Sunday, June 15, 2014

Equally Sublime

“God has divided the sexes, giving each specific tasks in the fulfillment of life. Both tasks, if fulfilled in purity are equally sublime, equally holy.” Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch: Horeb 433

"The change from singular to plural, which we have tried to reproduce in our translation of this first mention of man and woman in the story of the creation, already indicates the full equality of status, nay, the inner unity between man and woman in the conception and the destiny of "man formed in the image of God." This term embraces both sexes. Only man and woman together make up the idea of "man", and God created both of them alike without intermediary, and with the same conscious effort of will power."  Judaism Eternal, vol. II, p 51.

"I will provide for him a help meet for him" is that kind of assistance which through taking over a part of the work to be performed allows the other partner to concentrate his attention on the part which is left to him to perform, and so enables him to perform his part properly, thus securing the proper performance of the whole. This is the essence of the division of labour." Judaism Eternal, vol. II, p. 55.

"It places the woman forthwith on a footing of equality with the man, while giving to each a different sphere of activity, so that the man cannot fill the position of the woman nor the woman that of the man. Both stand and work on the same line, they play into one another's hands and by their co-operation consummate the human task. This partition of the human task is no mere matter of agreement. The woman has from the very beginning been created knegdo, in the way required for such a fruitful supplementing of the man's activity." Judaism Eternal, vol. II, p. 55.

"It is significant that it says ohelah, written with the feminine hei, as opposed to vayisak. Whereas there, where it affected the whole household, Avraham had to exert his authority, vayisak, possibly even to persuade Sarah, here in the home, his house was really Sarah’s house. For external matters the man, internal ones the woman; as leader; guiding star, to submit the whole household in every way to the Will of God, the man is in authority, in every other matter of managing and directing the home, the woman has precedence. Such is the principle of intimate happy Jewish life, the origin of which has its roots in Avraham’s tent." Rav Hirsch on Bereishis 12:8

"The mitzvah of education devolves upon the father, whom G-d has endowed with the necessary abilities. Where a father neglects the duty, no other means can compensate. All the textbooks, all the teaching aids that have been invented as surrogates for the consecration of our youth in the home, will be of no avail." Rav Hirsch, Hirsch Haggadah, Four Questions

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