Monday, September 10, 2012

Kadosh (i.e., like angels) - men but not women?

Maharal (Nesiv Pirushus 1): discusses the idea of kedusha as a distancing from gashmiyus based on Yevamos (20a) where Rava says that a person should sanctify himself by restricting things where are permitted. The Maharal adds that someone who works on avoiding or minimizing gashmiyus not only has the attribute of kedusha but is called a kadosh. He notes that being a kadosh is being like an angel who has no connection to gashmiyus. Kedusha comes from  minimizing such material activities as eating or sexual involvement 

I  couldn't find the concept of kadosh applied to women but it seems exclusive to men. On these lines is the fact that a man wears a kitel on Yom Kippur to be like an angel - but not a woman because the Magen Avraham (610:10) says that women can not be like angels.
Magen Avraham[1](O.C. 610:5): To be like angels – according to this women should not wear white on Yom Kippur because they can’t be like angels as it states in Misheli (21:22) A wise man scales the city of the mighty men. [This refers to Moshe going to heaven to be with the angels] It refers to the Heaven as the  “city of the mighty men”. Thus only men are capable of being like angels


[1] מגן אברהם (תרי:ה): דוגמת מלאכי - ולפ"ז אין הנשים לובשין לבנים דאין יכולים להיות כמלאכים דעיר גברי' כתיב כמ"ש מט"מ גבי טבילה ומ"מ הקיט"ל יכולים ללבוש שיכנע לבם, אפי' מי שלובש שק מחמת תשובה אסור ללבשו ביה"כ (ס"ח תרט"ו ר"ש הלוי סימן ו'), איתא בילקוט שופטים דף ט' ע"א לעשות פתילות עבות בבה"כ

Vayikra Rabbah[1](31:5): R. Joshua of Siknin in the name of R. Aha cited, A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty--gibborim (Prov. XXI, 22).1 The written form is gebarim (men), for all of them are males; there are no females among them.


[1] ויקרא פרשה (לא:ה): ר' יהושע דסכנין בשם ר' אחא אמר (משלי כא) עיר גבורים עלה חכם גברים כתיב שכלם גברים ואין בהם
 It seems clear from Bereishis (6:2) which discusses fallen angels as being male and sexually active - that fallen angels are men. So just as men can elevate themselves to be a kadosh i.e., angel, Angels can degrade themselves to be men.

This seems rather strange to me since I don't know of any other mida which doesn't apply both to men and women. It points to a very fundamental concern when trying to understand the distinction between  men and women.

I would appreciate any references to this matter - either in showing me that being a kadosh applies also to women or in showing me sources that reinforce this distinction. Alternative showing that women can reach the level of angels or show additional sources that they can't.

81 comments:

  1. "This seems rather strange to me since I don't know of any other mida which doesn't apply both to men and women."

    There are so many middos that are different between men and women.

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    1. could you give me another example where one gender has the status but not the other? Humility, fear of G-d, kindness etc etc? I am not talking about they have different ways of expressing a midah. In this case apparently only a man can be a kadosh but not a woman

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  2. I was taught that when a married woman emerges from the mikveh she is thoroughly kadosh and on a level akin to melachim, and that women, unlike men, have the capacity to reach heights of kedusha (and levels of tumah) due to their natural cycles.

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    1. What is the source for such an assertion?

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    2. My kallah teacher? You know I wasn't given the tools to source anything.

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  3. Daas Torah, I can't see where you read that "only a man can be a kadosh". The MA you cited only states that women can't be angels.

    "Amar Abbayeh kol ha mekayem divrei chachamim nikrah kadosh" (Yevamos 20a)

    There seems to be no reason this shouldn't apply to women also, and not just men.

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    1. Again I derived this from the Maharal's reasoning which apparently follows Rava not Abaye.

      The question is not whether they can have kedusha but whether there is a single source where they a called kodesh? The Maharal explicitly says that those who are striving to emulate angels not only have kedusha but they themselves are kodesh. The Magen Avraham says women can't be angels.

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  4. > It seems clear from Bereishis (6:2) which discusses fallen angels as being male and sexually active - that fallen angels are men.

    What makes this so clear? R' Hirsch, for instance, takes "bnei Elokim" to mean the descendants of Shes (rather than of Kain) who were more oriented to G-dly concerns (just like "ben Torah" surely doesn't mean a "son" of the Torah, but one whose values reflect Torah).
    It seems a stretch to bring a proof from a largely subjective (not to mention theologically problematic - sons of G-d???) interpretation of a posuk - especially if there are other, more straightforward, interpretations available.

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    1. There is a clear dispute whether the term is referring to judges and leaders or to angels.

      Rashi (Bereishis 6:2):[[ the sons of the nobles: Heb. בָּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, the sons of the princes (Targumim) and the judges (Gen. Rabbah 26:5). Another explanation: בָּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים are the princes who go as messengers of the Omnipresent. They too mingled with them (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 22). Every אֱלֹהִים in Scripture is an expression of authority, and the following proves it (Exod. 4:16):“And you shall be to him as a lord (לֵאלֹהִים)” ; (ibid. 7:1):“See, I have made you a lord (אֶלֹהִים).” when they were beautifying themselves: Heb., טֹבֹת. Said Rabbi Judan: It is written טבת [i.e., instead of טובות. Thus it can be טָבַת, meaning to beautify.] When they would beautify her, adorned to enter the nuptial canopy, a noble would enter and have relations with her first (Gen. Rabbah 26:5). כי טבת הנה: אמר רבי יודן טבת כתיב, כשהיו מטיבין אותה מקושטת ליכנס לחופה, היה גדול נכנס ובועלה תחלה: from whomever they chose: Even a married woman, even males and animals (Gen. Rabbah ad loc.).

      רש"י (יומא סז:): עוזא ועזאל - מלאכי חבלה שירדו לארץ בימי נעמה אחות תובל קין ועליהם נאמר ויראו בני האלהים את בנות האדם (בראשית ו) כלומר, על העריות מכפר.


      See also Rekanti citing a Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezar quoting Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha

      ריקאנטי (בראשית ו:ב): ויראו בני האלהים את בנות האדם וגומר [ו, ב]. כבר ידעת מה שדרשו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה בפרקי רבי אליעזר [פכ"ב] על המלאכים שנפלו ממקום קדושתן, אמרו שם רבי אומר המלאכים שנפלו ממקום קדושתן מן השמים, ראו בנות דורותיו של קין שהיו מהלכות ערומות בשר ערוה ומכחלות עיניהם כזונות, תעו אחריהן ולקחו מהן לנשים, שנאמר ויראו בני האלהים. רבי יהושע בן קרחה אומר המלאכים אש לוהט הם שנאמר [תהלים קד, ד] משרתיו אש לוהט. אלא משעה שנפלו ממקום קדושתן מן השמים נעשה כחן וקיומן כבני אדם, ולבשו גוף עפר, שנאמר [איוב ז, ה] לבש בשרי רמה וגוש עפר:

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    2. So the part of your question that relates to angels is really going on the Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer etc., rather than on the posuk (which is ambiguous). The problem is that midrashim, too, are inherently ambiguous. See Michtav M'Eliyahu vol IV page 115 where he wrote that midrashim often present dialogs between melachim or involving G-d etc, not because they ever took place, but as a dramatic vehicle to teach some important moral lesson. This might well be one of those.
      It's hard to use such sources as clear proofs.

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    3. The same can be said about the commentaries or understanding of the rishonim and achronim which assume that these statements are to be taken literally.

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    4. While to be fair, each meforesh has to be taken in his own context, still, as a general observation, who is to say that these meforshim really did take the statements literally? Perhaps they were simply "playing along" to most effectively bring out whatever moral lesson is being taught...

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    5. I think it is possible to say that about rishonim and achronim - at least according to Rav Dessler. But you are extending this approach to Chazal themselves which is a very probelmatic approach. See the Leshem's criticism of Maharetz Chayes regarding this.

      But what is your issue at this point? Are you saying that no one holds that fallen angels appeared to be men and that everyone rejects the assertion that they had sexual relations with women? That Rashi was merely "playing along" to teach a moral lesson but didn't believe these things actually happened?

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    6. > "I think it is possible to say that about rishonim and achronim - at least according to Rav Dessler. But you are extending this approach to Chazal themselves which is a very probelmatic approach. See the Leshem's criticism of Maharetz Chayes regarding this."

      R' Dessler was talking about Chazal, not rishonim. And the Leshem seems to be a bit of a minority opinion in this one - as has been well documented over the past few years, there are key rishonim (and others) who don't see things his way.

      > Are you saying that no one holds that fallen angels appeared to be men and that everyone rejects the assertion that they had sexual relations with women?

      I'd say that that is certainly a possibility. And since it is a real possibility, it may be impossible to draw any hard theological conclusions from it.
      And that's besides the serious theological problems associated with attributing such behavior to melachim.

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    7. Rav Dessler says that what Chazal say is the true meaning of the verse while Rishonim offer interpretations. I don't have access to Michtav M'Eliyahu to learn what he says in the section you are citing. But assuming that you have read it correctly - then Rav Dessler seems to be contradicting himself. The below section is consistent with the Leshem which you insist is a minority view.

      Michtav M’Eliyahu (4:353): 5) It is important however to distinguish between those explanations which are basically interpretation of the verses and those of our Sages which are the actual meaning of the verses. Given this clear distinction it is puzzling why many Rishonim strive to follow a different understanding than the true explanation given by our Sages? We find such tendencies in the commentary of the Rashbam, Ibn Ezra and other Rishonim. What is the purpose of offering explanations which differ from the definitive true ones? I think that they offer these alternative explanations for the sake of confused people. In other words, these Rishonim want to show that there are many different aspects even in the simple understanding of the verses and that it is permissible for a person to create new interpretations according to what makes sense to him. (Of course, any alternative explanations which contradict foundation principles of faith are prohibited.) This is consistent with our understanding of R’ Shmuel HaNagid. This advice is very critical in order to save the souls of the confused people. Such an approach is similar to that of the Rambam who wrote so much for the confused. We see this from the fact that many difficulties that exist in what he wrote could have been explained in a much clearer fashion. However, since he was addressing confused people he provided alternative explanations which they could accept - as long as it didn’t contradict the Halacha. Using this approach, I have been able to understand the difficult comments of the Radak who was a very holy person and one of the great members of the period of the Rishonim. In particular, it justifies his comments concerning the disparity of the text of the Torah and how it is to be read in a number of places (kri v’kesiv)….

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    8. > "It is important however to distinguish between those explanations which are basically interpretation of the verses and those of our Sages which are the actual meaning of the verses."

      That's no problem. Based on your source, we see that R' Dessler believed that Chazal's explanations are indeed the *true* meaning of the verses. But that doesn't mean that Chazel felt that the verses were always to be taken literally. Rather, there are times when their (true) explanations are to be understood in a non-literal fashion (an example of which we see in my quotation from R' Dessler).

      > "I think that they offer these alternative explanations for the sake of confused people"

      That sounds more than a little like the reaction of some roshei yeshivos to R' Hirsch: "he only meant TIDE as a hora'as Sha'ah". Familiarity with the actual texts of TIDE led to a different conclusion.

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    9. One of those roshei yeshivos was Rabbi Shimon Shwab. The following was what he wrote as a 25 year old Rav. 25 years later he realized that he had made a mistake.


      Selected Speeches page 240-241

      "And then he appeared: the gifted teacher, the inspired educator, the fighter, the victor who alone was able to make the great thrust. With indomitable courage, he reconquered position after position and stemmed the devastating tide of perfidy. He became a guide through a labyrinth of conflicting and confusing paths. Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch was the historical hero of that period because he was able to find that redeeming, militant device which could stop assimilation short. This saintly fighter, filled with the zeal of Pinchas, emulated the dauntless daring of Eliyahu, he, too, promul¬gated an emergency ruling in the hour of his nation's agony.
      The device of Torah im Derech Eretz became essential to Israel's survival. However, it was not meant to be anything more than a temporary arrangement, not an ideal state of affairs. The synthesis between Torah and culture could be obtained only as long as the overwhelming impact of a seemingly impressive culture remained unbroken, keeping alive the illusion that the Torah was outmoded. It was not Rav Hirsch who wedded culture with Jewishness; he only found himself faced with a situation that had long been a fait accompli. What he did was to respond to the challenge by choosing the only possible path, to make a virtue of a neces¬sity in order to preserve the claim of the Torah.

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    10. > "It is important however to distinguish between those explanations which are basically interpretation of the verses and those of our Sages which are the actual meaning of the verses."

      That's no problem. Based on your source, we see that R' Dessler believed that Chazal's explanations are indeed the *true* meaning of the verses. But that doesn't mean that Chazel felt that the verses were always to be taken literally. Rather, there are times when their (true) explanations are to be understood in a non-literal fashion (an example of which we see in my quotation from R' Dessler).
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      what you seem to be saying is that you don't know.

      What is the exact language of Rav Dessler?

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    11. < "What is the exact language of Rav Dessler?"

      You can see it here

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    12. > "what you seem to be saying is that you don't know."

      What I'm saying is that it's impossible to know.
      This is a big problem that I keep running into again and again. When I was writing the essays of my book on Yeshaya, I was unable to say with certainty that any particular pshat in any particular possuk was clearly and unambiguously the kavana of the navi himself. The rishonim seldom agreed to any one approach and they often differed from Chazal (who, I believe, had an entirely different methodology - see the Rashbam at the beginning of Parshas Vayishlach).
      If finally concluded that the navi intentionally wrote in an ambiguous way to allow every honest and G-d fearing doresh a way to find substance for his particular spiritual needs. I believe that it would have been impossible to do what he did in any other way.
      In the book, based on Yeshaya 50:4 I wrote:
      "...He would achieve the greatest success by using his sharpened senses to properly understand and then appropriately react to the needs of the moment. Imagine just how sharp these senses would need to be to accurately grasp the moods, ambitions and grumblings of large, geographically disparate populations. And especially since Isaiah's prophetic messages were written not only for his own time, but for generations, circumstances and individuals whose birth lay far off in the distant future! Indeed, for such a task he would surely need "awakened" hearing. Doubtless it was for this reason that the prophet also saw himself as a "true arrow" (49:2): just as an arrow is a weapon which strikes accurately at distant targets, so would Isaiah's messages need to be shaped so as to find their targets over many centuries and across far-flung continents."
      Through my work on the essays on my book on midrash, I came to a similar conclusion about aggadita.

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    13. So the part of your question that relates to angels is really going on the Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer etc., rather than on the posuk (which is ambiguous). The problem is that midrashim, too, are inherently ambiguous. See Michtav M'Eliyahu vol IV page 115 where he wrote that midrashim often present dialogs between melachim or involving G-d etc, not because they ever took place, but as a dramatic vehicle to teach some important moral lesson. This might well be one of those.
      It's hard to use such sources as clear proofs.

      I looked up Rav Dessler IV 15 and I don't agree with your understanding of what he says. He doesn't says, " See Michtav M'Eliyahu vol IV page 115 where he wrote that midrashim often present dialogs between melachim or involving G-d etc, not because they ever took place, but as a dramatic vehicle to teach some important moral lesson."

      All he says is ,"There is no sin by inanimate objects or angels. I have already clarified in a number of places that if it appears they they have sinned and been punished this is only to teach a lesson to man."

      The verse under discussion describes angles losing their status of angels and sinning. Furthermore there are sources that angels can sin - at least err in doing what Gd asks of them and that is considered a sin. Thus this Rav Dessler is not relevant to our discussion and there is no contradiction with the other citation where he states that Chazal state what the verse is saying while Rishonim provide interpretations. It is only when the verse can not be understood literally that we say it is metaphor - but this verse obviously can be understood literally and is by Rashi and others.

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    14. > "All he says is ,"There is no sin by inanimate objects or angels. I have already clarified in a number of places that if it appears they they have sinned and been punished this is only to teach a lesson to man."

      I still beg to differ. R' Dessler observed that the simple meaning of the midrash quoted by Rashi (that the earth and/or trees etc., had somehow rebelled against G-d's Will) was impossible to understand in its literal sense "It is clear that inanimate objects do not sin..." Therefore, R' Dessler sees himself with no choice but to conclude that midrashim (this one and others he alludes to) only write in these impossible terms to "teach human beings"
      It's true that you could also understand his words as "G-d actually orchestrated such an impossible dramatic conflict to teach human beings...", but that's effectively the same thing.

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    15. What does this have to do with understanding the verse as referring to fallen angels?! A fallen angel is not impossible to understand as is a sinning tree. Especially since Rashi and others accept it literally - so why do you insist that it was not meant so and therefore was just a poetic way of teaching a moral lesson?
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      you had written

      >DT: Are you saying that no one holds that fallen angels appeared to be men and that everyone rejects the assertion that they had sexual relations with women?

      B.C. I'd say that that is certainly a possibility. And since it is a real possibility, it may be impossible to draw any hard theological conclusions from it.
      And that's besides the serious theological problems associated with attributing such behavior to melachim.

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    16. > "so why do you insist that it was not meant so and therefore was just a poetic way of teaching a moral lesson?"

      I don't insist that it *can't* be literal. Rather, I assert that, because of the ambiguous nature of this kind of midrash, we can't know for sure that it *is* literal.
      This means that, when we offer such a midrash as part of a derasha, it must be tentative (the midrash *might* teach us this..."). More relevant: such sources cannot be used as rhetorical proofs.

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    17. Then we really are not disagreeing. i brought this issue has a hypothesis with sources that suggest that they support it. So far I haven't found any reason to reject it and it clearly has predictive validity. However I more sources need to be gathered to clarify whether this in fact has solid basis. You claim the sources are ambiguous and "we can't know for sure that it "is" literal".

      In other words the sources I cited can be understood as supporting my hypothesis - they don't prove it.

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  5. Tzlelploni (Baba Basra 91a) was explicitly commanded to refrain from certain things so her son Shimshon would be Kadosh Mirechem. See also Breishis Rabba Chayei Sarah 100 where she is one of the special ones.

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    1. All BB 91a says is "The mother of Samson [was named] Zlelponith, and his sister, Nashyan." Doesn't say she was a kadosh. My point is not that women are not pious and righteous - but they don't have the specific status of Kadosh - which apparently is only reserved for those who can be like angels ie, men.

      couldn't find her mentioned in Bereishis Rabba - Does it say she was a Kadosh?

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    2. I wasn't explicit enough. She was a Nezira. She was actually commanded to be one (unlike takiing it voluntarily, which is also okay) on account of her Tzidkus and the fact that she had someone in her who was Kidesh MiBeten as a Nazir (Shimshon). Chazal in Bamidbar Rabo (10:11) (Parshas Naso) explcitly knew about the connection between abstinence and kedusha (and it clearly applies LeHalocho to women through Nezirus). I tried to reproduce the words of the Medrash below, but it didn't work. Based on this Medrash I'd suggest you need to give a Sevoro that Kedusha based abstinence, doesn't apply to women and that Ish is Lav Davka!


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    3. pitputim you are bringing up important data. Is a nazir kodesh? Was his mother considered a kodesh or just an environment for produce kedusha. where does it state that his mother was a Nezira? Perhaps she was just provided an environment?

      Where is the discussion/texts that "the connection between abstinence and kedusha clearly applies Lehalachoto women through Nezirus." I didn't understand how Bamidbar Rabbah (10:11) suggests that kedusha based abstinence doesn't apply to women and that Ish is Lav Davka!"

      Is there a single source stating that women not only have holiness - but are themselves kodesh because of abstinence as men are? I have not found a single source advocating abstinence of sex or food or other permitted things - for women - in order that they become kodesh. So my hypothesis that kodesh means like an angel and therefore it doesn't apply to women who are not encouraged to be like angels - has not been rejected. In fact the above sources clearly state that women can't be like angels.

      To me the above indicates an absolute division of men and woman - not only in terms of physiology and mitvos - but also spirituality. Men reach spirituality by abstinence from that which permitted - women don't. What is the alternative path for women?

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    4. I reproduce some of the Midrash Rabba below. It's pretty clear to me. The case of Tzlelplonis is also mentioned around that section of the Midrash; not to mention the explicit language קדש מרחם

      כל ימי הזירו לה' וגו' בא וראה שכל מי שמקדש את עצמו מלמטה מקדישין אותו מלמעלה זה לפי שמזיר את עצמו מן היין ונוהג צער בעצמו שלא יגלח ראשו כדי לשמור עצמו מן העבירה אמר הקב"ה הרי הוא חשוב לפני ככהן גדול מה כהן אסור ליטמא לכל המתים אף נזיר אסור ליטמא לכל המתים מה בכ"ג כתיב (ויקרא כא)כי נזר שמן משחת אלהיו עליו אף בנזיר הוא אומר כי נזר אלהיו על ראשו מה בכהן כתיב (ד"ה א כג)ויבדל אהרן להקדישו קדש קדשים אף נזיר נקרא קדוש שנא' כל ימי נזרו קדוש הוא לה' בא וראה כמה המצות מעטרות את ישראל והלא גדול שער ניוול הוא לאדם שהוא אינו חופף ראשו ולפי שהוא

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  6. Does this mean that I no longer need to stand with my feet together during shemoneh esrei, since as a woman I can not aspire to be a malach? And what happens during ne'ilah. Should I be allowed to recite "Baruch shem..." aloud as I cannot attain the status of a malech?

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    1. good questions! Regarding the first

      http://www.torah.org/learning/tefilah/connectedfeet.html
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      Prayer elevates us above and beyond the confines of this worldly existence. In fact, in the midst of Shemoneh Esrei we can achieve a level comparable to malachim. How do we express this in our Shemoneh Esrei?

      "And their feet [of Heavenly Beings] are one straight foot" (Yechezkel 1,7). Unlike man, who can constantly reach new spiritual heights through performing mitzvos, malachim have a fixed spiritual level. Indeed, our Sages described malachim as having only one leg, i.e., they are incapable of movement. Therefore, we recite Shemoneh Esrei standing with our feet together, demonstrating our elevated angelic stature as we pray (Mishna Berura 95,2).

      On Yom Kippur, many men wear a kittel, a white robe, a gesture which symbolizes our angelic status on this special day (Rema 610,4). Angels are generally portrayed as male, and because of this women do not wear a kittel on Yom Kippur Mishna Berura 610,16). This raises a question: Must women keep their feet together during prayer?

      Some halachic authorities offer a different explanation for why we must keep our feet together. Locked legs is a symbol of our complete dependence on Divine assistance, since we cannot even move without Hashem's help at all times (Beis Yosef citing Mahari Abuhav). Because of this and other reasons, the accepted custom is that women also keep their feet together during Shemoneh Esrei (Toras Chaim 95,2).

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    2. Women don't wear kittels because they are bigdei ish. However, we do traditionally dress all in white on Yom Kippur, presumably for the same reason that men wear their kittels.

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    3. Are you disagreeing with the Magen Avraham which explicitly says otherwise? there are views that women wear kittel but not because they are like angels.

      שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות יום הכפורים סימן תרי

      יש שכתבו שנהגו ללבוש בגדים לבנים נקיים ביום כפור, דוגמת מלאכי השרת;

      מגן אברהם סימן תרי ס"ק ה

      ה (פמ"ג) (מחה"ש) דוגמת מלאכי - ולפ"ז אין הנשים לובשין לבנים דאין יכולים להיות כמלאכים

      משנה ברורה סימן תרי ס"ק יז

      (יז) השרת - ומטעם זה נהגו ללבוש בגדי פשתן לבן נקיים כמ"ש איש אחד לבוש בדים [ד"מ]:

      שולחן ערוך הרב אורח חיים הלכות יום הכפורים סימן תרי

      סעיף ט
      יש נוהגין ללבוש בגדים לבנים נקיים ביום הכיפורים כדי להיות דוגמת מלאכי השרת וכן נוהגין במדינות אלו ללבוש הקיטל שהוא בגד לבן ונקי ויש עוד טעם בלבישת הקיטל מפני שהוא בגד מתים ועל ידי זה נכנע לב אדם לעשות תשובה שלימה ולפיכך גם מי שהוא אבל מותר ללבוש הקיטל.
      וכן הנשים יכולות ללבוש הקיטל כדי להכניע לבן אבל שאר בגדים לבנים אין להן ללבוש כדי להיות דוגמת מלאכי השרת שאין יכולות להיות כמלאכים שנאמר עיר גבורים עלה חכם וגו' גברים כתיב:

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    4. Should I be allowed to recite "Baruch shem..." aloud as I cannot attain the status of a malech?

      See discussion in Benei Banim 3:5

      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20024&st=&pgnum=22

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  7. The keruvim are angels and one is male and one is female.

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  8. It is not clear what cherubim are. Rambam places them on level 9 out 10 for angels. Chazal do say that the images of cherubim appeared to be male and female. No other angels are described as being or appearing as female. The Magen Avrahom and others clearly say that women can not be angels and therefore there is no basis for women to do minhagim in which angels are imitated.

    There is a letter of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan to Dear Abby on the subject

    http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper%202/Utica%20NY%20Daily%20Observer/Utica%20NY%20Observer%201966.pdf/Utica%20NY%20Observer%201966%20-%203681.PDF


    Among his activities, he took the time to write to Dear Abby about cherubs.

    DEAR ‘ABBY: You are not likely to find any girl cherubs (or cherubim) since the Hebrew word “cherub” is a noun of masculine gender. According to the Hebrew grammar, a girl cherub would not be a cherub at all, but a “chewbah.” And the plural of “cherubah” is “cheruboth”— not “cherubim,”—which is the plural of “cherub^’
    RABBI LEONARD M. KAPLAN , MASON CITY. IA.

    See original source

    http://kavvanah.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/lost-rabbi-aryeh-kaplan-part-ii/

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  9. the source that angels are exclusively male is Mishlei (21:22):

    Magen Avraham (O.C. 610:5): To be like angels – according to this women should not wear white on Yom Kippur because they can’t be like angels as it states in Misheli (21:22) A wise man scales the city of the mighty men. [This refers to Moshe going to heaven to be with the angels] It refers to the Heaven as the “city of the mighty men”. Thus only men are capable of being like angels

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    1. Bochrim don't wear kittels either. Should we then assume that only MARRIED men can attain the status of malachim?

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    2. possible explanation is that Yevamos (20a) Rava says that kedusha comes from voluntarily avoiding that which is permitted to you - in particular sexuality. This is obviously not relevant for a bachur.

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    3. Claiming male or female status for angels is obviously not meant to be taken literally. You really think that angels have sexual organs?

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    4. Ben it is not a question of a thought experiment but rather what the Jewish sources say. So to say "You really think that angels have sexual organs?" is irrelevant. The only relevant question is there a gemora or Rashi that says whether they do.

      I also disagree with your statement that it is not meant literally - since that is against the Medrash Rabba as well as the Magen Avraham that understand it literally.

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    5. Than with all due respect this whole discussion is a bit of a silly one. Saying God is our Father doesn't me that God is He any more than saying that the Shechina is feminine and therefore God is a She. IMO getting caught up in these words prevents any real possible discussion.

      These words are obviously nothing more than an anthropomorphism in the same way as saying that God gets angry is. Angels are spiritual being and by definition the words male and female are completely out of place.

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    6. ben with all due respect - either you don't understand what I have repeated written or you don't agree with the basic rules of Orthodox Judaism.

      Whether you find it silly or not is not relevant and of no significance to a serious discussion of Jewish theology. There are clear statement of gender in connection to angels. Furthermore it is not simply an esoteric discussion but has clear consequences on halacha as well as hashkofa.

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  10. See Beni Banim 3:5 (translated in chapter 10 of Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Woman's Issues)

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    1. http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20024&st=&pgnum=22

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  11. I don't know much about such estoeric things as the gender of angels. How about a simple question-- does Kedoshim Tihyu apply to women? For those who count it as a mitzvah, it is a mitsvas aseh she lo ha zman gramma. Even the Rambam who says it is not a mitzvah, just a general rule of the Torah, would seem to apply it to women.

    In fact, the possuk says that Hashem commanded Moseh to speak to the whole of the Jewish people -- daber el kol adas bnei Yisrael and tell them Kedoshim Tihyu . Sure sounds like the women were included.

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    1. interesting question. Again I looking for the obligation to be a kodosh which is a status rather than acting in the manner of kedusha - actually separated from the material world rather than doing activities which promote separation regarding eating or sexual activity.

      Before you ask whether kedoshim tihyu applies to women - the issue is what is it? Is it a mitzva and if so what activity is being commanded? Alternatively is it a commandment that one is to be a kadosh i.e., similar to an angel or is a commandment to be more spiritual by reducing the amount of material involvement i.e., Yevamos 20a.

      Rambam says it simply means to keep the Torah.

      ספר המצוות לרמב"ם שורש ד

      וכבר טעו בשרש הזה גם כן עד שמנו קדושים תהיו (קדושים יט) מצוה מכלל מצות עשה. ולא ידעו כי אמרו קדושים תהיו, והתקדשתם והייתם קדושים (שם כ וסוף שמיני), הם צוויין לקיים כל התורה. כאילו יאמר היה קדוש בהיותך עושה כל מה שצויתיך בו ונזהר מכל מה שהזהרתיך ממנו. ולשון ספרא קדושים תהיו פרושים תהיו. רוצה לומר הבדלו מן הדברים המגונים כלם שהזהרתי אתכם מהם. ובמכלתא (דכספא) אמרו ואנשי קדש תהיון לי איסי בן יהודה אומר כשהקדוש ברוך הוא מחדש מצוה לישראל הוא מוסיף להם קדושה. רוצה לומר כי זה הצווי אינו צווי עומד בעצמו אבל הוא נמשך אחר מצוה שנצטוו בה ומקיים הצווי ההוא יקרא קדוש. ואין הפרש בין אמרו קדושים תהיו או אילו אמר עשו מצותי.

      It is frequently described as avoiding or at least minimizing sexual acttivity. Are you aware of any commands or even advice to women regarding this as we find by men?

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  12. there are various types of malachim -- serafim, ophanim, chayot, malachim, the ones guarding gan eden (rashi calls them klingons), zikim (?sparks?) etc.

    presumably, some may have some sort of gender, some have various other attributes, etc.

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    1. Your "presumably" ignores the fact that the medrash rabbah I quoted above explicity exludes the possiblity of female angels. Furthermore the Magen Avraham and others utilize the assertion halacha l'maaseh. So unless you have an explicit source describing female angels which explains the medrash away- then your conjecture must be rejected.

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  13. The Chinuch clearly states that the status of nazir applies to women also. In addition the Minchas Chinuch says that Nazirus is like any other neder and a woman's father or husband can nullify it.

    ספר החינוך מצוה שסח

    שלא ישתה הנזיר יין או כל מיני שכר

    שלא ישתה הנזיר יין, או כל מיני שכר שעיקר עירובו יהיה יין שהוא מיחל הענבים, דאילו מיחל שאר פירות אף על פי שנקרא שכר לא נאסר על הנזיר אלא בתערובת היוצא מן הגפן, ועל זה נאמר [במדבר ו', ג'] מיין ושכר יזיר וגו' וכל משרת ענבים לא ישתה, כלומר שכל תערובת שיש בו ענבים בכלל האיסור. והפליג במניעה ואמר שאפילו נתחמץ היין, או השכר שנתערב היין עמו, אסור לשתותו, ועל זה אמר הכתוב חומץ יין וחומץ שכר לא ישתה. ואין אלו שני לאוין, כלומר לאו ביין ולאו אחר בחומץ, שהרי לא אמר יין לא ישתה וחומץ יין לא ישתה. ולמדנו מעתה כי השותה היין והחומץ אינו לוקה אלא על אחת.

    משרשי ענין הנזירות כתבתי במצות עשה ד' [שע"ד] בסדר זה מה שידעתי, וגודל הרחקת הנזיר מכל תערובת היין הכל מן הטעם הכתוב שם.

    מדיני המצוה מה שאמרו זכרונם לברכה [נזיר ל"ד ע"ב] שכל היוצא מן הגפן, בין פרי בין פסולת, כלומר הזג שהיא הקליפה, והחרצן שהוא הזרע שבתוכו אסור לנזיר, וכמו שמפורש בכתוב. אבל העלין והלולבין והגפנים והסמדר הרי אלו מותרין שאינן לא פרי ולא פסולת אלא כמו עץ הם נחשבים. ויתר רובי פרטי המצוה מבוארין במסכתא הבנויה על זה והיא מסכת נזיר [פרק שלשה מינין].

    ונוהג איסור זה בזכרים ונקבות, בכל מקום ובכל זמן, שכל מי שנדר נזירות חייב להזיר מיין ושכר וחומץ יין וחומץ שכר ומכל משרת ענבים.

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    1. Bamidbar (6:2) 2. Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazirite, to separate themselves for the Lord;


      And the Rambam (Hilchos Nazir 2:17): The concept of a nazirite vow does apply to women and servants.47A father or a husband may nullify a nazirite vow taken by a woman if he so desires as is the case with regard to other vows.48 With regard to a servant, [to nullify his nazirite vow,]49 his master must compel him to drink [wine] or become impure due to contact with the dead. If he does not compel him,50 he must observe the nazirite vow.

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    2. the idea of a kadosh wearing makeup is strange. Furthermore according to Rava in Yevamos (20a). I would suggest that a nazir is not kadosh - though there are aspects of kedusha in what he does - since he is forced by a nedar while a kadosh restricts that which is permitted to him - not by rabbinic laws and not by nedarim. Abaye might agree since he says that a kadosh is one who fulfills rabbinic laws that restrict that which the Torah permits. The Maharal is going with the view of Rava.

      Nazir(45a-b):[[ R. Simeon [of] Shezuri said: ‘And the nazirite shall shave at the door of the tent of meeting’, but not a female nazirite, lest the young priests become assailed by temptation through her.1 [R. Simeon's colleagues] said to him: The case of the faithless wife2 disproves your point, for there it is written, And [the priest] shall set her before the Lord,3 and we are not afraid lest the young priests be assailed by temptation, through her.4 He replied: [The woman nazirite] pencils [her eyebrows] and applies rouge, whilst [the faithless wife] uses neither pencil nor rouge.5

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  14. Humans cannot be like angels, since angels are created for one mission and disappear as soon as the mission is completed.

    Therefore, any reference to humans as angels is metaphorical only. It is, so to speakt, the hightest compliment that can be made in a religious context. The same goes for "kadosh".

    Therefore, there is no reason why this metaphor should not be applied to women as well as men. And indeed, it is used, at least in spoken language...

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    1. not all angels are created for one mission and disappear afterwards.

      you comments are totally ignoring the Magen Avraham as well as the Rav's Shulchan Aruch based on medrash rabbah which say the opposite of your view.

      while it is true that people refer to others as being angels - but I am concerned with conceptual consistency within the context of Jewish texts. Especially when this concept seems to have major consequence in halacha and hashkofa.

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  15. The idea of a kadosh wearing makeup is only strange in a context that views this behavior negatively. Torah sources create a dialectical reality where makeup application can be negative, i.e., derivative of Egyptian custom, or positive, as in the midrashim about the women whose mirrors were used to make the kior.

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    1. no I am not saying that wearing makeup per se is negative. The point of kadosh as expressed by Chazal is abstaining and separating from gashmiyus - on a voluntary basis (Yevamos 20a). To say that a female Nazir is kodesh - but she wears makeup so that others see her as sexually attractive - even if it is her husband - goes against the basic concept of kadosh. Put another way - if there are female angels - would they wear lipstick or jewelry?

      Makeup is for the wife to be maximally attractive to her husband and to keep him from thinking about other women as well as to promote having children. There are views that a husband can divorce his wife simply because he finds her unattractive and therefore it is imperative that she use makeup. These reasons are not relevant in the realm of kedusha.


      Rashi (Shemos 38:8):[[ from the mirrors of the women who had set up the legions: Heb. בְּמַרְאֹתהַצֹבְאֹת Israelite women owned mirrors, which they would look into when they adorned themselves. Even these [mirrors] they did not hold back from bringing as a contribution toward the Mishkan, but Moses rejected them because they were made for temptation [i.e., to inspire lustful thoughts]. The Holy One, blessed is He, said to him, “Accept [them], for these are more precious to Me than anything because through them the women set up many legions [i.e., through the children they gave birth to] in Egypt.” When their husbands were weary from back-breaking labor, they [the women] would go and bring them food and drink and give them to eat. Then they [the women] would take the mirrors and each one would see herself with her husband in the mirror, and she would seduce him with words, saying, “I am more beautiful than you.” And in this way they aroused their husbands desire and would copulate with them, conceiving and giving birth there, as it is said: “Under the apple tree I aroused you” (Song 8:5). This is [the meaning of] what is בְּמַרְאֹתהַצֹבְאֹת [lit., the mirrors of those who set up legions]. From these [the mirrors], the washstand was made, because its purpose was to make peace between a man and his wife. [How so?] By giving a drink from the water that was in it [the washstand] to [a woman] whose husband had warned her [not to stay in private with a certain man] and she secluded herself [with him anyway. The water would test her and either destroy her or prove her innocence. See Num. 5:11-31]. You should know that they were actually mirrors, because it is said: “The copper of the waving was seventy talents… From that he made…” (Exod. 38:29, 30), but the washstand and its base were not mentioned there [among the things produced from the seventy talents. Thus,] you have learned that the copper of the washstand was not of the copper of the waving. So did Rabbi Tanchuma expound [on the matter] (Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei 9; Num. Rabbah 9:14). And so did Onkelos render: בְּמֶחְזְיַתנְשַׁיָא [“the mirrors of the women”], which is the Aramaic translation of מַרְאוֹת, mirrors in French. So we find in Isaiah (3:23) וְהַגִּלְיֹנִים (sic), which we render: וּמַחְזְיָתָא, and the mirrors.

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  16. Well, the magen avrahem seems to rely on the implicit assumption that angels are male.

    I would define angels as sexless creatures...

    so it could be that what the magen avraham writes here is just the result of the gender-bias of his time. It is not proven, but it never was called into question...

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    1. no - he is relying on the Medrash Rabbah's understanding of a verse in Mishlei.

      Vayikra Rabbah[1](31:5): R. Joshua of Siknin in the name of R. Aha cited, A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty--gibborim (Prov. XXI, 22).1 The written form is gebarim’ (men), for all of them are males; there are no females among them.


      [1] ויקרא פרשה (לא:ה): ר' יהושע דסכנין בשם ר' אחא אמר (משלי כא) עיר גבורים עלה חכם גברים כתיב שכלם גברים ואין בהם

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    2. So? "The wise man scaleth a city of males."

      "males", because there are no females in the city.

      How does this imply that angels would be male, rather than female???

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    3. I would say: if it is a city of males, it is not a city of angels, since angels have no gender...

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    4. the Hebrew is spelled gebarim - which means males though it is read gibborim - mighty.

      The Medrash is telling you that the verse thus conveys two facts 1) It is a city of the mighty i.e., angels and that they are males.

      Thus Chazal in this medrash are stating that angels are only males and not femals and are using the verse in Mishlei to convey the message.

      If you want to disagree you need to find another source in Chazal which states that angels can also be female. Since such a source apparently doesn't exist by default this medrash is the only authoritative source dealing with the gender of angels.

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    5. Brad your deductions are relevant only if there is not an explicit statement of Chazal against it. Since there is, the only way to claim that your view is acceptable is to find another statement of Chazal that supports it

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  17. " since that is against the Medrash Rabba as well as the Magen Avraham that understand it literally."

    This reminds me of the famous story in Emet Le;Yaacov by Rav Kamenetsky. He was sure that the moon was a spiritual being because the Rambam wrote that the moon was a spiritual being. Comes along Neil Armstrong and boom, the Rav has to figure out how could it be that the Rambam was wrong.

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    1. Ben you left out half the story. Rav Yaakov held that just as Chazal must be right - and even when they disagree eilu v'eilu - also applies to rishonim. Thus his problem was how could the Rambam be wrong. He answered because the first four chapters of hilchos De'os are simply philosophy - not Torah.

      So yes - if you want to throw out a meddrash Rabbah which is accepted by the Magen Avraham and the Alter Rebbe - you need a source of at least equivalent authority. Since you don't have one you can't throw it out. Ben Waxman declaring that this is silly - doesn't carry any weight. Rav Yaakov had to deal with the reality that the astronauts had landed. I don't have to be concerned with your gut feelings.

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    2. you don't have to be concerned with anything as far that goes. however, your taking this midrash literally doesn't mean that anyone else has to. How to interpret midrashim is an old question, and there is no one right answer. it is certainly true that i don't adhere to rules of interpretation given by certain chareidi rabbanim.

      however in this case, your literal interpretation of the MR and the MA are going against a halachic wall. the rambam writes in the mishne torah that angels don't have physical bodies, period. all of the physical terms used to describe angels are only a mashal. therefore it is simply wrong to say that angels are men. maybe the midrash means that angels have some male quality, maybe it means something else, but it can't be taken literally.

      to make halachic implications starting from a literal interpretation of a midrash when said interpretation simply can't be is sloppy thinking at best.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. The Maharal also says in pirkei avos, on the mishnah that says that excessive conversation with a woman leads to bitul torah and gehenom, that...

    Well, I don't want to paraphrase him because what he says is astonishing and shouldn't be paraphrased by someone like me, who may have not understood him. But look it up, it goes right along with what he says here.

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    1. (1) ספר דרך חיים - פרק א משנה ה
      יוסי בן יוחנן איש ירושלים. מפני שאלו שניהם הם זוג ביחד שזה נשיא וזה אב"ד, ושניהם ביחד אבות הדור והדור צריך להם, ולפיכך אמרו שניהם ג"כ ענין אחד הוא תקון בית האדם שהוא דבר גדול שהוא צורך אל האדם ויהיה מתוקן לגמרי. ויש לשאול בדברי יוסי בן יוחנן שאמר שיהא ביתך פתוח לרוחה ויהיו עניים בני ביתך מה הענין זה לזה ואל תרבה שיחה עם אשה שאין אלו דברים שייכים ביחד, ועוד שאמר באשתו אמרו באיזה צד נזכר שדבריהם הם באשתו, וכך היה לו לומר אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה כ"ש עם אשת חבירך, ועוד מאי ענין הרעה שגורם לעצמו במה שהוא מרבה שיחה עם האשה, ועוד שאמר שבוטל מדברי תורה כל מי שמרבה ומדבר שיחה בטילה בוטל מדברי תורה ולא הוי צריך לומר, ועוד שאמר שיורד לגיהנם מה חרי אף הגדול שיהיה יורד לגיהנם:
      אבל דע כמו שתקן יוסי בן יוחנן איש ירושלים שיהיה ביתו בית קדוש, ומפני כי אלו ג' דברים שייך אל בית האדם, כי על ידי שיש לאדם בית דירה באים בני אדם לשם לשאול כלים וכיוצא בזה גם נכנסים אורחים אצלו ואם אין לו בית אין אורחים נכנסים אצלו, השני אי אפשר שיהיה האדם בלא בני בית שהם אצלו בבית, השלישי האשה שהיא עקרת הבית, וכמו שאמר רבי יוסי (שבת קי"ח ע"ב) מעולם לא קראתי לאשתי אשתי רק לאשתי ביתי, ולכך אמר שיהיה ביתו פתוח לרווחה שיבאו בני אדם לשם לשאול לצרכיהם, ולא ינעול ביתו גם לעוברים ושבים שיבואו לביתו ויתפרנסו שם, וכנגד השני אמר ויהיו עניים בני ביתך שיהיו עניים תמיד בביתו עד שיהיו עניים בני ביתו ובזה יתפרנסו ממנו בכבוד, וכנגד התקון השלישי היא האשה אמר שאל ירבה שיחה עם האשה, שאם ירצה שיהיה ביתו בית קדוש כראוי אל ירבה שיחה עם האשה, באשתו אמרו ק"ו עם אשת חבירו, כי בודאי מה שאמרו אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה על אשתו אמרו שהרי באו לתקן את ביתו של אדם, ומפני שאשה עקרת הבית

      (1) ספר דרך חיים - פרק א משנה ה
      שעליה כל ענין הבית עומד, הוצרכו לתקן ולומר אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה אף בשביל עסקי הבית אל ירבה שיחה שלא לצורך, ק"ו עם אשת חבירו שאין זה שייך לתיקון הבית ולפיכך באשתו אמרו ק"ו באשת חבירו. ואמר מכאן אמרו חכמים כל המרבה שיחה עם האשה גורם רעה לעצמו, ר"ל מאחר שהזהירו על אשתו ג"כ שלא ירבה שיחה, אם כן בזה אמרו לך חכמים כל המרבה שיחה עם האשה גורם רעה לעצמו, שאם לא כן למה אסרו שיחה עם אשתו. ופירוש זה, כי המרבה שיחה עם האשה הוא נוטה ונמשך אחר מציאות שהוא חסר שדבק בו ההעדר שהוא רע, וכמו שאמרנו למעלה בהקדמה כיון שנבראת האשה נברא שטן עמה, שהרי מבראשית עד שנבראת האשה לא כתיב סמך וכשנבראת האשה כתיב סמך ללמד לך כיון שנבראת האשה נברא השטן עמה (ב"ר פ' י"ז). ופירוש ענין זה כמו שאמרנו, כי האשה היא יותר חמרית מן האיש כי האיש נחשב במדריגת הצורה לאשה, וכיון שהאשה יותר חמרית, נברא השטן עמה שהשטן הוא מלאך המות הוא הכח אשר ממנו העדר של הנבראים, כי ההעדר נמשך אחר החומר כמו שידוע מענין החומר שדבק בו ונמשך אחריו ההעדר. וזה כיון שנבראת האשה נברא שטן עמה, והיינו בערך מעלת האיש כי האיש הזכר הוא יותר במעלה, והאשה בערך מעלת האיש דבק בה החסרון וההעדר. וזה שאמרו כל המרבה שיחה עם האשה גורם רעה לעצמו, כאשר האדם הוא נמשך אחר האשה שדבק בה ההעדר שאין יותר רע מן ההעדר, ודבר זה ידוע. ואין זה פחיתות באשה עצמה כלל, רק כי דבר זה מה שהאדם יורד ממדריגתו להיות נמשך אחר האשה ברבוי שיחה, הנה הוא נוטה מן המציאות אל ההעדר, ודבר זה חסרון ורעה אליו כאשר נוטה האדם ממעלתו הוא מעלת הזכר אחר דבר שהוא חסר בערך ממעלתו. ובשביל זה לא בא התנא למעט אהבת האיש לאשה, דודאי יש לאהוב אשתו כגופו ומזה אינו מדבר כלל, רק רבוי השיחה עם האשה שבמה שיש לו רבוי שיחה עם האשה הוא יורד ממעלתו של זכר ונמשך אחר החומר שבו דבק ההעדר, ובשביל זה גורם רעה לעצמו:

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  19. Sof, sof... If women cannot aspire to be like malachim, to whom should we aspire to be?

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  20. So here's what's bothering me. In this month of introspection, I am particularly glad to be frum, because I get to cover up my physical being (literarally) and focus on spiritual growth. Only now I discover that my spiritual growth is proscribed! The average man can rise to the level of angels, but the average woman is limited to ordinary righteousness. She is even discouraged from wearing white on Yom Kippur. I feel let down. Unless (I hope) we're misunderstanding the significance of attaining the status of angels.

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    1. There are various answers but they come down to man's job in life is to separate himself from gashmiyus and be like an angel. Minimize involvement in the world and study Torah.

      The woman's orientation is not to transcend the gashmiyus but rather to sanctify it. In addition her major concern is to provide support and a proper enivornment for the males to learn Torah.

      Thus a women's prime concern should not be to imitate men. Spirituality does not come from intellectual study of texts nor from pious exercises. It comes from prayer, emuna and maasim tovim.

      When I lived in Far Rockaway there was a woman - Mrs. Pauline Gingold - who lived in a nursing home that everybody came to visit on a regular basis. That included Rabbi Friefeld and his first Rebbetzin. He told me that her conversations should be recorded - because G-d was clearly real and present to her. Her emuna didn't come from a diyuk in Rashi or a lesson in Mesilas Yeshorim.

      It is like the story told by Rav Chaim Ozer about how he differed from the Chofetz Chaim. "I believe that Moshiach is coming but for the Chofetz Chaim - it is a reality."

      There is much to be said about the topic - but the bottom line is that men and women are different - and that includes their spirituality.

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    2. "The woman's orientation is not to transcend the gashmiyus but rather to sanctify it." -
      Thank you for that. I feel such a disconnect between what I experience - my holiness, my ability to rise or c'v fall , my relationship with Hashem, the exultation I feel at the close of neila - and the teachings brought down in this post. To borrow (with apologies) from your own quote above: Men may believe that women have neshamas, but for women it is a reality.

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    3. The post was not a call for you to deny your feelings. Rather my concern is to clarify that male and female sexuality is different and to make suggestions as to what these differences might be and the consequences.

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  21. This is what happens when a bunch of litvish gemara heads trespass into kabbala. As earnest as your intentions might be, you clunky pilpul and lack of imagination actually desecrate the subtle realms.

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  22. Since you claim to be an expert on kabbalah- perhaps you can offer some cogent words to justify your assertion.

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  23. "She is even discouraged from wearing white on Yom Kippur."

    Actually le'maaseh, there is no problem with women wearing white on YK. The Mishna Brura writes that it is the minhag for women to wear white in honor of the chag, and in the Sha'ar HaTzion he says that is from the Mateh Efraim, and against the psak of the Magen Avraham.

    Certainly it is very common for women to wear white, especially in the MO, DL, and chardal communities.

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