is not clean is double than if she had a male child. if this is about life and death, why should the gender of the child be relevant? also, i don't understand how a woman can be branded as unclean because of "death" involved by the very process with which she brings forth life.
Shimon
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Shimon »

fuzzywuzzy;1323509 wrote: I thought in judaism that a person is only a "soul" if it breathes it's first breath? So therefore pregnancy has nothing to do with carrying an "extra" soul........so therefore no death.


The physical development of the embryo mirrors its spiritual counterpart,Our souls existed long before we were born

the soul originates in the spiritual world of Atzilut (Emanation). That world contains ten sefirot, or levels, and the soul gradually descends throughout these levels until it reaches the last level, Malchut,at which point the baby is born.
Shimon
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the role of women in judaism

Post by Shimon »

this is from Mishneh Torah

Halacha 18

It is forbidden to release sperm wastefully.50 Therefore a person should not enter his wife and ejaculate outside of her.51 A man should not marry a minor who is not fit to give birth.52 Those who, however, release sperm with their hands, beyond the fact that they commit a great transgression, a person who does this will abide under a ban of ostracism. Concerning them, it is said: "Your hands are filled with blood." It is as if they killed a person.

The status of tumah is not meant to imply sinfulness,On the contrary, it emphasizes, in particular, the great level of holiness inherent in woman's Godly power to create and nurture a new life within her body Since a woman possesses this lofty potential, she, also bears the possibility of its void, hence her status as tameh, ritually impure.As I said before there is no word in English,the closest would mean ritually impure. Since she experienced the touch of death,she enters this status of ritually impure.(as far as her body is concerned because the new soul left her body,death).

After having given birth to a baby boy, a woman must wait a minimum of seven days before beginning her pure days, while after a baby girl is born, she must wait a minimum of fourteen days. Since the female child inherently carries a higher degree of holiness, due to her own biological, life creating capability, a greater void, or tumah, remains after her birth. Thus, the greater tumah after a baby girl's birth reflects her greater capacity for holiness (due to her creative powers) and necessitates the longer wait to remove this ritual impurity.

People always assume the Halacha was writen to favor the males.Nothing could be further from the truth

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