Monday, July 26, 2010

Good questions

"If girls back then [Tu B'Av in Temple times] were allowed to dance in front of men - not with them of course - why can't they do that now? She is confused as to why young unmarried people are segregated by gender at weddings and other social gatherings - eating at separate tables - yet when they go on a date, they sit together in the car and wherever it is they go.

[ ¶ ]

After all, at a wedding full of people who know them, there would be hundreds of eyes on them as they eat together - and no opportunity for inappropriate behavior - yet they can go off on a date, one on one - usually going to an out of the way place where no one from the community will see them. "How is it that you can't trust individuals sitting at a table with a dozen of their peers in the middle of a huge crowd, but somehow it's OK for them to be in a lounge or hotel lobby at night, alone? It doesn't make sense to me!?"

See the rest of Cheryl Kupfer's "Is Beit Shammai in Ascendancy?" on the "Jewish Press" website here.

Happy Tu B'Av.

See also:
Separation Anxiety: A tale of two eras


Blogger Miami Al said...

Prohibition of plural marriages:

Single women present a temptation to married men today.

Single women were an object of desire to men (married and single) in Temple times. There was no issue of encouraging men to sin, since lusting after an unmarried woman wasn't a sin at the time.

Either that or Ashkenazi Yeshiva culture derives itself more from the Monasteries of the Eastern European Church and less from the Tanakh that they seem ignorant of.

Mon Jul 26, 11:16:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So back in the old days, when Jewish law had less to say about men, married or single, messing around with single women (but *plenty* to say about a single women messing around with any man), single women were objects of desire, but sin didn't enter the picture.

Just out of curiosity, are you talking about the Eastern European Roman Catholic monasteries or the Eastern Orthodox monasteries, or both?

I have gathered, from my reading, that the Ashkenazi Yeshiva world assigns a far higher value to studying Gemara than to studying Tanach. To my mind, teaching an 11-year-old Gemara before he or she knows Tanach is liking teaching an 11-year-old calculus before he or she knows basic arithmetic.

Mon Jul 26, 01:05:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Miami Al said...

I was thinking the eastern european outposts of the western (Roman) Church, i.e. Poland.

You don't need to know Tanakh or Mishnah to learn Gemara Yeshiva style, because you aren't learning from the Gemara anyway. You're learning from the commentaries on the original commentaries.

Not to dismiss the value and insight of the commentaries and using secondary and tertiary sources as part of the learning process, but what they learn in Yeshiva style Gemara is so far removed from Tanakh there is very little reason to learn it.

Besides, during enlightenment, the Christian thinkers were well versed in the Old Testament (which is close enough to Tanakh), so education in Tanakh left you vulnerable to emancipation, so here you go.

Wed Jul 28, 12:07:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I think it's sad that we've ceded to others the study of our own Torah, and have chosen to focus our studies almost exclusively on the derivatives therefore.

Wed Jul 28, 10:21:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So they get Shakespeare, and we get a rather extensive version of the Cliff Notes.

Wed Jul 28, 10:26:00 AM 2010  

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