Saturday, 13 November 2010

Naaseh v'Nishma 4 - Quibbles and Bits

Taking RHG's thesis as true, but liberalizing it with some quibbles we can come up with a slightly different model.

In part 3:
«Women are excluded from that part of Torah which is thoroughly theoretical

Only Male Israelites are enjoined in participating in this spiritual exercise known as Torah Lishma. To RHG, any woman going there, would be evading her duties and actually undermining this function.»

We can say that society at large indeed should not be promoting women to do the masculine thing. However, some women can crossover; will crossover; and might even be OK when doing crossing over Yet, even so RHG could be correct, this should be discouraged. This explains EG "Rashi's Daughters" etc. The hashkafah remains, but exceptions may be allowed.

«RHG has designated this pre-Naaseh Halachah l'maaseh as "Shulchan Aruch", and the Theoretical Torah Lishma as "Talmud". If we take these designations less literally, we can both agree in principle and quibble over the specifics - which I plan to do BE"H, [that is agree with RHG's paradigm but offer slightly different applications.]»

Let's take the principle and quibble with terminology.

R YD Soloveichik [RYDS] used to say that Talmud Bavli IS a book of practical halachah. So as per RYDS women would NEED to learn that for Naaseh

RRW would say Tur-Bet Yosef teaches Halachic principles, but Talmud [nowadays anyway] is theoretical.
So Tur-BY is as theoretical as women should ever get. SA-Rema, Mishnah Brurah etc. - are probably solid sufficient Naaseh for most women.

«Torah Lishma is NOT academics, it is a technique for experiencing a Litvisher form of "hisbonenus" and produces a spiritual ecstasy. It's NOT a Torah equivalent of a PhD,...»

So when women study Talmud not for practical Halachah, BUT for academic achievement - EG to earn a PhD, it's not really Torah Lishma either and therefore might not be off limits to women EVEN if we agree with RHG in principle.

We could reason that the only area off-limits would be genuine Torah Lishma w/o any practical benefit.


1 comment:

Sophie said...

"We could reason that the only area off-limits would be genuine Torah Lishma w/o any practical benefit."

You exclude women from that learning which brings the "spiritual high" you reference but no practical halakhic consequences. Why should well-educated, intelligent women who seek advanced learning be excluded from the chance to experience this high, this unique connection to Torah? Doing so limits the extent to which women can understand the halakhic system and their access to a broader perspective on their religion. In this day and age, and in a society that promotes women's learning in the secular sphere (as Modern Orthodoxy does), such a position is, in my opinion, untenable and unsustainable.