The Torah Woman ©
By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk
As Women who want to Observe Ha Torah we need to understand the role given us by Ha Shem. I would like us to look at women in Ha Torah and in the Tanach to see if we can glean some understanding about who we are and how to draw closer to the Creator of the Universe and each other. There are several good books available on this subject, some of which will be referenced in this endeavor.
How does one grow into being a Torah Observant woman in today's world?
I am come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice;
I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey;
I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat,
O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved
Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs 5.1
G-d Desired a dwelling in the physical world
Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 16
We know that the Creator of the universe needs nothing and yet He Created this world we live in and He Created us. This world is Ha Shem's Garden where He tends to our lives and our needs. This world, this Creation we exist in presents an opportunity for us to first establish and then grow our relationship with H-m.
We connect to Ha Shem through the study of Torah and with our practice of Mitzvot. Our job, our purpose is to create an environment where Ha Shem will feel welcome. This is not new to any of us but it is something we need to study from time to time to not only refresh our memory but to let it be an impetus for progression along the path in this garden.
A garden is made up of good plain earth, so are we. If you plant a flower seed in this earth you will eventually have a beautiful flower you can cut and put on your Shabbat table. We dig a hole in the earth, place the seed inside and cover it over with earth. We pray that Ha Shem will Bless this little plant with the correct amount of sunshine and water so that it will grow. When the rain comes the seed is compressed, put under pressure in a dark place. In time the pressure opens the seed and the plant begins to sprout. It works its way through the earth till it reaches the surface. Can you imagine the joy this plant feels being freed from such a hard constraining place? With the warmth of the sun and gentle rains a flower blooms. Such an Awesome Creator we have.
There are two roles we will look at - that of man and of woman. We also might need to do a bit of weeding before we start. We have all formed attitudes - some of which may need adjusting - so let's take a look at ourselves to see if we have some negative attitudes (weeds) which may need yanking out. Ridding our lives of spiritual debris will clear the path for positive growth.
Man's primary role is to introduce new G-dliness to our world. He accomplishes this primarily through his Torah Study.
Woman's primary role is to uncover the G-dliness that already exists within creation. Mitzvot bring out the inner spirituality within the physical realm of our world.
Tending the Garden, Chana Weisberg, Targum Press 2006 page 3
Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under the heaven. Kohelet - Ecclesiastes 3.1
We have just left the season of counting the omer. Counting the Omer is a season of refinement. We attempt to adjust our attitudes and behavior during this season. Now we are in the season of Pirkei Avot. There are many other seasons, the period between sundown to sundown, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, Rosh Hashannah through Yom Kippur, etc. These are all opportunities for refinement.
For the six week period between the conclusion of Pesach and the arrival of Shavuot the six chapters of Pirkei Avot are studied and reviewed. Many believe that this Observance (counting the omer) is just for the Jewish people, however Ha Torah Teaches that many non-jews travelled with B'nai Yisrael. It is not unreasonable to think they as well counted the omer. The first five chapters are from the Mishna itself and the sixth chapter is a later addition of pertinent braytot of Talmudic origin. There are many reasons advanced for the study of this tractate during this six week period. One of the ideas advanced on this subject is proper human and social behavior. This is what we need to be tending in our garden today at this season.
All of these times and seasons are to help us get to the place of Tiferet. As men (Gevurah) and women (Chesed) we need to have positive attitudes and be willing to adjust these in order to come to the place of beauty (Tiferet) in our relationships.
Do we have weeds that need pulling or do we need to do some watering or feeding?
As we traverse this garden path we will see what needs tending, what needs our care, what we have to do to promote growth in every area of our garden.
Blessings and Peace