This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Allison Josephs, AKA Jew in the City, for her radio show on the Nachum Segal Network.
Allison had some great questions about the development of my ideas, as well as about my new book Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaism.
At one point she noted that many outside the Orthodox Jewish world (and some within it) feel that Judaism discriminates against women. When challenged with this assertion, traditional Jews will often contend that “women are different but equal” in our religion.
While on some levels that is true, in the interview I explain how the “different but equal” theory doesn’t capture the real issues.
To hear Allison and me discuss this and other juicy topics, listen to the interview.
I have not read your book (perhaps I will now). I did enjoy your interview on Alisson’s show. However I do not understand your argument about why we cannot say that we are equal but different. Just because there are individuals that choose roles that are similar to the that of the opposite gender that does not take way from the fact that we have different roles. The fact that a woman is born with the ability to bear life is the strongest proof. Secondly Chava was “unequal”(I would say different) to Adam from the moment she was created, hours before the sin was commited. I mean he was her source! Anything that comes from a source is smaller (and has a differen) level of power than the source. It’s clear to me that gender differences has nothing to do with the sins.
Miriam Kosman says
Hi and thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am not sure if what bothered you was the different or the equal. I also think we are different on some level, and that is because I think that biology does have an effect on who we are. (I think we are, perhaps, less different than traditional roles and sterotyping would have us think…). As far as equality what I tried to stress is that on one level of course there is equality–on authentic, standing before G-d level, but that woman was diminished after the sin is quite clear from the sources. That was part of her curse. It might be interesting for you to see the Aderet Eliyahu (Vilna Gaon) over there on what he says about what the change from Isha-woman to Chava-Mother of all life, implies. In the book, I point out the foreshadowing of this dynamic in the famous midrash on the sun and the moon. It is important to note, that both in the case of the moon and in the case of the woman, her diminishment is not an ideal situation. The curses were not a description of the way G-d wants the world to be. They are a description of the way the world WILL be after the sin. A curse is not a good thing. It is something you want to remove. Indeed, we pray every month for the restoration of the moon to its former glory….. Would love to hear any further thoughts or he’oros on the subject! Thanks for writing, Miriam
I loved the interview!
I especially liked your answer to the last question about trying to understand Judiasm. I do think it’s funny though that u refuse to say that in general men are arrows and women are circles.
To say you’re coming from the anatomy differences between men and women imho is ridiculous after you have a proof to this yesod u can say that anatomy also seems like that but for this to be the proof is just not enough.
What can we learn from the fact that men have chest hair?