Question:

Dear Rav,
I never understood what the Gemara says that nashim daatan kalos hen and that’s why they shouldn’t learn Gemara. We see so many brilliant women who are professors, doctors, surgeons etc., why shouldn’t they be able to learn Gemara?

Answer:

I am not aware of any gemora that says that because datan kalos that this is the reason that they should not study gemora. The term daton kalos is used in the gemora Kiddushin 80a, that it is easier to convince a woman than it is to convince a man.

The gemora sotah 21b does say that a person should not teach certain parts of torah to woman because there are certain parts of torah that make a person sly. Maharsha explains, that men need this knowledge for their dealings (business etc.) with sly people. However it isn’t proper for women to learn this, as it can be misused. It is true that there are many highly intelligent women, and the gemora does not say that the reason women should not learn torah is because they are not intelligent.

Women have different strengths and capabilities then men do, and this is because of the different jobs that they are destined to do. Part of the heavenly job that women are destined to do, is to care and raise their children and take care of the needs of the home. This means that they have to be skilled to multi task, and take care of numerous things at the same time. There can be a cake in the oven, laundry in the machine, a diaper to change, something cooking on fire, and another person on the phone, and the woman manages to do all of these things at the same time. What is needed in order to do this challenging feat is the capability for her brain to move from one thing to the next, and then back to the first thing, without her brain feeling like it is getting dizzy. This is called daaton kalos, her mind is “light” and it can move from task to task with ease. If her husband will try to do that even for a few days, (as many husbands do after their wife has a baby) it will not take too long and he will feel totally exhausted, ( not that it is easy on her, but she can handle it much easier. This is because his mind is made differently, it is made to be able to concentrate deeply on one idea for a longer period of time, but it is harder for him to jump from one topic to the other, then it is for his wife. Learning gemora on the other hand is more in line with the male type of brain.  This is what it means nashim da’aton kalos, that their brain is “lighter” and it can more from task to task with ease, however the male brain has a harder time doing this.

 

Tags: torah learning women and mitzvot

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