Photo: Oren Rosenfeld
Gemara. For men only?
Photo: Micha Doman, courtesy of Chabad
"Women shouldn't study Gemara. It obscures the differences between the genders and leads to a decrease in god-fearing and mitzvah observance," former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu stated.
In an article published in the Olam Katan pamphlet distributed in synagogue on Shabbat, the prominent Zionist-religious leader explained that women are allowed to study specific verses from the Gemara, which deal with "subjects related to them," but they "shouldn't study Gemara like men."
"The obscuring of differences between men and women is forbidden in all respects – in the dress, the hairdo, the manner, and also in their studies," the rabbi explained, warning, "Whenever women violated this ruling… their god-fearing, mitzvot observance and respect for the Torah dropped, instead of rising."
Quoting the sages of blessed memory (Chazal), the rabbi stressed that women's role was to educate and delve into halachic rulings that apply to them.
The old debate about women and Gemara studies was revived lately, after Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, another prominent spiritual leader of the Zionist-religious public, ruled that girls were absolutely forbidden from studying Gemara, because this was "unfitting for their souls."