Friday, February 12, 2016

Women's rights in the Torah

Let's take a look at what Torah says about women, and what rights they have according to it.
YLT Gn 2:18 . And Jehovah God saith,  'Not good for the man to be alone, I do make to him an helper--as his counterpart.'
As you can see from this verse, women are basically our counterparts, which means that they should participate in all of activities of their husbands. Not absolutely all, but most perhaps.

Exodus 15:20 says that Miriam was a prophetess. Deuteronomy 4:1 or Deut 4:10 states that Moses to "teach" them the words of the Torah. So we can assume that Miriam was also a teacher. Torah states that somewhat explicitly in Exodus 15:20-21, where Miriam taught Israel the Song of the Sea.

Also, daughters of Zelophehad were allowed to inherit the land and property after their father (Numbers 27:7). 

So women have pretty much equal rights with men. Except the priesthood of the Tabernacle, which is explicitly reserved for Aaron's sons. However, wives and daughters of the Priests had special privileges over regular women(i.e Lev 22:13)

Laver of the Tabernacle was symbolically constructed from the mirrors of the women(Exodus 38:8). 

If you think that women are somehow inferior to men, you are terribly mistaken.

This means that women are just as involved in the Torah and its rituals as men. There are even special commandments that are related only to women (i.e menstruation laws or laws for atonement for the children that woman have borne). So it is a responsibility of every man to teach his wife(s) and daughter(s) Torah and all of its commandments, just like he would do to his sons and male relatives.

Torah is not chauvinistic and is fair to both, men and women. So what is being practiced in some (ultra)orthodox Jewish communities is not right and is not according to the Torah.

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