Re: Limud Torah

Jonathan Katz (frisch1@MIT.EDU)
Sat, 08 Feb 1997 20:44:56 EST

MichaelSal@aol.com wrote:
>Please lay out the argument why women are not allowed to study Torah?

I don't think _anyone_ would say that women are not allowed to study Torah.
There are a number of different issues here.

1) Are women commanded to study Torah?
According to the Talmud, women do not have the same obligation to study
Torah that men do. However, I believe they are certainly encouraged to
study matters pertaining to kashrut, sexual purity, and other laws of
the home which are necessary for women to know. Whether this is a chovah
or a reshut (required or permitted), I don't know.

2) Are women allowed to study Oral Law?
There was a lot of resistance to the idea of women learning Talmud 30
or so years ago, and still today among some circles. The Talmud states
that teaching women Torah (except for the above instances) is considered
"Tiflut". There is some debate about what this term means. Generally, the
connotation is "foolishness, waste of time". But even if you accept that
interpretation, I think it's hard to see it as an absolute ban against
women learning Talmud.

Jonathan Katz
frisch1@mit.edu
410 Memorial Drive Room 233F
Cambridge, MA 02139