Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Interesting Posts and Articles #219

  1. The Seforim blog has an interesting post about women, Simchas Torah, and censorship. One interesting part, from the beginning:
    אבל שמחת תורה בישיבה היה משהו
    מיוחד. הנשים עמדו בפינת בית המדרש מאחורי מחיצה, ומחכות בהתרגשות לתחילת
    ההקפות! (מפיהם, עמ' 199).ש
    But it turns out that this was a mistranslation of the English original, which read:
    “The woman would stand in a corner of the bais medrash separated from the men and wait excitedly for the Hakofos to begin” (p.76).
    Thus, the translator read into it nonexistent mechitzot, and other eyewitnesses contradict that there were any mechitzot.

  2. At Machshevos Adam, why God created woman. Make sure you read to the end, with the modified glasses. At least this person does not impose his tzius chumras on women, but imposes it upon himself. Still, I don't believe such an obsession, to such an extent, is healthy.

  3. At the Rebbetzin's Husband, spawning a Kugel generation, and the problem with know-nothings spouting off conclusions along the lines of an established methodology. See also at Hirhurim, where Rabbi Gil Student thinks peshat is on the side of Chazal's traditional interpretation. And here at parshablog, in four posts (part one, two, three, four).

  4. At the Yeshiva World, how the kannoim have won -- how Chabad Simchas Beis HaShoevas in Yerushalayim are a thing of the past, due to stated tznius concerns. I remember the condemnations in years past because of this cause.

  5. Modern Uberdox and Emes veEmunah about Rav Aharon Soloveichik, zatza"l.

  6. At Docs's Talk, a citation from Memri about the nature of the 70 virgins awaiting Muslim martyrs in paradise. Excerpts:
    Allah said that the black-eyed virgins are beautiful white young women, with black pupils and very white retinas, whose skin is so delicate and bright that it causes confusion. Allah said that they are like hidden pearls. They have wide eyes, and they have not been touched by man or jinn. They are virgins, who yearn for their husbands. They are all the same age, morally and physically beautiful. They are like precious gems and pearls in their splendor, their clarity, their purity, and their whiteness. They are like hidden pearls – as pure as a pearl within a shell, untouched by man. Each one of them is so beautiful that you can see the bone-marrow through the delicate flesh on their legs.

    "Such brilliant beauty does not exist in this world. Where can you find such beauty? Whereas the women of this world may suffer, for days and nights, from menstruation, from blood for 40 days after childbirth, from vaginal bleeding and from diseases – the women of Paradise are pure, unblemished, menstruation-free, free of feces, urine, phlegm, children... Moreover, Allah cleaned them of all impure and foul things, both in appearance and character.


    "They are restricted to tents, locked up for the husband. There is no such thing as going out. When he comes home – they are there. There is no such thing in Paradise as a man coming home and not finding his wife there. Allah described them as women who lower their gaze, and never look at anybody but their husband. As for deriving pleasure – the man is given the strength of..."

    I wonder if one can judge a religion by the character of its paradise. This is an extremely carnal conception of the world to come, and in it the women are merely objects, with no faults and no personality. This is then what they want even in this world, which is apparent anyway. Meanwhile, Jewish tradition has, for example, the husband and wife's souls joined in the afterlife, under the same canopy. And we picture the afterlife as Talmidei Chachamim learning Torah in the bet din shel maalah.

    However, to cite Wikipedia on these Houri:
    Islam also has a strong mystical tradition which places these heavenly delights in the context of the ecstatic awareness of God.
    I wonder if this is the popular conception. I get the strong sense that it is not.

  7. Also, at parshablog, see my Succot-related posts.


yaak said...

I wonder if one can judge a religion by the character of its paradise.
You bet you can. At least this one.
(Of course, the Google-Ad that I received when visiting this page was from :-) )

LazerA said...

Just to present the contrast, the Zohar (3:167) gives a description of the chambers of the next world for women. The women are all described as engaging in Torah study - "פקודין דאורייתא דלא זכו לקיימא לון בהאי עלמא משתדלי בהו ובטעמייהו בההוא עלמא". The women and men are in separate chambers during the day, but at night they join together with their appropriate mates in a spiritual union. This spiritual union creates offspring in the form of the souls of righteous converts.

This is a very different image of the afterlife.

BTW, does anyone know what Islam teaches as the reward for a righteous woman? Does she get to be part of her husband's harem? Does she get her own? Does she get anything?

LazerA said...

Just to answer my own question from before, see

It seems, basically, that the reward for a righteous woman will be to be part of her husbands harem together with the "virgins".

Incidentally, it also appears that while there are Islamic mystical traditions that interpret the virgins as spiritual metaphors, this is not the belief of the vast majority of Muslims.

GilaB said...

I wonder if the fellow with the taped-over glasses is able to relate to women in any way other than as sin-causing objects, which is the flip side of the houri-objects you discuss later on.
Moadim lesimcha!


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