The Suprising Biblical Record
Jewish Alternative in Love, Dating and Marriage by Pinchas Stolper
|98% of the first
book of Genesis, is devoted to narratives describing the
creation of the world, the beginnings of mankind, and
mankind, and Abraham, Isaac. Jacob and the Tribes of
Isreal. The reason Genesis dwells on biography,
personalities, events and not laws is to instruct us to
pattern our own lives on their stuggles, their challenges
and solutions which they employed.
Of course, were the Bible to have recorded the full biographies of Abraham, Isacc, Jacob and their children, many volumes would have been required. Instead, the Bible selects very few incidents, because these specfic events represent the special life situations which the Bible expects us to emulate.
Let's study a few examples relating to the "place" of women: When the Jewish people are enslaved and oppressed in Egypt. The Talmud tells us that Amram, father of Moses, was the leader of that genaration. When the Egyptians said that all male children be drowned, Amram decided that he could no longer bring children into the world.
Therefore, he separated from his wife and all the Jewish men followed his lead. At that point his daughter, Miriam, demanded "Father your drecree is more cruel than Pharaoh's. Pharaoh's decree applies to male children alone, But yours applies to all children equally. Pharaoh's decree may or may not persist but because you are a righteous man your decree will persist," Miriam's insight convinced her father, he takes back his wife, and so do the others. As a result Moses is born and thus begins the chain of events which result in the liberation and birn of the Jewish people.
In the desert, the Jews worship a golden calf. The Talmud relates that only men were involved in this crime while the women refused to participate. When Aaron the High Proest solicited gold to construct the golden calf, the Torah informs usthat the wives refused to part with their jewelry. The women, however, didn't simply refused to surrender their jewelry because the love of jewelry - because later on when the time came to build the Holy Tabernacle, we are told that the women were very generous in their contributions of gold.
Later on, while the Jewish people still wandering in the desert, they decided to send spies to the Land of Israel prior to attempting to invade it. Ten spies returned with a frightening and negative report. "There is no way we can conquer the land.", they reported. "Giants live there- the cities were walled to the heavens- their armies are much to powerful." As a result the Jews rebelled: "Why did you bring us out of Egypt to be slaughtered by our enemies?" they cried. As punishment, the Jews were forced to remain in the Sinai desert for an additional 38 years. Rashi, the famous Bibical commentator, teaches that only men rebelled - women were prepared for whatever sacrifices were required in order to conquer the Land of Israel. Since the men rebelled, only they died in the desert while the women merited to enter the Land of Israel.