Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 19:18:57 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Women=Men (Property, Soul and Life rights)--All Opinions I recently suggested that just as we bless God for not making me blind or naked so we bless God for not making me a woman (The blessings all occur together). The implication in all these blessings is that I should be aware that there are helpless people and help them. Thus I should help blind people get around, or give clothing to naked people or help woman be treated properly. Etzion Abraham (v29n03) said that (a) this was apolegetic (b) we should be intellectually honest and admit the truth (c) the "not made me like a woman" blessing came from Rav Meir not from the Anshay Kneseth Hagedolah (d) early commentators state this blessing is "an acceptance of judgement because women have lesser value than men" First I would like to thank Rabbi Prof Aryeh Frimer (who in v29n06 took my side). I would like to address one point: (d) "the blessing is an acceptance of judgement because women have lesser value than men". Nobody can seriously have believed that! Why? Because the talmud (Baba Kama 15) EXPLICITLY states that "Women have equal value to men". The Talmud derives this by generalizing three explicit cases where the Bible equates Men and women: (1) The need for atonement is equal (Nu 5-5 "A man or a woman") (2) in the need for protection against monetary loss/damage they are equal (Ex 21:1 eg see Ex 21:25 "..damages a man or a woman") and (3) punishments (Lev 20:27 "..a man or woman...). If this is not enough the commentators on this Talmudic passage explicitly state "The 3 verses were brought so that we should NOT think eg that women don't usually do business and hence don't need monetary protection or that eg women do less mitzvoth and hence their 'value' is less')." Finally even if Rav Meir introduced the blessings since all blessings were combined in a later period it appears that they viewed Rav Meirs contribution as a COMPLEMENTARY set of blessings with the SAME THEME...namely we should help helpless people like the blind, disabled, or women Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RJHendel@Juno.Com http://www.shamash.org/rashi/ Moderator Rashi Is Simple