Contact Us

Women & Men

Women & Men

 Email

"After thousands of years of male dominance, we now stand at the beginning of the feminine era, when women will rise to their appropriate prominence, and the entire world will recognize the harmony between man and woman" — The Rebbe


A couple who was having communication problems came to see the Rebbe. The woman said that her husband was consumed with his work, and that when he finally found time to speak with her, he criticized her and ordered her around. The husband said that his wife had no respect for him and didn't listen to any of his suggestions.

"Why do you think your wife should listen to you?" the Rebbe asked.

"Because a woman must listen to her husband," he replied.

"But why should a woman listen to her husband?" the Rebbe asked.

"Because the man is the master of the house."

"No," said the Rebbe. "The first thing that you as a man must follow is the edict that 'a man should honor his wife more than he does himself.' And then the righteous woman will have a husband she can respect and love. If the man does not fulfill his role, then it is the woman who must respectfully bring it to his attention."

Women and men: different but equal?
Contemporary society is just beginning to delve into the true distinctions between men and women. Besides the obvious physiological differences, there are also differences in the way men and women think, speak, and behave.

In order to understand the essential nature of man and woman, we must do away with human subjectivity and look through G‑d's eyes. Every human being, man and woman, was created for the same purpose — to fuse body and soul in order to make themselves and their world a better and holier place. In their service of G‑d, there is absolutely no difference between a man and a woman; the only difference is in the way that service manifests itself.

What are the differences between men and women?
Man and woman represent two forms of divine energy; they are the male and female elements of a single soul.

G‑d is neither masculine nor feminine, but has two forms of emanation: the masculine form, which is more aggressive, and the feminine form, which is more subtle. For a human being to lead a total life, he or she must have both forms of energy: the power of strength and the power of subtlety; the power of giving and the power of receiving. Ideally, these energies are merged seamlessly.

Every human being, man and woman, was created for the same purpose — to fuse body and soul in order to make themselves and their world a better and holier place.

Men are physically stronger. By nature, he is usually more aggressive and externally oriented. In contrast, a woman usually embodies the ideal of inner dignity. Some people confuse such subtlety with weakness; in truth, it is stronger than the most aggressive physical force imaginable. True human dignity does not shout; it is a strong, steady voice that speaks from within. The nature of a woman, while subtle, is not weak. And the nature of a man, while aggressive, is not brutish. For man and woman to be complete, they must each possess both energies.

The answer is not for men and women to try to be alike. All men and women must be themselves, realizing that G‑d has given each of us unique abilities with which to pursue our goals, and that our primary responsibility is to take full advantage of those abilities.

What is true liberation for both genders?
Though feminism rightfully calls for the stop of male domination and abuse, and for equal rights for women, it is vital to get to the root of the distortion — that our focus in life, as man or woman, must not be simply to satisfy our own ego or needs, but to serve G‑d. True women's liberation does not mean merely seeking equality within a masculine world, but liberating the divine feminine aspects of a woman's personality and using them for the benefit of humankind.

After so many years of male dominance, we are standing at the threshold of a true feminine era. It is time now for the woman to rise to her true prominence, when the subtle power of the feminine energy is truly allowed to nourish the overt power of the masculine energy. We have already proven that we can use our strength to slay the demons around us; let us now learn to nurture the G‑dliness within.

Men and women must realize their respective equal roles and strive to complement each other in their shared struggle to improve life. In order to correct the abuse of male dominance, men must concentrate on using their dominant qualities for the good. They must use their strength to protect and preserve the feminine character, helping women realize their true potential in exposing G‑dliness, which the world so desperately needs today.

Learn about what it means to be a man or a woman, about masculine and feminine energy. Learn to live up to your potential, to balance these energies to lead a productive and meaningful life — a G‑dly life. And finally, learn to appreciate and respect your male or female counterpart.

Selected readings from Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe (William Morrow, 1995), authored by Simon Jacobson based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory. Reprinted with permission from the Meaningful life Learning Center
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
5 Comments
1000 characters remaining
yeah TX November 15, 2014

a G-dly relationship how perfect! that is how it should be! more people should come and read this article. i hear of so much suffering in men & women's relationships ... even on the radio, from this sort of confusion. Reply

Avigayil Worcester, MA April 25, 2008

Women becoming rabbis Of course women can and do become rabbis, even Orthodox rabbis. But I wonder what that ordination is actually worth in these circles.

Maybe the word 'Rabbi' is a male word, and women can become the female version of that word.

What is a rabbi, except his reputation anyway?

What does a rabbi do? Teach. Counsel. Daven. Apply halacha to tell you if the pot is still kosher. (Often, they go to their rabbis to ask whether the pot is kosher.) Can women do these things?

I suppose a woman can't be part of a beis din. And is unlikely to teach a class of advanced men. (Unless she is the only one who knows the material.... then I would expect the men would demand she teach.)

If you learn the Torah on a matter, and you behave properly, and are kind, etc., you will shine brightly like a Rabbi Akiva. People will look at you and see the Rebbe in you.

A woman can learn all of Torah, and no one can take her Torah away, or deny its power. Reply

Anonymous via chabadbrandon.org December 31, 2006

how to make a marriage work Many woman would be spared from feeling inferior if there husband would follow the Rebbes advice. To make a marriage work both spouses must give 200%. Woman shouldn't feel that they should always give more. Reply

Gracie wAEN Marbella, Spain April 23, 2006

jewishness, equality and feminism So if women and men are equal before G.ds eyes, why cann´t women become rabbis.
We could as well, help to soften the tense relations in this world, the same we do in our homes...
Where in our sacred books, is there a saying that forbids it, specially after we´ve raised our children, and our homes are purified with the sanctity of all our jewishness? Reply

Helene R Schmidt Austin, TX March 29, 2006

How Fortunate How fortunate to have the writings of the Rebbe to refer to in matters like this! Reply

Related Topics