(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 16:09:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Women studying talmud

I just wanted to add a thought on the recent discussion (Debbie, Fridrd
Bais Medrash Vol 1 Number 83) about WHY women are not MANDATED to study

Talmud intrinsically requires the review of many cases and the arrival of
generalizations(eg Rambam Learning Torah 1:11).  Let me give a simple
example to illustrate this. I will then apply it to the women's issue.

The phrase "And you will fear your God, I am God" occurs in 5 Biblical
commandments in the Bible (Lev 19;14, 19:32, 25:17, 25:36, 25:43)

Now it occurs by the commandment not to take interest: So it appears that
since people don't like to lend money without making a profit that the
REASON it says "Fear your God" is as if it says "Do not let monetary
interests interfere with performance of this commandment.. Fear God" (Lev

But such an explanation, based on monetary interests, is inconsistent with
the other 4 verses where "Fear God" occurs which have nothing to do with
money.  For example, "Get up before the elderly, Fear God"(Lev19:32)
Similarly "Don't overwork slaves, Fear God (25:43))".

The correct generalization--BASED, NOT ON ONE, BUT ON ALL 5 VERSES WHERE
THIS PHRASE OCCURS-- is that FEAR GOD occurs in commandments where it is
hard to prove that you are violating the commandment. Thus it is easy to
overwork a slave and say "No no I really needed this work done" It is easy
to turn your head when an elder comes and say "I didn't see him". It is
easy to lend your money to a non jew who then lends it to Jews (So in
effect you are lending the money to jews!)

Here is the point I want to make: If you don't review all cases you might
make an IMPROPER generalization (Based on money). Only by reviewing all
cases can you make a PROPER generalization (Based on ease of violation)
Hence, to properly do Talmud Torah intrinsically requires much time. All
the Halacha is therefore saying is that we will not OBLIGATE women to learn
as it would place enormous time constraints on them which might interfere
with other activities (like raising children) which they wish to do.
Furthermore a women who has learned but has not devoted that much time to
her learning gets reward for studying Torah but her conclusions are not
necessarily correct conclusions.

(By way of acknowledgement see the Rashi on lev 25:36 which brings both

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu
Moderator, Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi