Even if our hands had endless energy, our computers had infinite memory, and our keyboards came with a lifetime guarantee, we could still not put down to paper all the opinions and thoughts from every Tom, Dick and Harry about the Jewish perspective regarding the gender issue in Judaism. Want to stir a conversation? This is a topic for you.

But before you put your feverish hands to the keyboard and share your own twist on this “everyone-is-entitled-to-an-opinion” topic, let us take a quick peek at an enigmatic detail in the enigmatic story of Sinai, and maybe get a closer look on how the Torah looks on this issue.

The Torah relates how, just four days before the advent of Sinai, Moses was commanded by G‑d to deliver two preparatory sermons to the Jewish people. The first was a soft and short sermon delivered to the women, and the second was a tough and long one to the men.

Why the difference?

At the risk of sounding cliché and overgeneralizing, let us say that the reason men have so many more commandments to follow than the women is because the man needs an endless amount of Jewish “inspiration” dosages to keep him on track. If he doesn’t make it to synagogue three times a day, get called to the Torah, put on tefillin daily and learn Torah for an hour-plus a day, his Judaism is at the risk of peril. Faith, love and fear of G‑d don’t come easily for the male. For him to be at his job and feel G‑d at that time is quite a struggle.

The woman, however, has a much stronger faith than her husband and son. She can work, mother, shop, take care of the home, and multitask as only a woman can, and still have a strong and unwavering faith and connection to G‑d. She doesn’t find the balance between Judaism and worldliness too hard to balance.

She doesn’t find the balance between Judaism and worldliness too hard to balanceThat is one of the reasons why the child of a Jewish mom is automatically Jewish (even if the dad isn’t), while a person with a Jewish dad and a non-Jewish mom is not Jewish unless they go through a conversion according to Jewish law. Why? Because the core of a Jew is faith, which the Jewish woman has intrinsically more than the man, and in order for one to be Jewish, one needs to inherit that faith from a Jewish mother. The Jewish dad cannot supply that amount of faith to his child.

That is why it is the mother who takes the bulk of her children’s education on her shoulder—because the number-one priority of education to pass along faith to the next generation. And that is just one of our mothers’ strong points. The husband plays a vital role in bringing the details and nuances of Judaism into the lives of their offspring. But it is the women who is called akeret habayit, the foundation of the home.

As a Jewish son, husband and father, I stand in awe and appreciation of the role the Jewish woman plays in the continuity and story of our people. It was her faith which got us out of Egypt, it was her faith that gave us Purim, it was her faith that gave us the strength of the Jewish family, and it is her that in whose merit we will all dance into the Messianic era.

Moses spoke to the Jewish woman softly and concisely, because that is all she needed to hear in preparation for Sinai; faith would take care of the rest. The other gender, however, needed some more specifics and a bit of a harder tone for them to awaken the faith inside their soul.

That is way Torah looks at the women—a firebomb of everlasting faith which shines in the souls of their children and husbands.


(Based on a talk of the Rebbe in Likkutei Sichot, vol. 31, p. 93.)