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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jewish Oral Tradition Part 2, Treatment of Women

Updated thru 9/11/2016

Continued From Jewish Oral Tradition - Part 1 - Introduction

Some of my previous posts explained that the written Torah unfairly discriminates based on gender. 

We see this even in the 10 commandments.

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. 

Notice how a man's wife is lumped in with man's possessions such as a house, servants, oxen and asses. ( The Torah is not referring to the gluteus maximus here.)

Under Oral Tradition, women’s inferior status is ubiquitous. This post is only a tiny tip of the ice berg.

Women Can Not Be Witnesses, Women Can Not Contribute to Prayer Quorum, Women Ineligible To Judge; {ETA 9/11/2016 Women Ineligible To Be King Or In Authority.}

Rambam's Hilcot Edot Section 9 - Women may not serve as witnesses. Nor can servants; minors;  mentally or emotionally unstable individuals; deaf-mutes; the blind; the wicked debased individuals; relatives; and  androgynus are also unacceptable - for there is an unresolved doubt whether they are considered as women.

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 55 - A minyan ( the number of congregants required for certain prayers) requires at least 10 males. Women don't count.


Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 7 A women is not eligible to Judge.

{ETA 9/11/2016 Rambam's Melachim uMilchamot  Chapter 1 Paragraph 5 - A women may not be appointed King. This also applies to all positions of authority in Israel.}

Only Male Polygamy is Allowed

Rambam's Hilcot Ishut - 14 -  A man can have numerous wives, and his wife may not object to this. [However  the Ashkanaz Jews later instituted a ban for Ashkanaz Jews, no doubt because of the surrounding Christian culture which prohibited polygamy.  I believe that ban was to last until a certain date, a date which I think has passed.] 

Marriage and Divorce Ala Oral Tradition

Talmud Gittin 90a Mishnah. Beth Shammai say: a man should not divorce his wife unless he has found her guilty of some unseemly conduct, as it says, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her. Beth Hillel, however, say (that he may divorce her) even if she has merely spoilt his food, since it says,  because he hath found some unseemly thing in her. Rav Akiba says, (he may divorce her) even if he finds another woman more beautiful than she is, as it says, it cometh to pass, if she find no favour in his eyes.

So per Oral Tradition what are the grounds for divorce ? They really did not know and made things up based on 'deductions' of Torah verse. 

Until about 1000 years ago - under oral law the male was able to divorce his wife without her consent.  European Jews thereafter required her consent. They just invented laws. 

Unlike the male, the wife can not issue a divorce. Rambam's Hilcot Gerushin 1 explains The man must voluntarily initiate the divorce. However, Gerushin 2 explains there are some limited circumstances where the man can be compelled to issue a divorce. 

Sometimes the man withholds giving divorce papers creating problems for the spouse; because she can not marry without them. 
{ETA 9/9/2016 Sometimes the man has vanished for one reason or another and this leaves the women unable to remarry.  These are called the Agunot Problems for more see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/agunot1.html }

The point is Divorce Oral Tradition style was and still is biased in favor of males. It unfairly discriminates based on gender. 


Only Males can initiate marriage. Talmud Kiddushin 2a -  A women is 'acquired'  in one of three ways: money or contract or sex. Kiddushin 5b But if she gives him (money or its equivalent)
and says ‘Behold, I am consecrated unto thee,’ ‘I am betrothed unto thee,’ ‘I am a wife unto thee,’ she is not betrothed.

Women's Mind

Talmud Yoma 66 - A wise woman asked R. Eliezer: Since with regard to the offence with the golden calf all were evenly associated, why was not the penalty of death the same? He answered her: There is no wisdom in woman except with the distaff. Thus also does Scripture say: And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands.

Talmud Avot - Chapter 1 Mishna 5 Engage not in too much conversation with women. They said this with regard
to one's own wife, how much more (does the rule apply) with regard to another man's wife.

Talmud Kiddushin 49b Ten Kabs [measures] of gossip descended to the world: nine were taken by women.

Conclusion

A compelling case can be made Oral Law and Tradition unfairly discriminates against women and holds man superior despite some modern day Rabbinic apologetics. 

P.S. Many Orthodox Jews today may not be sexist, but that is besides the point. The historical Oral Law and Tradition was sexist. Even if Oral Tradition may sometimes write complimentary things about women, it does not change the actual halacha - the oral law.

Continued Jewish Oral Tradition Part 3, Treatment of Heretics

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