Friday, December 9, 2016

Woman's purpose is to be subordinate and supportive of the Man: Rav Dessler

It has become obvious that the true attitude of Judaism towards women has become deliberately obscured or ignored in the modern age. The consensus that women are subordinate to men is a message is that not welcome by many and clearly goes against the values of our present society. There are those who try to explain that this subordination means that  women are more important, or more spiritual or at least equal to a man. However that is not an accurate understanding of the consensus of accepted Torah sources and it is at best a distortion of what words mean. The question and challenge for us is whether we accept this message or we develop an alternative view of true equality and individuality or do we simply continue in a state of confusion and denial?

Update: The Maharal states that women do not accept being subordinate and consequently are more devastated when not treated properly

Maharal (Bava Metzia 59a): Rav said that a person should always be carefully not to oppress his wife because since she is sensitive and readily cries it is easy to make her feel oppressed. Thus we see that it is only his wife that he needs to be exceedingly careful not to hurt her feelings since she is ruled by him and therefore is much more likely to cry than other people who are not so easily oppressed. In other words because his wife is under his control she is more likely to be hurt by his words and cry when he wrongs her. In contrast a non Jewish slave is by nature not so affected by oppression and even a female Jewish slave does not readily cry because she has accepted the servitude to her master. Furthermore a female slave was not created for the purpose of being under his domain. It is only the wife who was created to be under the rule of her husband and as it says (Bereishis 3:16), And he shall rule over you. Therefore when she is oppressed it has a very strong impact on her. Furthermore in truth a wife does not accept being ruled by her husband because she views herself as his equal. In contrast a slave fully accepts that his master rules over him and therefore is not impacted as much as a wife who views herself as important and therefore is devastated when she is not treated with care.

Maharal (Nesiv Ahavas Re’ah 2): Bava Metzia (59a): All the heavenly gates are locked except the gate for those who have been verbally abused (ona’ah)…R’ Eliezar said that every transgression is punished by means of an intermediary except for that of ona’ah which is punished directly by G d. R’ Abahu said that there are three things for which access to heaven is not blocked – ona’ah, theft and idolatry… These are the words of the gemora. It is important to understand these words because the Sages are alluding to a very deep understanding of the nature of ona’ah. First of all it is important to know that there is a major difference between verbal ona’ah and hurting somebody through a physical beating. That is because verbal ona’ah specifically affects the soul of man when he is insulted. On the other hand there is no such thing as ona’ah in reference to the physical body. There is nothing that ona’ah can do to the body. We see this idea in Shemos (22:9): Don’t wrong the ger or oppress him but you know the soul of the ger. The Torah connects ona’ah with the soul which receives the ona’ah. Also all embarrassment is to the soul, as we will explain. Furthermore since ona’ah is to the soul and the soul is in G d’s hand as is stated in Vayikra Rabba (4:1)…the soul and justice are in G d’s left hand… Because of this the soul which suffers wrong is in fact in G d’s hand…Furthermore someone who insults and abuses another person shows that he does not consider that his victim has any importance or existence at all. He treats the victim as a non-entity… There are other matters for which the ona’ah is ever more severe. Bava Metzia (59a): A person should always be careful not to distress his wife because since she readily cries she is more readily distressed. The explanation of this that a person should be particularly careful with his wife because the woman is controlled by her husband and therefore her tears are much more common. Distressing another person is not so devastating. But concerning his wife since she is under his domain and if he should distress her verbally – she readily cries. In contrast the Jewish slave is not so affected by nature. Even a Jewish woman slave does not readily cry because she has accepted the state of servitude to her master on her own. However even though the wife is under the control of her husband, nevertheless she views her self as being a important. Therefore if there were any distress or insult against her from her husband she is strongly devastated – consequently she readily cries.

Additional sources of wife's is required to be subordinate to husband:

Rashi (Bereishis 1:28): And conquer the world – this word is spelled without a “vav” which allows it to be read as “he should conquer her”. This teaches that the male should conquer the female so that she doesn’t go out freely and regularly. (Bereishis Rabba 8:12). It also teaches that it is the man whose nature is to conquer is given the command to have children and not the woman (Yevamos 65b).

Tanna D'Vei Eliyahu Rabba (9): Why was Yael different than all the other women in that a great salvation of Israel came about through her hands and she killed the enemy general Sisra? Our Sages say that it was because she was a proper (kosher) woman and did the will of her husband. From this our Sages say that there is no proper woman except one who does the will of her husband.

Sefas Emes (Bereishis 3:16): And even though this is a good characteristic for a woman [not to ask directly for sexual intercourse]. The gemora that states that it is a good characteristic for a woman might be understood to mean that it is good because she hasn’t deviated from that which G d commanded and therefore she doesn’t ask directly for sexual relations as the result of being cursed by G d (Maharsal). And the reason that Rashi goes into what seems unnecessary length since he has already explained that she is not to emphaze that everything in their relationship is up to the husband. Thus even though she doesn’t want intercourse but he does he can pressure her to comply. Or if he isn’t interetested in sexual relations, then even though she is interested she can not force him. That is the significance of Rash stating, “It is from him and not from her.”

Toras Chaim (Eiruvin 18a): Originally G d thought to create two human beings but in the end He only created one. Because if He created two, then both would be on the same level and the wife would not be subordinate to her husband and there would be fights between them. Therefore He only created one and the woman was created from the tail so that the husband should be the more important one and she should be subordinate to him. But what is the need to have a verse describing G d’s thoughts since it didn’t actually happen – and it seems to be just a history lesson. A possible answer is that the thoughts of G d are definitely brought into fruition. That means that a person who doesn’t merit, his wife will rule over him and she will not be subordinate to him – just as the initial thoughts of G d. This is expressed by the statement that if he merits she will help him and be subordinate to him. If he does not merit she will be his opponent because they are now equal in level and she will not obey him.

Bereishis Rabbah (8:12): And subdue her – A man is required to rule over his wife so that she doesn’t go out to the market. That is because every woman who goes out to the market place will eventually come to grief. This is learned from Dina as it says in Bereishis (34:1) And Dinah went out…and she got into trouble as it says and Shechem saw her. R’ Chanina says the law is in accord with this view.

Eiruvin (100b): She is wrapped like a mourner, banished from all man and imprisoned in a jail [because the honor of the king’s daughter is within – Rashi].

Menoras Hame’or (2:176): Even though the woman is the mate of the man – she should not view her husband as an equal but rather as her master as it says in Tehilim (45:12), Because he is your master and you should bow down to him. And the woman should love her husband and he rules over her as it says (Bereishis 3:16), And your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you. And if you view him as your master he will love you and you will be in his eyes as a sister as we see that Sarah refered to Avraham as master (Bereishis 18:12) and if you minimize talking to what is necessary then you will be even more beloved to your husband. And if you speak before him with grace and humility and if your eyes are attentive to him in the manner that a servant is attentive to her mistress – then you will be greatly valued and honored in his eyes. It relates in a Medrash that a certain Sage told his daughter when she was being taken her husband’s house, “My daughter, stand before him as you would before the king and serve him. And if you should act as a mother to him, he will be to you as a servant and will honor you as a privileged lady. However if you dominate him, he will be forced to act as your master and then you will be degraded in his eyes like a common servant. Embellish and praise him amongst his friends. And if guests come to him, whether relatives or friends – welcome them graciously and offer them generously in order to honor you husband in their eyes. Take good care of his house and all that he has and in this way you will find favor in his eyes and you will be the crown of your husband. Thus it says in Misheli(12:4), A virtuous wife is a crown to her husband.

Menoras HaMe’or (Marriage Chapter 10 page 34): There was a certain woman who made a wedding for her daughter. When she took her to her chasan’s house she said to her, “My daughter you should stand before your husband and serve him with awe and then he will lower himself with you and will become like your servant and honor you as royalty. However if you insist on dominating him then he in turn will dominate you and will not consider you have any significance and he will act as your master and you will be in his eyes debased like as slave.”

Ohr HaChaim (Bereishis 3:16): And to the woman He said...Corresponding to the issue of lust... G d said, And to your husband will be your desire that you will lust after him constantly. There is in this two aspects of the curse. 1) She will lust but will not have the freedom to satisfy it rather it will all depend on her husband and this aspect is also included in the statement “He will rule over you.” 2) In reality her desire is never fully satiated. This is a major difference between men and women. A man is capable of being fully satiated while a woman can not. It is truly a great curse that she is never able to satisfy her desires. ... In addition she thought she would remove G d’s great control because she wanted to be like G d...and as punishment G d added another layer of control and subjugation - her husband.

Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): And thus our Sages have commanded that the woman honor her husband to an extreme degree and the fear of him should be on her and she should do all her deeds according to what he says and he should be in her eyes as a ruler or king. She should orient her activities according to that which he desires and stay away from that which he hates. This is the manner of the daughters of Israel and the children of Israel who are holy and pure in their marriages. In this way the community will be pleasant and praiseworthy.

Melamed HaTalmidim (Miketz): And thus it is proper that every husband should rule over his wife. It is an embarrassment for him when his wife rules over him. And surely when his wife is constantly with him it is necessary to rule over her. If he does so then it is proper that he be included in the group of the perfectly righteous.

Rav S. R. Hirsch (Bereishis 4:7): And to your husband will be your desire and he will rule over you. This versus describes the relationship between the woman and her husband. The intent or this verse is clearly not describing a situation of constant warfare. As if the woman is always plotting against the man and tries to conquer him but the man is stronger and because of that he always is the dominant partner. Rather the verse is describing the longing the wife has for her beloved husband and she finds fulfillment to her essential being by devoting herself totally to the desires of the man and accepting the activities of her husband.

Rabbeinu Bachye (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you – this punishment – that the husband should be the ruler and tells her what to do – is because she ordered him to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and thus it was measure for meaure.

Rabbeinu Bachye (Bereishis 3:16): And towards your husband will be your desire – Even though the wife is enslaved under the control of her husband and the normal situation is that a slave escapes from its master in order not to be enslaved – but there was a Divine decree that her desire should be to her husband. She therefore wants to be enslaved by him. Thus her behavior is the opposite of the normal way.

Ibn Ezra (Bereishis 3:16): And your desire – meaning your obediance. The reason why you will obey all that he commands you is because you are in his control to do as he wants.

Esther (1:22): Every man should be the master of his house and his household should speak his language.

Rashi (Esther 1:22): And speak his language - He can force his wife to learn his language if she is only fluent in another language.

Ibn Ezra (Esther 1:22): He should be the master of the house - That means he rules over his wife and she should not deviate from the customs of those who speak his language – not even to speak a different language...

Rashi (Devarim 22:16): And the father of the girl spoke – This teaches that a woman is not allowed to speak in the presence of a man [if the matter concerns him also].

Redak (Bereishis 3:16): And to your desire will to your husband - And even though giving birth will be painful, nevertheless you will still have a strong lust to have sexual intercourse with your husband. And he will rule over you – to order you to do what he wants like a master rules his slave.

Rashi (Bereishis 3:16): And your desire will be to your husband – to have sexual relations even though you are not so arrogant as to directly ask for it. And he will rule over you because everything is from him and not from you.

Rav Tzadok (Dover Tzedek page 41): Berachos (17a) asks, What is the merit that women have – to achieve the World to Come? [Concerning the pshat see Sotah 21a] The reason that this is a question is that women don’t have a mechanism for self-perfection as men do with Torah study. The gemora replies that their merit comes from assisting their husband and children in learning Torah... In other words their perfection is not acquired directly but only through their husbands and children. The husband is oblgated to provide her food, clothing and sexual relations while the son is obligated to honor her and fear her as is said in Kesubos (64a), A woman asks for a staff in her hand (son to support her) while alive and a spade for her burial. In other words her faults and imperfections are completed by the actions of others. Thus she draws perfection from them and her defining nature is being controlled or taken care of by others. That is why the Torah says your husband “will control you.” In contrast the woman is described in Kiddushin (30b), That she is in the domain of others and she has no control or any power and that is why whatever she acquires is automatically acquired by her husband. In fact the only genuine power she has is that her husband is obligated to her in order that he provide what she lacks and this is also true for the son as we mentioned before.

Torah Temima (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you - we learn from this that a woman asks for intercourse through her actions while the man asks for it directly and this is a good trait for women (Eiruvin 100b). Even though the trait of modesty is a good trait, nevertheless it is a curse that she can’t openly express her desires to her husband. It should be noted that this doesn’t explain the language “And he will rule over you” in terms of its literal meaning of having a master… Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar (Chapter 14) notes that this is one of the curses of a woman and she should have her ear bored as a permanent slave and as a maidservant. The Radal says that this teaches that it has been decreed that a woman always has to pay attention to the words of her husband. It is logical that the reason for the practice of piercing a woman’s ears for jewelry is an allusion to the fact that she is enslaved to her husband as is noted in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar. If so then why isn’t the expression in this verse “He shall rule over you” explained according to this understanding [and instead the gemora says it means that she can’t asked openly for intercourse]? … Nevertheless it definitely would appear that the verse doesn’t lose its literal meaning and that is also meant. Therefore in terms of the relationship of a husband and wife, the wife is obligated to accepted the authority of her husband as we find in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): “Our Sages have commanded that the wife view her husband as a king and lord.” Aside from the language of this verse this idea of ruler ship can also be seen in the Sifre…that a woman does not have permission to speak before her husband. This is also possibly the source that Pesachim (108a) that a woman does not have to recline at the Pesach Seder in the presence of her husband. The reason being that he rules over her. She is exempt in the same way that a student is in the presence of his teacher. He cannot recline in the manner of freedom because of his fear and respect of his teacher. It is logical that this is the reason that a woman who does not fulfill the wishes of her husband is called a moredes (rebel). Since it is an obligation to accept him as king and lord [as stated in Rambam] therefore when she does the opposite - it as if she had rebelled against the kingdom. …

Chasam Sofer (Chullin 142a): There is no question that the main issue at Mt. Sinai was that men listen. In other words that they listen and accept the yoke of Torah and mitzvos in their hearts. However in contrast to the women, there was no such concern for their acceptance in their hearts. Women needed to learn enough so that they would not say, “I don’t know” or “I didn’t hear” about this mitzva ever. However there was no concern for their acceptance of the yoke of Torah. That is because it is the obligation of the husband to force all the members of his household to serve G d. G d wants it that way so that the Torah is not dependent on women who are not serious. She needs to follow after the direction of her husband. Therefore the hearing and accepting of the Torah was connected to the men while only superficial learning was associated with the women. Then the children would come and see this amazing thing of how their fathers subjugated themselves to G d and His Torah and they would grow up also being G d fearing

Daas Zekeinim of Baalei Tosfos (Bereishis 3:16): There is a difficulty: why was the woman created from a rib, and not some other organ? So that she should be bent at the ribs and subservient to her husband.

Zohar (1:22a): A woman can not doing anything without the consent of her husband.

Michtav M’Eliyahu (volume 4 page 116): Eiruvin(18a) states that initially Adam and Eve were created with a single body that had two faces (partzuf) and that afterwards they were separated into two distinct individuals. The “body” (guf) is defined as the lowest aspect of the soul (as we explain elsewhere). And that is where man has his free-will. And this that Adam and Eve shared a common body means that initially the woman was not created except to enable man to have offspring – and therefore she didn’t have independence and free-will. But rather their free-will i.e., their body was one. It is important to understand that Adam was extremely wise i.e., his comprehension of truth was great. We can see this from that fact that he gave names to all the living creatures. That means that he was able to recognize the true nature and purpose of all creation. Thus the Torah says that all the names that Adam gave – that in fact was the creature’s name i.e., that Adam’s understanding was in agreement with that of G-d’s. (Chizkuni). In addition Adam himself had not sinned in any manner and in fact had not even thought of sinning. This can be seen from the fact that later he did not eat from the Tree of Life except to do what his wife wanted. That is because his comprehension was so great that when he was the sole agent of free-will it was impossible to seduce or corrput him. At that point before they were separated, there was no equality between the force of the Good Inclination and the force of the Bad Inclination. Therefore G-d separated the woman from him and gave the woman her own free-will. By this separation G-d strengthened the power of the Evil Inclination until between the both of them there was now an equality between the strength of the Good Inclination and the Bad Inclination. (This of course is understood to be according to their level in the Garden of Eden.) The question is why were they created in this manner with a single body and then separated – in a manner that the Evil Inclination was not a meaningful force against the Good Inclination? The answer was that it was done in order to establish the predominance of the Good Inclination and to strengthen man’s recognition of truth. In this way he would be aided later on against the seduction of the Evil Inclination. So in the initial creation, woman was only a utensil for the man and she had no independent free-will as we explained before.

In truth, even now the woman’s nature and free-will is to be a utensil for the man as it states in (Sanhedrin 22a), A woman is unformed (golem) and doesn't not establish a covenant except with the man who makes her into a utensil. Thus the nature of woman is to experience respect and importance through the respect and importance given to her husband. [This can be explained by saying that the purpose of the woman is from the aspect of “ner mitzvah” (the candle of a mitzva) while that of the man is from the aspect of “Torah ohr” (the light of the Torah). [See Zohar Teruma 166a). Thus the work of the woman is in preparing and fixing the material aspects of the mitzva and good deeds i.e. the preparation of the candle (the physical needs i.e., the home). In contrast the work of the man is to become elevated in Torah and to light the candle with the light of the Torah so that the spiritual light of the Torah fills the home. And just like a candle with the fire is nothing so is the fire without a candle – because it can not provide illumination (Zohar Teruma 166a). Thus the work of the man and the work of the woman complement and complete each other].


  1. Politically IncorrectJune 2, 2017 at 8:11 PM

    The detective told me if it leaves a mark, it's a problem. I was wondering how am I to know if it leaves a mark....(!!)

  2. Who called the police?


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