Application 1. Women's commandments

We are living now in an epoch of post-feminism. Feminism is a movement for women's equal rights with men, which crept over all the civilized world in the XIX–XX centuries. It has forced the reconsideration of the role of women in society and family. The merits of this movement are very large. But, of course, there were local excesses. So, besides female members of the Government and women-astronauts, also female asphalt layers, women-weightlifters, etc. began appearing. Incidentally, trousers for women in Europe and America have come out just to erase the distinction between man and woman, not because “it is convenient.”

It is now obvious to many that the Divine Spark of feminism is in the fact that a woman has become able to realize her creative, business and other abilities, and that she is appreciated by men at her true value, but does not try to become similar to them. The men and the women have different functions in the world, and because of this they have different duties. Thus, “according a general principle (of the Jewish law), women are exempt from the positive commandments, the fulfillment of which is connected with a concrete time” (the Siddur “Gates of Prayer” by Machanaim, Introduction). Women are exempt from the commandments to wear tefillin, to wear tzitzit at the edges of clothing, to sleep in the sukkah, and many others.

It is interesting that the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, also, “is no concern” of women. I see the astonishment on your face and shall quote Rambam to strengthen the effect. “Women are exempt from this mitzvah, as our Sages said explicitly (Talmud, Yevamos, 65b): ‘Men have the obligation to be fruitful and multiply, not women’” (Rambam, Book of Commandments, commandment 212). Do not think that men are able to multiply without women ☺.

The Talmud explains that a woman has a physical necessity to “give life,” so it's not necessary to command her to do this. It is no accident that it is not Adam ha-Rishon, but just his wife that takes the name Chava, because she was the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). Listen, how lofty it sounds, “because she was the mother...”

Below is what “Midrash Tanhuma” says about Noah chapter: “Thus have our masters taught us: Women die during childbirth for failure to observe three duties decreed in the Torah. These are: The duty with regard to menstruation (Niddah); the duty of the levy of dough (Challah); and the duty of lighting the Shabbath lights.” [This quote is from Google Books — Daniel Alievsky] I recall that the midrash is a figurative understanding of the words of the Torah. Midrash is a virtual model. You should represent it and should not understand it literally. Then how should we understand, “women die during childbirth,” and what are these three commandments saying? She “dies” for everyone except the child. The child becomes the main, and for many women the only, value. It's so natural. Is it really bad that a woman commits herself to her children? But there is a counter-question of why do the sages use the word “die” in this case? And what does not allow someone to “die?” Fulfillment of the so-called “women's commandments.” Niddah (laws of purity of the intimate relations) is a symbol of the wife's duty to her husband. Challah (symbolic separating of a piece of dough; at the time of the Temple, this bread was not separated symbolically and was given to Kohanim) is a symbol of a woman's duties to society. And finally, the lighting of Shabbath candles is a symbol of her duties before God. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau writes the following in the book “Practical Judaism.” “The abbreviation of their titles (hadlakat neroth, challah, niddah) is the word HaCHeN (charm, sympathy).” [This could be incorrect: I didn't find this book in English for free! — Daniel Alievsky] I can only suggest to all women, “Be charming!”