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Talmud

Leadership and Authority

All early biblical leaders of the Jewish people were elected by God. The matriarchs and patriarchs, priests, prophets, kings, judges and warriors were chosen by divine plan to lead the nation at different points in its history. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] offers us glimpses into the relationships between Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Rachel, Leah and Jacob, based on the principle that ma’aseh avot siman le-banim (the deeds of the ancestors serve as a model for the descendents). Beyond the biblical text, the influence of matriarchal faith and insight is conveyed in the midrashic literature which expands the role of wife, helper and mother to include prophetess, teacher and visionary. Yet it is clear from the biblical narrative that females did not serve in the broader leadership roles filled by males.

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

The basic approach of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook to women corresponds with his hierarchical approach to existence and to humankind (Yaron 1974; Bin Nun 1988): “I cannot make absolute divisions between entities, but only divisions according to rank” (Sarid 1998, 144).

Killer Wife in Jewish Law and Lore

In Jewish law presumptions play an important role. In the context of our topic, the type of presumption which is relevant is unique in legal systems: the presumption is that if things happen in a certain manner they will continue to happen in the same manner.

Judaic Studies in the United States

When the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was established in 1969 as the professional organization of scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Judaic studies, there were no women among its founders. In 2005–06 women comprised 41% of the AJS membership. Within the past generation a field that was traditionally dominated by men has gradually witnessed the emergence of a significant number of women scholars.

Regina Jonas

Regina Jonas, the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi, was killed in Auschwitz in October 1944. From 1942–1944 she performed rabbinical functions in Theresienstadt. She would probably have been completely forgotten, had she not left traces both in Theresienstadt and in her native city, Berlin.

Jewish Feminism in the United States

Challenging all varieties of American Judaism, feminism has been a powerful force for popular Jewish religious revival. Of America’s four Jewish denominations, all but the Orthodox have accepted women as rabbis and cantors.

Ishah Hashuvah (Woman of Distinction)

The Hebrew term ishah hashuvah appears in seven [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:409]sugyot[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (Talmudic discourses) in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:298]Babylonian Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] but never appears in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:333]Jerusalem Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary]. The term is not defined, though in a few instances its meaning is evident from the context.

Imma Shalom

Imma Shalom (Mother of Peace) is identified in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:298]Babylonian Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] as the wife of R. Eliezer, a prominent sage who flourished circa 75 c.e., and the sister of Rabban Gamliel of Yavneh, the head of the Sanhedrin. She is mentioned only a few times in rabbinic literature. After R. Eliezer defied his colleagues in the story about the oven of Aknai, his wife tried to save him from the harm she predicted would befall him. However, she failed because she erred regarding the New Moon (BT Baba Mezia 59b). Upon hearing her husband predict that a student who treated him disrespectfully would not finish out his week, she asked him if he were a prophet (BT Eruvin 63a).

Huldah, the Prophet: Midrash and Aggadah

Huldah is one of the seven women prophets of Israel enumerated by the Rabbis: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther (BT [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:354]Megillah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] 14a); she is also mentioned among the twenty-three truly upright and righteous women who came forth from Israel ([jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]Midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], p. 474).

Leah Horowitz

Sarah Rebecca Rachel Leah Horowitz, author of Tkhinne imohes (Supplication of the Matriarchs), was the daughter of Jacob Yokl ben Meir Ha-Levi Horowitz (1680–1755) and Reyzel bat Heshl. Her father was a member of the famed kloyz of Brody. Leah Horowitz (as she was known) was one of some seven children. Three of her brothers were rabbis, of whom the most eminent was Isaac (known as “Itsikl Hamburger,” 1715–1767), rabbi of Hamburg, Altona and Wandsbeck. There was also a sister, named Pessil. There is some doubt about the identity of another brother and sister. As the sister of eminent brothers, Leah disproves the old canard that the only educated women in her time were the daughters of learned rabbis who had no sons.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Talmud." (Viewed on December 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/talmud>.

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