Anything about JUDAISM
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MODERATOR Posted - 08 October 2000 23:20
Halachah and Hashkafa are two components of your soul’s delicate ecosystem. The wrong hashkofos are not only be deadly in and of themselves, but they can also poison your Halachic observance.

The ibn Ezra asks how we can have a Mitzvah commanding us not to be jealous. Jealousy is a feeling, and hence cannot be controlled, right?

Wrong, says Ibn Ezra. Nobody is jealous of anything unless you believe it is attainable. The town peasants are not jealous when the princess gets engaged, because they know they have no chance at marrying her anyway.

So too, if a person would only realize that whatever Hashem gives someone else is because Hashem the other person to have it and not him, nobody would ever be jealous, because they would understand that the things they are jealous of are unintended for and thus unattainable by, him.

In other words, the way to fulfill the Halacha of "thou shalt not be jealous", the way to control your feelings, is by having the proper hashkofo (whatever hashem gives someone is unattainable to another). Without the hashkofo, the Halachah is impossible.

Your hashkafos control not only the Middah of jealousy, but your other Midos as well. Someone who perceives another Jew as a brother will treat him better than someone who perceives him as a stranger (see Rambam Matnas Aniyim 10). Someone who recognizes that everything he has is merely a gift from G-d will not be arrogant; but someone who believes in “my power and the strength of my hand” will be inappropriately proud.

Someone who recognizes that anything bad that someone does to him in this world was decreed from on High (even though the perpetrator volunteered willingly to fulfill that Heavenly decree) will have no interest in taking revenge, since he knows that the damage done to him was not due to the perpetrator but to the will of G-d. (Sefer HaChinuch, Lo sikom)

Someone who recognizes that we are in the world for a short time with an opportunity to collect gold coins (Torah and Mitzvos) will not squander his time poring over Shakespearean plays. He will try to spend as much time possible collecting that gold, regardless of whether the Halachah obligates him to do so. It’s simply a matter of common sense. If someone does not bother to learn, then he obviously does not recognize (Hashkofo) the value of learning.

The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva 8) says that not only do we have to do Teshuva for our bad actions, but also for our bad beliefs (“deos”). He lists as examples, arrogance, materialism, and the like. Although we usually classify these things as “midos” – personality traits – and not “beliefs” – the Rambam makes them into one.

The reason is because these personality traits, as we explained, are directly dependent on your beliefs (Hashkofos). Someone who has wrong Hashkofos will inevitably have bad Midos. And it is the bad “deah” – the bad Hashkofo – for which we are Halachicly obligated to repent.


Someone who tries to live Halachicly without proper Hashkofos will not succeed. At best, he will be living a schizophrenic, self-contradictory Jewish life, and he will be in a constant state of spiritual disarray trying to reconcile his Halachic lifestyle with his Hashkafic deficiencies. Jewish Halachah and Secular Hashkofos are contradictory.

Rav Yitzchok Hutner Z”TL once described the incongruous “Halachic Judaism” syndrome as comparable to someone who puts on his shirt in the morning and accidentally buttons the lowest button in the wrong hole. Instead of undoing it, he decides to solve the problem by putting the next button in the wrong hole as well, and he keeps buttoning up his shirt like that, always one hole off, thinking everything is OK.

Until he gets to the top of the shirt. Now he has to either undo the entire shirt, or wear it lopsided.

So, too, Rav Hutner said, are those who want to “reconcile” Halachah with the values and way of life of society. It is lopsided. You can maneuver around the Halachic pitfalls again and again, but eventually you will see that it doesn’t work, you paint yourself into a corner, and there will be no choice except to either undo your entire philosophy or live with a self-contradictory Judaism.


Treating a rebbi like a “Professor of Talmud” is a Hashkafic atrocity and a slap in the face to Torah. Torah is not secular studies. Learning Torah is not merely “studying”. It is a religious experience, transporting the highest level of G-d’s Influence from the heavens down to earth. In Chassidishe yeshivos they learn torah with their hats and jackets, like davening. Not everyone does that, but to put Torah in the same category as secular studies, by making “Talmud” a course like anthropology, where each is an elective used for a certain amounts of credits, where the rebbi is called “Professor of Talmud”, is a repulsive secularization of Hashem’s Torah in the worst way.

If someone would sit your wife at a wedding together with a bunch of low and grubby characters, you would feel insulted for her, and angry with the host. When someone places the Torah of our Creator in the same category as physical, materialistic, non-holy studies, we should feel that same type of irritation. That’s hashkafa.

But that’s just the first button – it doesn’t end there. Once you blur the Hashkafic line between Torah and secular studies, you develop additional problems. Women learn secular studies, but they don’t learn Gemora. What happens, then, when a woman goes through college just like a man, and is permitted to score honors in Medical School just like a man, but the room down the hall, the one where they give the “Talmud” college courses . . . those courses she is not good enough for???

The next step, of course, is to say, “It’s ridiculous that nowadays women can go to medical school but they can’t go to gemora class.” This justification has actually been used by rabbis for violating the clear Halachah in Shulchan Aruch against teaching gemora to women.

Sure it’s ridiculous to teach women nuclear physics and not talmud. IF you set yourself up a situation where Gemora and physics are both “studies”, taught by Professors, albeit with different training, then the inconsistency of your messed up Hashkafa versus the Halachah against teaching girls Gemora is very much in your face.

If Torah and secular studies are both intellectual pursuits then it is “ridiculous” to bar women from one and not the other, but if one is a religious service and the other is merely the aquisition of knowledge, then Torah and secular studies are apples and oranges.

But now you’ve reached the top button. You either undo your entire hashkafic monster, or you are forced, in the interest of making sense out of your behaviors, to violate Halachah. The shirt, at this point, is revealed to be as unfitting as can be.

Edited by - admindealing on 11/14/2000 9:49:28 PM

jagr68 Posted - 18 October 2000 20:04
Accordin to daas torah, why do we hold that women are not supposed to learn gemorah these days, besides for the famous reason brought down in kedushin of "noshim daatim kaalos"? Also, does it anyone(rishonim or acharonim) hold b'fairush that they arent supposed to? And, i heard that the Rav gave a gemorah shiur to women in stern, what was his reasoning behind this?
MODERATOR Posted - 18 October 2000 20:19
We don't teach Gemora to women in class today for the same reason that we never did throughout history, namely, the Halachah absolutely prohibits it. Chazal, Rishonim and Achronim in countless places explicitly say this, and it is well known. An easy place to get a collection of sources is the Shulachan Aruch YD 246:6 and the commentaries ad loc.

Edited by - admindealing on 10/20/2000 1:00:44 AM

jagr68 Posted - 25 October 2000 6:18
Thanx for your answer, but what was the Rav's reasoning for giving a gemorah shiur in stern? Did gedolim at the tiome come out against him? Thank u!!
MODERATOR Posted - 25 October 2000 6:42
Btw, only those familiar with Modern Orthodox circles will know that by "The Rav" you mean Rav Soloveichik. The generic title "The Rav" was until not long ago used exclusively in refernece to The Brisker Rav. MO later took it and used it for their Rav. Not everyone here will necessarily understand who you mean by "The Rav".

The Heter? Beats me. I have no idea, nor have I ever met anyone who knows what it is.

In fact, I once asked Rav Yeruchem Gorelick (who was a Rebbi in YU) what the heter was for teaching girls Gemora in Stern. His answer (in Yiddish) was, "Heter? It's YU! That is the heter!".

Of course gedolim were upset, but there was no public organized outcry, if that's what you mean. Individual behaviors in YU were never singled out for specific outcries; they were always considered an effect or a component of YU in general, to which sufficient objections had already been voiced.

Edited by - admindealing on 10/25/2000 5:12:36 PM

one Posted - 26 December 2000 22:14
about "the rav [Soloveitchik]"'s heter... this whole ma'aseh of the rav [Soloveichik]teaching gemarah to women. can it be clarified? how exactly does the story go and where did it come from. sources...etc. the reason why i am asking is becuz so many ppl use this as reference but perhaps it is just warped. i one time heard some one quote rav moshe ---allowing women to wear pants...???? yeah right!

Edited by - admindealing on 12/26/2000 5:26:29 PM

MODERATOR Posted - 26 December 2000 22:28
It happened. If memory serves, it was during the '77-'78 school year. I don't think anyone denies this. It wasn't all that long ago.
Ashira LaHashem Posted - 17 January 2001 3:04
I also heard that Rav taught his daughters gemara? Now I'm not sure if this is the same Rav, but the moment I heard that, I totally had a reason why. I think everyone forgets that halacha is halacha-the best for the majority. There are always exceptions. A girl who is an extremely "intellectual" type, who will not acquire her ahavat Hashem through spiritual Torah tapes or shiurim or concepts, who maybe will gain tihs from gemarah, I'm not sure if this would be asur for her. Gemarah is said to be helpless to women because it doesn't help them achieve their shileimut. Now is every woman alike? Of course not. All are for the most part more spiritual than men and that is why we aren't required in as many Mitzvot as men. But there are some that are minimally more spiritual than men. Do you mean to say it is asur for them to accomplish their yirat Hashem and ahavat Hashem, then only way, at this point that they are able to? It is true that gemarah is meant for men. This is not degrading to women. Men and women are different and therefore have different needs. Not better than one or the other-different. A man needs the mold of gemarah and various other halachot that women don't simply becasue he has other nisyonot and kochot. To wish to learn or be the same as that, is not only detromental, it's plain stupid. It's degrading. I just heard today an interesting insight. Today, women are constantly wanting to be more like men. Apparently since they hadn't had too many rights in the past, they feel like a victim and opressed. As if their boundaries are being attacked. Women want to know why they can't be part of a minyan? Well, really why can't they? Are they not as good as a man? How silly. To only care about the "heat of the debate" but not know what you are debating about. It is brought down that the minyan is a kaparah for the miraglim. A man must daven three times a day with a minyan for the meraglim. A women doesn't have this chiyuv of kaparah bc simply, she wasn't part of the aveira. So then in essence, in the midst of their search for passion, and outleting it in the wrong ways, not only does the women waste time and energy, she is in essence degrading herself. I hope I was accurate in what I said, and if not, please inform.
MODERATOR Posted - 17 January 2001 4:06
Your thinking is very smart, Ashirah, but that's not the way Halachah works. Halachah is meant for all of us. Unless there is some special dispensation in the Halachha itself for certian types of people, we are all bound to it. The poskim discuss who are exeptions to this rule, if there are any, and so on. There is no Halachic authority that rules that Gemora can indiscriminately be taught to women in a classroom. There is not one such shita. Even in YU and Stern despite much discussion about this they have not come up with any legitimate heter for the Gemora classes in Stern.

It says nowhere, btw, that the prohibiton of Gemora for women is because women are more spiritual than men and anyway the definition of "spiritual" or whatever word you would like ot use is not for us to determine bsed on our feelings but for Chazal to decide based on their understanding of our souls.

It is ironic, that Rav Soloviechik, who taught the first Gemora class to women was the one who elsewhere explained that the Gemora's statements about women, such as "It is better for a woman to be married unhappily than remain single", or "Women are flighty" (daatan kalos) and the like are not social statement but existential ones and therefore we cannot say that they no longer always apply.

rachel2001 Posted - 30 January 2001 5:22
cool, i never heard of that halacha before. are girls alowed to KNOW anything that comes from the gemara at all? i have a huge research report due soon wich sortof requires looking up gemaras on the topic. is someone allowed to tell me about a gemara outside? what should i do???

i think ill file a complaint against the skool. yr after yr they force girls to break halacha like this by assigning the freakin report. maybe u can talk my principal into making assignment not so in depth.

MODERATOR Posted - 06 February 2001 20:48
Don't file any complaints. You're allowed to know stuff from the Gemora that pertains to you, such as bottom-line Halachos (not the Halachic discussions), as well as Mussar and Agadita.
ni Posted - 09 February 2001 1:25
Are girls allowed to learn gemarah on their own i.e is the issur against teaching them or them knowing.
MODERATOR Posted - 09 February 2001 7:09
There is a prishah that says that they can learn on their own, since a girl who wants to learn Gemora on her own is obviously an exceptionally religiously committed individual sicne why else would a woman want to learn Gemora?

Now obviously, it is questionable if this applies nowadays, since the social observation was said in a time where women had no interest out of curiosity or feminist attitudes to leran Gemora. Nowadays, even non-religious girls want to leanr Gemora, so how can we say that a girl who wants to learn is exceptional in any Torah way, to one who doesn't?

On theo ther hand, if what the Prisha means is that there was never a Rabibnic prohibition against women learning on their own for this reason, then regardless of whether the reason applies nowadays it would be permitted since, bottom line, there was no takanah against it.

But why would you want to learn Gemora on your own anyway?

Ashira LaHashem Posted - 09 February 2001 8:51
so that was what I was saying! See you make it seem like girls can't learn gemarah rather than they can't be taught it. So my point was, that there are those girls that want to learn because liek you said the yare exceptionally gifted and are exceptionally religious.

MODERATOR Posted - 09 February 2001 9:11
So you mean they finished already learning everything they are obligated ot learn? Like all the Halachos and Hashkofos that they need to live?

Intellect is not the point here. We're talking about women who are exceptionally committed to Yiddishkeit.

I would like ot point out that great women that you know of, even Sarah Schinerer, did not fele nay need to learn Gemora, despite their status. There is no need, really. Thee is plenty of Torah to be learned and Miztvois to do that why would you need or want to learn Gemora? Are these girls more frum than all the Rebetzens in the world? Or is it that they have been wrongly led to bleieve that there is something in Gemora that they are missing that will help them get closer to Hashem that only men have. This is a big mistake.

There is no reason women should want to learn Gemora. Their avodas hashem is complete without it. If it is permitted for an exceptional women is a question, but based on how our exceptional women have acted thorughout history, this does not really include it. At the very least, not for teenagers today.

So the question is: Why does this girls want to learn Gemora if she has not finished everything she NEEDS to know? What does she think she will gain by it?

ni Posted - 09 February 2001 11:06
It seems that once it becomes a "forbidden fruit" the natural urge is to want to study it. Some also have illusions that it contains secrets and mystical ideas and therefore want to read it (I'm not implying it doesnt but most people dont get that out of their gemara learning) Regardless, I think that their studying gemara (if its not wrong) is not worse than most of the things they would be doing instead. and will probably dispel any further desire they have to learn gemara.
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