Originally published 6/16/07, 11:18 PM, Eastern Daylight Time
If you say that women should not study Gemara, what are you saying about the study of Gemara itself? If women can be righteous Jews without the knowledge of Gemara, aren't you also stating that the knowledge of Gemara is not necessary for one to be a righteous Jew?
There is the act of studying Torah -- a ma'aseh hamitzvah that has its own place in the world of Torah. Not every Jew has to do, or even can do, every possible mitzvah. I thus can understand if one states that this action is only for men or kohanim or leviim or women etc. But beyond the act of studying Torah, there is the knowledge to be gained from this action.
Once you state that one cannot do this action, you are making a statement about the knowledge as well. You are making a statement about the role of the knowledge gained through this action in being a Jew. If the argument is that there are differing definitions of the ideal for men and women, that also needs to be explained.
Rabbi Ben Hecht