Ask the Rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Torah Study for Women

women and Torah


Rabbi David Sperling

Iyyar 28, 5782
what does Judaism and the Torah say women should do to reach their highest spiritual level? Obviously the mitzvot and Torah, but what specifically and what else? Im interested in hearing the answer for both married and unmarried women. Does this answer differ among all the types of orthodox? What is considered ideal in Hashems eyes? thank you
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly, Judaism understands that both women and men were created together, equally – as we are taught in the first chapters of the Torah. Based on this, the very first and underlying principle is that the soul in both men and women is equally G-dly. Therefore, the vast majority of spiritual labor for women and men is the same – for example, both need to keep the Torah and strive to act in the best way possible. However, you are correct that there are certainly differences between men and women – both physically, spiritually and socially. It is difficult in this format of short internet answers to fully outline the ideal path for women (or anyone for that matter!). And, as you imply, different communities have different “takes” on this question. Also, each individual women (and man) needs their own personal answer to such a question. None the less, it would be fair to say, that beyond generally keeping Torah and Mitzvot, women have the special path of serving Hashem through building families – in the widest sense, not just giving birth, but education, love, care and concern for the family. This is one of the most important and central parts of most women’s lives – both physically and spiritually. But not all women fulfill their spiritual growth (only) in this path. Many women find their ultimate growth in areas outside the home – see for example the stories of Miriam, Ester, Devorah and many others. (And many women combine these two paths). The sages teach us that many women are blessed with traits that (many) men are (somewhat) lacking in – compassion, understanding, empathy, kindness etc. To bring these traits to the world in all spheres is a wonderful thing – and many women will find their ideal work for Hashem in just such a path. Blessings.
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