Dear Rabbi Weiman,
I am wondering what do you believe and teach on women and “their place” in the home, in the Jewish Community and in society? And do you ever have classes on this?
Thanks for your email. Women’s issues come up in classes fairly often but I don’t have much written material on the topic. I usually find handling specific questions on an individual basis more useful. But here is my basic response:
The core issues of life, which is what Kabbalah focuses on, are the same for men and women. It’s much more important for a woman to think about her relationship with G-d, than roles. For example, if a woman is given a gift for management, she should think of how best to serve God with that talent. The other issues of being in the home and raising children etc. may fall into place. She could use that gift in business, or volunteering for a non-profit, community service or in her own home.
A woman, just like a man, should strive for a relationship with God, and to reach her absolute greatest spiritual potential, and when she gets close to reaching that potential, she can pray for more potential, and while she’s doing that, she can think about fixing the entire world, bringing about world peace, and global consciousness of the Infinite and His will for mankind.
You see, ultimately the “roles” can be detrimental. The needs of the times may dictate a change of roles. In the times of Devorah the prophetess it was an embarrassment to the men to have a woman be the top authority in Law, yet she knew that she should and needed to fulfill that space, even though it wasn’t a standard role for a woman.
Generally speaking the sages and prophets of old were men. The spiritual make-up of men, the society, the psychology etc. made men more attuned to this role. But, don’t think that a woman who was inspired to be a sage or a prophetess was held back. There were many women who fulfilled these roles also.
A woman who is striving to reach her spiritual potential will be able to figure out on her own if she needs to get herself into a position of power, hire a man, or inspire a man to take a position of power. A woman who’s focused on roles may miss out on the bigger picture.