In traditional Jewish culture, men and women have roles that differ. However, males and females are equal in Jewish culture. Nevertheless, many individuals have misunderstood and misinterpreted the role of Jew women.
The place of traditional Jew women is not as low as most modern people assume. In fact, the position of Jew women in the Biblical time is better than the position of modern American women. In traditional Jewish culture, women are viewed as separate but equal.
The roles that they perform differ from those that men perform (Greenberg 75). Nevertheless, the roles they perform are no less important. In fact, some of the traditional roles of Jew women are vital in the society.
While many people despise traditional Jew women, they perform essential roles in the society, which broadly include familial, business and advisory roles.
Many people respect and despise traditional Jew women. On Sabbath days, Jewish husbands praise their wives with songs. However, the wives are not allowed to sing Sabbath songs. Additionally, they cannot perform time-bound mitzvoth.
Their child bearing and household chores exempt them from time-bound commandments (Greenberg 75). Thus, traditional Jew women are disenfranchised from Jewish shared prayers and education. At least ten Jews must meet to conduct shared prayers and education.
Their attendance to day-by-day prayer services do not add up towards minyan, the required number to conduct shared prayers. On the other hand, it is expected that they nurture and care for future Jews. Hence, most of roles of traditional Jew women relate to the family.
Traditional Jew women have to ensure that their homes are kept well. The women have to ensure the domestic environment is appropriate for the family. The homes have to be clean and neat. Additionally, they have to ensure that Jewish law is kept in the familial environment.
The women are responsible for maintenance of kosher homes. They must ensure that they light candles to welcome Jewish festivals and Sabbath. Moreover, they must ensure the house is appropriate for festivals like the Passover.
Finally, they must follow the required dietary guidelines (Labovitz 9). Consequently, the home is the key focus of a Jewish woman.
The other role of traditional Jew women is to perform business activities. According to Jewish teachings, women have an elevated level of Binah compared to men. Binah refers to intuition, intelligence and understanding.
Rabbis based this argument on the fact that women are built and not formed (Carroll and Stephen 3). Therefore, women can excel in business. Traditional Jew women could buy and sell goods and own property. Furthermore, they could make contracts.
Women in many modern societies, including America, could not perform these roles until a century ago. The Bible also recognizes the business acumen of women (Carroll and Stephen 750).
Their greater intuition is what makes some scholars argue that Rachel, Sarah and Rebecca are superior to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham in prophesy. The foundation for this argument is that men took part in Golden Calf idolatry while women avoided the idol.
Finally, greater understanding and intelligence of women explains the emergence of distinguished Jew women who are scholars.
Traditional Jew women were teachers, and others became rabbis. However, they had limited opportunities to participate in the synagogues. The Torah did not provide them with any definite responsibility in official religious services.
Therefore, in most cases, the women provided advice to their husbands. The Old Testament, Torah, depict women as knowledgeable and wise. They have the ability to educate and motivate their husbands and families about religious issues (Baskin 656).
Many rabbis worldwide consult their wives on matters that concern Jewish laws. In most cases, they consult their wives on what Jewish Law states about the role of a woman.
The title rebbetzin provides some idea of the worth of a rabbi’s spouse in Jewish society. Finally, several Jew women have occupied respected positions. Miriam assisted Moses and Aaron to liberate Israelites while Deborah was a judge.
The conventional function of Jew women in the social order is strong and vastly appreciated. The early chapters of the Old Testament play a critical role in the assumptions people make on the traditional roles of women.
However, it is evident in this paper that traditional Jew women played a vital role in the society. They ensured their homes were well kept, taught their children and performed business. In addition, they advised their husbands, and some became leaders in the society.
However, the key responsibility of a traditional Jew woman is to be a spouse. Additionally, she is to tend to the family unit and be mother.
Finally, the exemption of Jew women from mitzvah has made many people misunderstand the role that they play. The exemption is not prevention. In contrast, they can observe the mitzvah if they like.
Secondly, even though the exemption limits their participation in the synagogues, traditional Jew women have religious lives.
The fallacy that Jew women do not have devout lives rises from the belief that Jewish holy activities gyrate about the synagogues. However, Jewish religious activities gyrate about the home, a place in which the woman’s function is as crucial as the man’s role.
Baskin, Judith R. The Cambridge Dictionary of Jewish History, Religion, and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
Carroll, Robert P, and Stephen Prickett. The Bible: Authorized King James Version. Oxford: Oxford university press, 2008. Print.
Greenberg, Cheryl. “Textbook Treatments of the Roles of Ritual and Women in Judaism.” Jewish Social Studies 46.1 (1984): 73-82. Print.
Labovitz, Gail. “The Scholarly Life–The Laboring Wife: Gender, Torah and the Family Economy in Rabbinic Culture.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues 13.1 (2007): 8-48. Print.