May 7, 2013

Halacha and Women

As I finished the Artscroll book about Rebbetzin Kanievsky ( previous post ), I saw two pictures that caught my attention.  One shows her husband and sons sitting shiva.  The other shows her brothers sitting shiva.

So what struck me about the photos?

We recently read parshas Emor which says that a kohen hedyot must impurify himself for his parents, wife, siblings (including unmarried sisters), sons and daughters.

What struck me is how chashuva people, distinguished rabbis, men who don't waste time but spend it learning and teaching Torah, had to stop their learning (and avoda in the Mikdash) in order to mourn for ... a woman.  In Jewish law, men go through the identical mourning rites for their mother, sister, wife and daughter as women do for men. 

For those who question women's role in Judaism and how halacha regards women, this could be a powerful way to convey the Torah's respect for women.

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