Every so often, I come across articles either strongly supporting or opposing the idea of women studying Talmud-Torah. More often they are emotionally charged rather than sorted out concisely — but I think we all could relate to that in some way. For those of us who have devoted our lives to learning Talmud-Torah, it is an emotionally charged topic as it’s such an immense part of our lives!
I wish that I could say this is going to be a clear and concise answer to your wondering on whether women really are supposed to be studying all day-but even if it’s not-I plan on giving you some of the sources for why it is important-even encouraged!
First of all, the study of Torah is critical in the keeping of Jewish lifestyle, tradition and practices.
Who better to carry these things on for their children than the mother herself?
Torah study is also extremely important in the way that it helps us to understand how and why we are keeping Mitzvot.
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, Z”L, encouraged that at the least-women should know the meanings behind the everyday Mitzvot that they did and even perhaps the daily Mitzvot that each of their husbands did.
Throughout history-women’s observance of the Mitzvot have been nothing but beneficial to Klal Yisrael.
A classic example of this is Tzipora sensing the anger of Hashem and circumcising her own son. If she wouldn’t have had an idea how to go about this-how would their story have ended?
Torah is a foundation for not only our emunah and very existence-but our entire daily lives and how we go about them.
The sages say that one may not teach his daughter Torah (some say because of the potential that he could teach it in too sensitive of a light) but if she is motivated herself, she is permitted and even encouraged to learn by her own motivation.
Another source requires that women who learn should be cherished and strongly encouraged to continue in their learning.
In essence, as women, our Avodat Hashem is to study Torah and pass down our lifestyle to those after us. Our unique purpose is the ability to express ourselves all in different creative and unique ways.
For the Jewish woman, part of our identity is studying and growing in our individual lifestyles and as women who study Torah-we can offer unique perspectives and sensitivities into the world — just like Tzipora sensing that Hashem was upset and she needed to take action.
May we all take action wherever we need to and lead with purpose in our Avodat Hashem!