Thursday, June 24, 2010

What about Devorah?!

On the comments for Frum Satire's post that I discussed in my previous post, on the issue of female leadership being against Halacha more generally, one person asks, "What about Devorah?"

So what about Devorah?

How does her presence in Tanach not present a huge problem for poskim who say women can't be in leadership positions, women can't be rabbis, women can't be witnesses (and certainly not judges!)?

Devorah's position as a shofet (i.e., a judge) made her responsible for applying (and thus interpreting, because the former really necessitates the latter) the laws of the Torah to specific cases in Israel. This is certainly a position of leadership.

With this as a precedent, how can anyone said its halachically forbidden?


kisarita said...

Orthodoxy isn't based on Tanach. The Tanach is sort of like the Queen of England- a figurehead, while the real decisions are made by the PM, which is the Talmud and the Rishonim. (as well as your rabbi whoever he is.)

Didn't you ever wonder why it was ok for girls to study tanach but not shas and poskim? well now you know.

(BTW Devorah also contradicts Kol Ishah)

On Her Own said...

I hear you and I do see that. But it does claim to be based on Tanach... Every rule is supposed to have some sort of basis in Tanach, no matter how loose a basis that is. So, married women cover their hair because of the whole "sota" thing.

I know there are many things that were allowed in Tanach that aren't now (i.e., polygamy), but in the cases I can think of, rabbis had to put temporary rulings or at least "gates" into effect to make that happen. Is the ban on female leadership a gate then? I really don't see how they can claim such a ban is halacha when it's so outwardly contradicted by Tanach.

(I would think that Kol Ishah is a geder/gate rather than a halacha. Am I wrong?)

Puzzled said...

So does Miriam and the women dancing and singing.

Puzzled said...

The Tanach is a deeply heretical book. If it were written today and published as a Jewish book, the rabbis would trip over themselves denouncing and banning it, and explaining how it doesn't accurately portray Jewish beliefs. Not, mind you, that they'd be upset with all the death and killing and so on. They'd be upset about mi chamocha, let us make man, Miriam, Devorah, and so on.