Rabbinic Exclusion of Women vs Jesus

Rabbi Ashi claims that it is permitted to divorce a woman if the gap between her breasts is too large: “This spacing is unsuitable and it is considered a defect which allows to divorce her without rights.”

Rabbi Baghdadi: “A woman who cheats on her husband would be taken out and burnt immediately.”

Rabbi Isaac Cohen: “In the true world they will see; a woman is a bag full of excrement.”

Rabbi Eyal Karim: “It is permissible to rape a woman from an enemy army, to raise the morale of the soldiers.”

Rabbi Eliezer Berland: “A woman doesn’t think and lacks the double brain a man has.”

Rabbi Storm: “A woman must not be allowed to drink wine, for if she drinks too much, she will desire to have sex with a donkey in the marketplace.”

Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi: “A man rapes a woman and gets her pregnant? He has fulfilled the commandment of procreation. And for the rapist? It is considered a mitzvah.”

Rabbi Uri Sherki: “Women menstruate because of their sins.”

Rabbi Elyashiv: “It is permissible to put to shame a woman if she uses the religious buses.”

Rabbi Arush: “A woman will never admit to her mistakes and cannot accept admonishment.”

Rabbi of the Western Wall: “Women diminish the sanctity of the synagogue floors.”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: “A woman who does not know how to cook is a cripple.”

Rabbi Aviner claims that in a state of emergency: “A man should be rescued before a woman.”

Rabbi Isaac Cohen: “Daughters are a punishment to their parents… Sons are a blessing… the numerological value of the word ‘daughters’ is equal to that of the word ‘damage’… sons bring peace to the world, sons bring affluence to the world, birthing daughters causes a great deal of putrefaction in the woman’s womb, women carry no good fortune… women are nothing, women are hollow… They are naught… the word ‘female’ has the same numerical value as the word ‘damned’… males are perfection.”

Rabbi Eitan Baghdadi: “A woman who wears a short-sleeved shirt is committing first degree murder.”

Rabbi Amnon Itzhak: “Women are forbidden from driving a car, forbidden from owning a cellular phone, women are not allowed to gain weight; a woman is just as any other object.”

Derision then and now

Dear women, if the exclusion of women in Israel TODAY frightens you, try to imagine how much worse it was 2,000 years ago, during the time of Jesus.

It’s important to understand how deep the misogyny goes in the Rabbinic Halacha and in the Talmud. Consider for a moment, the ramifications of these statements on the daily lives of mothers, daughters and women in general. And no, these are not a minority opinion, but rather the Rabbinic Halacha throughout the generations which trampled all respect towards women and treated them as insipid and nearly worthless. Note what Jewish sages have been teaching about women in the Talmud for the past 2000 years:

  • Rabbi Bahya Ben Asher said: “The female is irrelevant in creation, for she is not more than a parasitic thing taken from him for his utilization to become a special tool for his use as one of his special body parts to be used by him.”
  • Midrash Bereishit Rabba, chapter 17: “As the woman was created, Satan was created with her.”
  • Tractate Sotah, 22: “Whoever teaches his daughter Torah, teaches her obscenity.”
  • RaLBaG (Gersonides) said: “They (women) have no more brains than animals, if they have any at all.”
  • Maimonides wrote that females are suitable for sexual intercourse from age three and should be available for bearing children from age twelve.
  • The Jerusalem Talmud says that it is forbidden to give jewelry to a women, as women are arrogant. [Tractate Shabbat, chapter 6, page 33]
  • Rabbi Isaac Luria, one of the great philosophers in Kabbalah, would also spit on such women: “The Sacred Ari would therefore spit any time he saw an insolent woman and spitting at the sight of an immodest woman is a great virtue.” [The Messiah’s Donkey, page 182]

There are more gross and crude quotes, which would make you fall out of your chairs. But you already get the idea. Also, we would rather not utter them and defile your thoughts, as well as our own.

Jesus introduced a very different attitude

One of the reasons why the rabbis who lived at the time of Jesus rejected Him was that Jesus undermined their authority. Whereas they treated women as something trivial and almost completely worthless, Jesus broke both religious and social constructs; He battled religious chauvinism and the humiliating treatment of women in His generation.

Maimonides said that, in a trial: “women are disqualified from testifying.” [Laws of Testimony, Chapter 9, Halacha 2]. In the New Testament, on the other hand, Jesus greatly values women’s testimonies. In Matthew chapter 28, after His resurrection, Jesus chose to show Himself to two women first.

Maimonides also instructed husbands: “The husband should prevent his wife from leaving the household except once a month or twice a month if necessary as there is no beauty for a woman but to sit at the corner of her house.” Unlike Maimonides, who demanded that wives be locked in their homes, in the New Testament, Paul recommends a woman for a key position in the community and demands that all of her needs be met [Romans, chapter 16]. In a separate incident, the New Testament glorifies a woman (Zvia from Jaffa) for her good deeds and for the fact that she was often benevolent towards everyone in her area.

Tractate Derech Eretz instructs to stay away from women: “Do not talk to woman much, for every woman’s conversation is nothing but words of infidelity.” [Tractate Derech Eretz, Ariot, Halacha 13]. In contrast, Jesus encourages Miriam and Martha to stop running around doing household chores, relax and sit down to study the Torah with Him.

While rabbis forbid physical contact between men and women and even encourage men to keep their distance from a woman’s company, as it is written: “One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah and in the end, inherits hell.” [Avot, chapter 1]

Jesus did the exact opposite. Matthew chapter 9 describes the following:

“A ruler came in and knelt before him saying, ‘My daughter has has died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well. And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, ‘Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.” [Matthew 9:18-25]

Jesus loved women, respected them as God’s creation and refused to treat them as objects.

Maimonides said: “Any woman who avoids doing the craft she must do shall be forced to do them, even with a whip.” [Hilchot Ishot, chapter 21, halacha 10]

In response, Rabbi Avraham Ben-David claimed that, “it is sufficient to simply starve her until she gives in.”

Unlike those two, the New Testament instructs men:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” [Ephesians 5:25]

Instead of whipping, the New Testament orders men to give their lives for the sake of their wives. Jesus dared to oppose a social, cultural and gender-related convention that was made in the name of God and religion. The book of John in the New Testament describes a situation in which the rabbis in the time of Jesus threw a woman who had been caught committing adultery at Jesus’s feet, in order to test Him:

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. And placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’
…He stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’
When they heard it, they went away one by one… Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
She said, ‘No one, Lord.’
And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’”
[John 8:3-11]

What would Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi say about such a woman? “A woman who is not a virgin is a damaged female… She’s worth as much as an open cola bottle.”

In another event, Jesus broke another, equally significant, religious construct when He not only willingly contacted and spoke to a woman, but it was a Samaritan woman; a Gentile! She was surprised that a Jewish man would even talk to her, and said to Jesus: “’How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’”

For the past 2,000 years, the rabbis have been trying to hide the Messiah from you, who not only loved and appreciated women, but non-Jewish women as well. The rabbis, whether or not they are aware of it present the God of Israel in a cruel and false way, which is no more than a mirror reflecting their own misogynistic world views. Dear woman, it is important that you know that God does not want to humiliate you. He does not see you as worthless and does not condemn you to a life of inferiority, servitude and abuse. He loves you and wants you to know who He really is. So much so, that He revealed Himself to us in the form of the Messiah, lived among us as one of us, suffered with and for us and gave up His life as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. THAT is God’s love. For both women and men alike.

Eitan Bar

Eitan Bar is a native Jewish-Israeli who was born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel (1984). Graduated with his B.A. in Biblical Studies from Israel College of the Bible (Jerusalem, 2009), his M.A. in Theology from Liberty University (2013) and is now pursuing his Doctorate with Dallas Theological Seminary. Eitan currently serves as ONE FOR ISRAEL's Director of Media & Evangelism. (From 2006 to 2013, Eitan worked for CRU, in which his roles included serving as Israel's VLM-SLM leader.)

Eitan's professional background is in "Multimedia Design and Visual Communications" working for various secular advertising agencies in Tel-Aviv.

Eitan is the producer of:
1) I MET MESSIAH (Jewish testimonials).
2) Answering Rabbinic Objections to Jesus.

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