Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Why Are Women Exempt From Certain Mitzvahs? By Yehuda Shurpin and the new Dead Sea Scrolls discovery

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Collecting Resourceful States

Every time you experience a positive, resourceful state, that state is stored in the immense library of your brain. By giving your positive states names you will be able to retrieve them just as you can retrieve a computer file by typing it's filename. This idea is so valuable and so important for every aspect of your life that it makes sense to make mastery of your present states a high priority.

There are many standard names for some of the states you want to experience over and over again. These include: joy, courage, being calm and serene, patience, concentrating, being enthusiastic, self-mastery and self-discipline, and you can include any of your favorite others.

How do you create and access states? One way is to speak and act in ways that are consistent with that state. Another way is to remember times and moments when you were already in a specific state. Memories of being in a positive state access that state from your brain to the rest of your mind and body.

How do you collect resourceful states? Every time you are in an especially positive state give that state a unique name. You can even use your imagination to create great states and then those states have an actual physiological reality. You can name resourceful states after great people and other role models for that state. I advocate collecting states in alphabetical order, but you can use any order you prefer.

Think of your most joyful moments. What names do you want to give each of those states? You can create a name after a specific victory or success: "Winning the game state." Or, "Being given an award state." It could be that something especially wonderful happened to you. Name the state after the event, situation, place or people associated with it. Think of your calmest most serene moments. You might name your state after a specific place: for example, "Peaceful garden state." "On top of Mount Everest state." Think of your most confident and courageous moments. Give those states names. Think of your most creative and insightful moments. Give those states names.

. Mastery of your states will upgrade your reaching your most important goals. It will help you develop your character traits and it will upgrade your self-image.

Love Yehuda Lave

7 Year-Old Crushes National Anthem, Zlatan Approves

The LA Galaxy took on the Seattle Sounders but before the match began #GalaxySocial National Anthem Contest winner 7-year-old Malea Emma sang the national anthem. #Zlatan #Galaxy

Why Are Women Exempt From Certain Mitzvahs? By Yehuda Shurpin

Mitzvahs are divided into two categories—the things that we're commanded to do ("positive mitzvahs," e.g., believe in one G‑d, honor our parents) and the things we're commanded not to do ("negative mitzvahs," e.g., don't kill, don't steal).The Mishnah tells us that women are obligated to do mitzvahs that aren't bound to a specific time, as well as refrain from almost1 all prohibitions—including those that are time-related. They are generally exempt, however, from all obligations that must be fulfilled at a specific time, such as tzitzit, tefillin, reading the Shema, shofar, sukkah,lulavand Sefirat HaOmer.2

It's important to note that "exempt" doesn't mean "stay out of this." Most of these are optional for women—if a woman so chooses,3 she can fulfill the mitzvah, and she has a reward for doing so. Indeed, some, such as reading the Shema morning and night, women have accepted upon themselves as an obligation.

Furthermore, this is not an absolute rule, as there are certain time-bound mitzvahs that women are obligated to do. For example, women must make or hear kiddush on Shabbat, even though it is clearly a time-bound mitzvah. Why? Because women are included in the prohibition "Don't work on Shabbat," and since both the obligations and prohibitions of Shabbat "were said as one" during the giving of the Ten Commandments, women are obligated to do all the positive aspects of Shabbat as well.4

Additionally, women are obligated to fulfill time-bound mitzvahs that commemorate an event or miracle that they were part of, such as the mitzvah of eating matzah (which commemorates the Exodus) or the rabbinic mitzvahs of Chanukah and Purim.

Nevertheless, the question remains: Why, generally speaking, are women exempt from time-bound mitzvahs?

In this article:

Women Have Other, More Important Obligations

One common explanation is that women are often preoccupied with their familial duties and it is not realistic to expect them to make themselves available for mitzvahs that must be done at a specific time. In Jewish tradition, raising children is considered one of the most elevated forms of service of G‑d, crucial to the continuation of His nation and His Torah.5 And it is specifically women whom G‑d endowed with qualities vital to nurturing a family.6 Thus, since women are often engaged in this holy task, they are exempt from these obligations.

This brings us to the obvious question, what about women who don't have family responsibilities—why are they exempt? Although some would answer that once there is a general rule in the Torah, it applies even in situations where the reason behind it may not apply, in truth, there are deeper reasons given behind this exemption.

Women Don't Need These Commandments

Some explain that the Torah did not impose these time-bound mitzvahson women because there is no need to. Women have a greater natural fervor and more faithful enthusiasm and are in less danger than men of falling prey to the temptations that they encounter in the course of their lives. Accordingly, it was not necessary to give women these repeated reminders to remain true to their calling, and warnings against moments of weakness.7

However, if it were only a matter of faith and fervor, it begs the question, does a man who is righteous or "the shepherd of faith" like Moses also not really need to fulfill time-bound mitzvahs? And what about a woman who is not so fervent? Does she then need to fulfill these mitzvahs? Is the difference in obligation simply a matter of the Torah setting down the rule based on the majority of men and women?

Two Halves of a Soul

A deeper look at the relationship of man and woman can enlighten us in this regard.

When discussing the creation of man and woman, the Torah does not describe them as two distinct entities, but as a single whole: "And G‑d created the Adam in His image, male and female He created them."8 Thus, the Zohar explains that divine image is neither male nor female, but a synthesis of both.9 It is only later that G‑d separates Adam into two distinct entities, and even then man and woman are each considered half a person—not just in soul, but in body as well.

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal) explains that man and woman are two dimensions of a single soul. Each individual soul is charged with the implementation of the entire Torah–its masculine element, acting through a male body, is enjoined to carry out the Torah's masculine commandments; and its feminine element, vested in a female body, to realize the Torah's feminine goals. Thus, the Arizal explains that "when the male performs a mitzvah [commanded specifically to men], there is no need for the woman to do it on her own, since she is included in his performance of the mitzvah."10

This applies even if the two souls never actually join in marriage, for, ultimately, they are still two halves of the same soul, with each part of the soul working in its distinct way.

For more teachings of the Kabbalah concerning men and women, see The Kabbalah of Man and Woman.

Yet we are still left with the question of why it is that the female half is the one that doesn't have to do time-bound mitzvahs.

Why can't we reverse the roles and have her fulfill the obligations of the man? What is the essential difference between the makeup of the two halves of the soul that results in their different missions and obligations in this world?

Again, we need to probe deeper.

Women and Timelessness

The phenomenon of gender is a core element of our universe. Almost everywhere we look, life is propagated and sustained by a continuous drama of opposites meeting and uniting. Torah, being the "blueprint of creation," also contains two opposite poles that meet and unite to create the dynamic of applied wisdom. Throughout the halachah of Torah, we meet the synthesis of these opposites in different forms: the timeless and the time-bound, the general and the specific, permanence and change—these are only some of their manifestations in the practical wisdom of Torah.

When G‑d gave the Torah to Moses, He instructed him, "So you shall relate to the house of Jacob, and pronounce to the sons of Israel . . ."11 Expounding on this verse, the Midrash explains that "the house of Jacob" refers to the women; "the sons of Israel," the men. The verse is saying, "Relate the general principles [of Torah] to the women, and pronounce [its] exacting particulars to the men."12

In other words, the female soul is more aligned with the general, essential, and timeless principles of awe and faith—as exemplified by many biblical women—whereas men relate more to the detail, the specific law, the particular application within time and space.

This distinction between women and men is also reflected in the role parents have in determining the identity of their child. The essence of Jewishness is determined by the mother, whereas the particulars of Jewishness, such as tribal identity, are determined by the father.

This, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains, is the deeper explanation as to why women are generally exempt from time-bound mitzvahs. Women are more connected to the general aspect of the mitzvahs, that essential, primordial aspect that is not constrained or bound by the limitations of time. Therefore, they are generally only obligated to keep the negative commandments, as well as non-time-bound positive commandments.13 14

Just as it was in the merit of the righteous women that we were redeemed from Egypt and received the Torah, so, too, in the final redemption, it is specifically in their merit that we will usher in the final redemption.15 May it be speedily in our days!

Footnotes 1.

The exceptions are for the prohibition of cutting the beard or payot, as well as the prohibition against contracting ritual impurity from a corpse, which applies only to men.


Mishnah, Kiddushin 1:7.


There are, however, some positive time-bound mitzvahs, such as tefillin, that women don't do, even voluntarily. For more on that, see Why Women Don't Wear Tefillin? and Is It Appropriate for a Woman to Wear a Tallit?


Talmud, Brachot 20b; some of the other ones that they are obligated to do are rejoice on the three pilgrim-holidays, Hakhel, eat matzah on Passover and afflict oneself on Yom Kippur (although it can be argued that the latter is actually a negative mitzvah).


See responsum Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:49.


See Abudraham, Birchat Hamitzvot; Sefer Chassidim 1011 (Mekitzei Nirdamim ed.); Responsum Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:49; Responsum Mishpetei Uziel 4, inyanim kelaliyim 4.


Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch on Leviticus 23:43.


Genesis 1:27.


Zohar, Book I, 85b.


Taamei Hamitzvot, Parshat Bereishit.


Exodus 19:13.


Mechilta on Exodus 19:13.


See Likkutei Sichot, vol. 31, p. 97-98.


For more on the distinct roles of women and men in Jewish practice, read Women in the Synagogue—An Answer to the Controversy, especially the section titled "Bipolar Order."


See Yalkut Shimoni, Ruth 606.

By Yehuda Shurpin

On the beginning

LA TORAH DE TEKOA PAR EDOARDO Published on Jun 18, 2019

Deciphered Dead Sea Scrolls pose questions for historians

 Deciphered by Prof. Ariel and Faina Feldman, the segments written in semi-cursive script, folded and were encased in small leather remnants. By ALEX WINSTON

Two of the few remaining undechipered segments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been deciphered, more than sixty years after they were first discovered.

Deciphered by Prof. Ariel and Faina Feldman of the Texas Christian University, the segments written in semi-cursive script, folded and were encased in small leather remnants, like many examples of tefillin [phylacteries] found in the desert from the Second Temple period.

However, unlike tefillin, which contain parchments quoting the Book of Exodus or Deuteronomy, the previously undechipered writing was found found to be prayers and the names of angels, components which are consistent with Jewish amulets, which whilst using holy words, did not directly quote from the Bible. 

This has opened up the possibility to modern historians that written amulets were potentially in use in Judaism during the Second Temple era, something previously not recognized.


The scrolls, a collection of manuscripts containing biblical and extra-biblical writings were first found in 1947 by local Bedouin in the area of Qumran, near the Dead Sea

The research was published in two journals: "4Q147: An Amulet?" in the March 2019 issue of Dead Sea Discoveries and "4Q148 (4QPhylactère T): Another Amulet from Qumran?" in the May 2019 issue of The Journal for the Study of Judaism.

See you tomorrow-bli neder

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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