Monday, May 21, 2012

Rav Kook: Dangers of women voting

Rav Kook (Page 58 in Judge Elon’s Status of Women): The psychological reason for having women vote and for publicly calling voting by the name of “the right of women” is a consequence of the lowly state of women in the general population in these countries. If the condition of their families were truly tranquil and decent as we find in most of our families – then we would not have the women themselves, nor the academics or ethical authorities or idealists be trying to achieve what they call the “rights of voting for women.” It is something which in fact is likely to ruin the quality of family life.  And this destruction of family life must of necessity lead to great destruction in the quality of communities as well as society in general. It is only because of the despair and psychological bitterness that results from the coarse conduct of men that secular family life has been ruined. Thus the secular society decided to try to improve the situation by means of giving more power to the community and to try with this to elevate the broken ruins of the family unit. But they have shown no concern for the negative side-effects and consequences from such a change since they already have so much breakdown in the family unit for other reasons. However, we in contrast have not descended to their lowly existence and we don’t wish to see our sisters in this degraded state. The home for us is even now a bastion of holiness.  G‑d forbid that we should degrade the brilliant light that exists in the life of our sisters and to create the possibility of embittering their lives by means of exposing them to the conflicting views and bitter disputes that are connected with the elections and the political issues concerning the nature of the country.

18 comments :

  1. Mighty Garnel IronheartMay 21, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Well how many world wars did we have before universal sufferage was introduced?

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    1. Obama would never have had a chance to be president if only men could vote.

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    2. Obama's given us universal suffering....

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  2. "It is only because of the despair and psychological bitterness that results from the coarse conduct of men that secular family life has been ruined."

    It's interesting (and significant, I think) that he lays the blame at the feet of men (whom he holds responsible for the degradation of family life) rather than at the feet of women (for trying to do something, even if misguidedly, to help ease their own suffering). At least, that's how it appears from this excerpt.

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  3. RDE: What doea Judge Elon have to do with thjs Rac Kook?

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    1. Judge Elon wrote a book on the status of women in halacha. One of the chapters deals with the battle over the right to vote in the frum community.

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  4. So... what exactly is the danger here?

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  5. Interesting how nobody seems to quote Rav Kook when it comes to him stating that rabbis are often more corrupt than laymen... Saw it with my own eyes.

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  6. All kidding aside, this quote is a fascinating reminder of who Rav Kook was.
    Most people think the Dati Leumi are just Modern Orthodox who live in Israel. This is a reminder that Rav Kook was quite a Chareidi (that's not a criticism) when it came to most traditional values.

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    1. He was, albeit briefly before his relocation to Israel, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh.

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    2. And a star student at Volozhin under the Netziv.

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  7. So men, even non-Jewish men, were wonderful until the late nineteenth century? Does history back this up?

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  8. I think he should go all the way.

    Hertzl could not imagine Israel being a democracy and a republic.

    In "Der Judenstaat" he asserts that he could not imagine all classes having equal voting rights.

    I suppose that Rabbis from Central and easstern Europe, at that time, also opposed democracy and voting rights for the unwashed masses...

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  9. Given women the right to vote almost ensures a left wing polity.

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    1. No, I don't think this is the case. There are women who vote left and women who vote right, just like the men.

      Many studies were conducted on the impact of women voting rights, and the result is mainly that not much changes, except that women tend to be more in favor of security and against risks.

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    2. PS: Some chareidi communities still think it is part of their "identity" to deny women voting rights.

      I really don't understand....

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  10. This is a very interesting insight into Rav Kook's idealistic worldview - that the Jewish family is its own unit and that women are the cohen gadol of that unit (my recasting) - that they are removed from the day-to-day petty, secular, material issues of the outside world and as such retain a holiness. It fits within a Torah paradigm.

    However, in our times (i.e., ever since churban hamikdash) women were working outside the home, fully exposed to and engaged in the slop and sh** that is the real world. Like many other Torah paradigms, it just doesn't advance society any more.

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