Thursday, November 30, 2006

Women and Talmud Torah III

(Material by Rabbi Kenneth Auman, presented by Chana. Mistakes are my fault.)

Please look at Kiddushin 80b:

    דף פ, ב משנה לא יתייחד אדם עם שתי נשים אבל אשה אחת מתייחדת עם שני אנשים רבי שמעון אומר אף איש אחד מתייחד עם שתי נשים בזמן שאשתו עמו וישן עמהם בפונדקי מפני שאשתו משמרתו מתייחד אדם עם אמו ועם בתו וישן עמהם בקירוב בשר ואם הגדילו זו ישנה בכסותה וזה ישן בכסותו:
    דף פ, ב גמרא מ"ט תנא דבי אליהו הואיל ונשים דעתן קלות עליהן

It's yichud for one man to be alone with two women, but one women can be alone with two men. Rabbi Shimon states that even one man can be alone with two women at a time where his wife is with him...Now, why are the laws different between men and women? Because women are considered of unsteady temperament- these words appear again, now in a completely different situation:

ונשים דעתן קלות עליהן

Lok at Rashi, and Rashi explains that these words, "women are of unstable temperament" refer to the fact that women will be more easily seduced than men.

Once again, these words have nothing at all to do with women's intellectual capacity to understand or learn. Women's ability to be seduced and/or to withstand torture (as discussed in the previous post) have nothing to do with brains. We know smart people who have affairs (say, Bill Clinton)- the point is, this has nothing to do with smarts.


Lela Harbinger said...

i'm not complaining. pretty good excuse if you ask me ;-)

Anonymous said...

See also Avodah Zara, Daf 18b, The gemarah right before the first colon "'v'ikah de'amri mishum ma'aseh d'ibruriah" --and see Rashi. Bruriah, R' Meir's wife was an outstanding scholar: see Eruvin 53-54, see also Pesachim 62b, and Berachot 10a. Nonetheless, she was able to be seduced.

See also Tanya chapter 3, contrasting "Da'at" with the other two mental faculties "chochma" and Bina":

והדעת הוא מלשון: והאדם ידע את חוה, והוא לשון התקשרות והתחברות

Daat, whose etymology may be found in the verse,12 “And Adam knew (ידע) Eve,” implies attachment and union.


Of course, Da'at is not indicative of mental potency