This website is made possible by generous donations from users just like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day. Please consider making a gift to JWA today!
Close [x]

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Talmud

Stern College for Women

In September 1954, an inaugural class of thirty-two students enrolled at Stern College for Women, as Yeshiva University opened the first liberal arts college in America for women under Jewish auspices.

Sarah Schenirer

As the founder of the Bais Ya’akov educational movement, Sarah Schenirer brought about a revolution in the status of women in Orthodox Judaism.

Sarah: Midrash and Aggadah

Sarah, the first of the four Matriarchs, has come to symbolize motherhood for the entire world, and not only for the people of Israel. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] presents her as a prophet and a righteous woman whose actions are worthy of emulation; she converted Gentiles and drew them into the bosom of Judaism.

Salome

Salome, King Herod’s sister, took an active role in many events associated with her brother’s reign. Almost all our information about her derives from the writings of Josephus. For this period Josephus relied heavily on the works of Herod’s court historian Nicolaus of Damascus, and our picture of Salome is marred by the latter’s personal feud with her.

Eve: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis view Eve, the first woman, as embodying the qualities of all women, and of femininity in general. As God’s handiwork, she is portrayed as the most beautiful woman who ever lived, and there was no fairer creature but her husband Adam. The midrashim about her exude an air of primacy: the first mating between Adam and Eve is described as a magnificent wedding, and their first intercourse aroused the serpent’s jealousy. The primal sin is generally symbolic of man’s sins, and through it the Rabbis seek to clarify why men trespass. The depiction of the woman’s creation leads the Rabbis to inquire into gender differences and the nature of the female sex, all through the eyes of the male Rabbis. They discuss woman’s different temperament, her mental maturity, her habits, the physical shape of her body, her behavior, and other aspects of female existence. The Rabbis attempt to provide an explanation for gender differences by means of a portrayal of woman’s different creation, and also as being a result of the sin of the Garden of Eden. Eve’s punishment is examined at length in the dicta of the Rabbis, who exhibit a certain degree of empathy in their ability to describe women’s suffering during the first three months of pregnancy, during birth, in instances of miscarriage, the pain of raising children, that of menstrual periods and other afflictions.

Deborah 2: Midrash and Aggadah

Deborah is presented in the Rabbinic sources as a very talented woman. She was an upright judge, with the same prophetic ability as Samuel; [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] scholars would come to learn from her. This ability was granted her as reward for her good deeds, namely, the preparation of wicks for the Tabernacle. She also encouraged her fellow Israelites to regularly attend the synagogue and Tabernacle, and thanks to her beneficial influence on her husband, he merited a portion in the World to Come. There is a tradition that presents Deborah as being guilty of the sin of pride, which led to her loss of the gift of prophecy, while the other traditions speak in her praise, and number her among the twenty-three Israelite women of outstanding righteousness ([jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]Midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], 474).

Yalta

Yalta is mentioned several times in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:298]Babylonian Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] but nowhere else in rabbinic literature. She is identified as the wife of Rabbi Nahman, an oft-cited sage who flourished circa 250 c.e.

Wifebeating in Jewish Tradition

Wifebeating is found in all cultures, because women’s status is usually lower than men’s and wives are expected to perform specific tasks to serve their husbands.

Rivke Bas Me’ir Tiktiner

Rivke bas Me’ir Tiktiner, a preacher and teacher for women, was the first woman author of a Yiddish book, the moral homiletic Meineket Rivkah (Meinekes Rivke, Rebekah’s Nurse, 1609).

Tannaitic Literature, Inclusion of Women

Generally speaking, the more regular the mechanism of inclusive interpretation, the clearer it is that woman remains outside as the “other” because she requires a special reason to be included. In other words, rather than rendering women an integral part of the population, inclusion renders them as adjuncts, unique unto themselves.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Talmud." (Viewed on December 11, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/talmud>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs