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A Feminist Commentary on Sugyot About Yihud

Dorshot tov

Dorshot Tov is a new collaborative feminist commentary on a few pages of the Babylonian Talmud, specifically Kiddushin 80b-82b, pages that address the issue of Yiḥud. The book is the product of a study group under the auspices of Niggun Nashim from Mikhlelet Oranim and is also affiliated with the series that Tal Ilan is editing, A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. More details on this book can be found here. (Hebrew)

An interview with Anat Yisraeli, one of the editors, can be heard below at 19:50. (Hebrew)

4 Responses to “A Feminist Commentary on Sugyot About Yihud”

  1. 1
    DF:

    If girls want to get serious about Gemara (and I am speaking leshitascha, MM; my position is they shouldn’t be studying it in the first place) they have to start branching out beyond women’s issues like yichud. Produce some lomdus on Kodshim, or Nezikin, or even (as a simple step) Moed. And not “sugya” based learning, which is correctly dismissed in the world of learning, but learning that displays an understanding of the totality of shas. The Conservatives and Reformers have been trying to teach talmud to girls for more than two generations, and they’ve not gone beyond the same tired old photocopies for “sugyot” of yichud, niddah, etc. It’s kind of silly.

  2. 2
    Menachem Mendel (Michael P.):

    1. In addition to myself, I am sure that all of the Orthodox and non-Orthodox women who are very learned in Gemara would strongly disagree with your opinion about women and Gemara. If you aren’t aware of these women, your loss.
    2. Hardly anybody has “an understanding of the totality of shas,” and for generations most Talmidei Hachamim haven’t seen it necessary to know all of the Gemara. There is plenty of evidence that only certain sedarim and massechtot were studied by all except maybe a few.

  3. 3
    DF:

    To respond in reverse order

    2. Must respectfully disagree that talmedi chacahmim do not know all of Gemara. Most certainly they do, not necessarily by heart, but a basic familiarity with all of it. But perhaps we simply have different expectations, or understandings, of what a talmid chacham is.

    1. I wouldnt call it a loss, but i am certainly unaware of any work of traditional Talmudic scholarship by a female. Even on academic, non-traditional talmudic scholarship, on non agaddah, i am aware of only a handful, and again, these are entirely sugya based.

    I don’t see this as an orthodox conservative divide, but instead, a male female divide. Despite by nearly three full generations of legal compulsion and societal pressure, girls still do not go into the hard sciences in anywhere near the same amount of men, and do not excel in it. You acknowledge there are physical differences between the sexes – why is it so difficult for you to accept that there are also mental differences? And that accordingly, men are better suited for learning Gemara than women. If you think this is a backhanded way of saying women are mentally inferior, rest assured I believe nothing of the sort, and only a fool would think that. But that they think differently, and consequently are better suited to different subjects, is, I think, unassailable. Anyone who questions that is mired hopelessly in the passing phenomenon of late 20th century political correctness.

    Indeed, as I always respect your opinion, even as I differ from it, I would like to hear your thoughts on this question: if men and women differ physically, why cant they differ mentally too, and if so, why will you not admit that men are better suited than men for women?

  4. 4
    DF:

    last line was bollixed up, but i think you know what i meant to say!

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