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It is the assertion of ecofeminism that men take control over nature, while women integrate themselves into it. A man must essentially control himself, break his ego, and direct himself to the Creator. A woman, on the other hand, is ready to apply herself in this direction without much conflict.

This is, however, only while men and women are within the limits of our world, during their development through the degrees of concealment. Afterwards, when they cross the Machsom barrier , they become equal in their spiritual work. Are women better for nature than men? Female egoism is less harmful to the Earth because it is more grounded and practical. Women who desire spirituality need to direct men toward it, showing that they will only respect and honor a man who directs himself toward spirituality.

A woman has a different desire, with a different property, to the desire of a man, like waves on different frequencies. What does a man need to do, to increase his desire to understand a woman? What is the difference between being inspired by the greatness of the goal when it comes from the group compared to when it comes from a woman? Are both elements essential? This part of the desire to bestow comes from the light of Hochma.

I came to discover that when people are over-determined by their roles, emotional intimacy becomes difficult to achieve. Now if the Torah doesn't believe in intimacy…well that would be that.

I suspect that previous in generations, where gender based roles were seen as natural and inherent to being human, the kind of intimacy and love we search for was not even seen as possible. But the Torah does believe very strongly in intimacy and mutual understanding of the other person as a person as a foundational ethical principle. This got me thinking that perhaps Gender based roles in Judaism were not as solid as I was originally thought. I did not intent to take on the theme of gender based roles in the community of synagogue, for the simple reason that the issue was to big and too controversial for me.

In focusing on family life I was taking a smaller and more manageable issue to work with, although I knew full well that coming to terms with intimacy as appositive vale would have to spill over into the larger picture. I completed them quite some time later in the late 90s. But the texts did not bear this out. There are certain understandings which helped couples manage their lives based upon the acceptable social norms for that time, but little of that is religiously binding. The Midrash in Genesis is clear that male and female to together make up the Divine image.

That means both are gifted with the freedom and responsibility to hear the inner self and make it real. A role cannot define the totality of the person. I was in for yet another surprise.

Kabbalistic Feminism and the War on Women | HuffPost

Feminism is a revolutionary movement, striving to lift the status of women from second class humans to being human with full and equal rights. At first, I assumed as many do, that the fundamental humanity of women was never an issue. The issue was a matter of social roles, which in of themselves do not make anyone less or more human…only different. Feminists, I was often told, were trying to create new gender roles so everybody could be the same.

Of course, sameness is not necessarily good. No matter how far things go, men will still want to men and women will still want to be women. But my assumptions soon turned out to be false. In the ancient world at the dawn of Greek philosophy, there appeared a theory whose purpose was to explain the diversity of things in the world. The question was: if existence is one basic quality, how is it that there are so many different kinds of things. The resultant explanation was the theory of matter and form. At the first pole is the completely abstract and immaterial Form.

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At the second pole is an utterly corporeal un-enlightened Matter. All knowledge and spirituality is of Form, while everything instinctual, solid and real is of Matter. The dichotomy of Male as intellectual and spiritual over Female as carnal, ignorant and passive is rooted in the more basic dualism of Form over Matter. In the ancient world, where this theory was a basic cognitive framework, women were looked at a being literally inferior to men. It has taken two thousand years to wake up from this illusion.

The Divine Feminine in Kabbalah: An Example of Jewish Renewal

The anger feminists feel no trifling emotion. It is a justified response to centuries of very real abuse and subjugation. If we do not understand that the hurt is real we cannot begin to deal with the issue properly. Did the cognitive framework of matter and form influence the sages of Israel?

I have no doubt that it did. Torah and nature are intertwined and the way human culture perceives nature impacts on how rabbinic tradition interprets itself in the present. Basic concepts about nature and reality are shared across cultural lines, regardless of how many layers of insulation a community sets up around itself.

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  • This is a rather radical thing to say in the orthodox circles where I run, but it is true. When a great paradigm shift happens in the human understanding of nature, it impacts on Torah and Halacha. Let me take for example a fairly innocuous example. According to Rabbenu Tan, one should wait for some 72 minutes after sunset before considering the previous day finished. Do we live in this world today?

    We do not!

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    Should be continue to follow Rabbenu Tam? Most people do not. I happen to think that Rabbenu Tams opinion is very meaningful today, despite the demise of the flat earth world view. I believe that any honest reader of rabbinic texts will quickly make note of statements and Halachot that presuppose that women are simply inferior to men. We cannot also help but note than in our perception of reality, men and women are equally human and endowed with the Divine image.

    There is no-one around today, even the most traditional reactionary, who would maintain the position that many of our ancestors held. Everybody embraces equality as self evident. The only question is how to fudge up the dictates and Halachot of the ancient and medieval sages so they are congruent with what we know to be true. Of course if you are not orthodox, you have no problem.

    You can all a spade a spade and exchange it for a new one. The kingdom was established on Mt Sinai and transmitted thru a human chain of tradition with all the pitfalls of the human condition…of which the inability to perceive our own cognitive framework and the distortions it casts upon our reasoning being a major one. We cannot live in a world other than our own, but we still carry the remnants of world views embedded in our communal tissue as Halacha.

    This too is part of how the Kingdom moves forward from generation to generation.

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    For orthodox Jews the fine tuning of Halacha and the re-interpretation of texts are major methods of being both faithful to our perceptions of reality and loyal to the Kingdom of G-d. Partaking of this complex, ambivalent and sometimes painful process is the essence of Orthodoxy. At times, an intellectual re-interpretation of a certain Halacha is valuable even if it is obviously forced.

    It might not accurately reflect what the ancient sages had in mind, but it certainly does reflect what we have in mind when we carry out that Halacha.

    Between Men and Women |

    Who is to say what Divine providence had in mind for that Halacha anyway?! In generations prior to spread of Greek culture in the ancient world, there was a pressing need to entrench monotheism among the Israelites. This may have caused an emphasizing of the idea of the abstract, law giving, Divine Father and King over the feminine aspects of Divinity.