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Ladies First

In this weeks parsha we read that before the giving of the Torah, Hashem told Moshe to speak first to the women [Beis Yaakov] and only then to the men [Bnei Yisrael]. Here is a source in the Torah for "Ladies First".

Until now, nice and post-modern! But wait a second. The Medrash explains why "Ladies First". Hashem determined that the reason Chavah sinned and brought death to the world was because Adam was commanded first. So this time, in order to ensure that women would keep the Torah it was necessary to command the women first and hopefully they will listen! Whoa! CHAAAAAARIIIIIIIIIIIIFFF!!!!!!!!!

What does this mean?

The Heilige Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlap zatz"l explained [in Mei Marom]: A woman naturally wants to fulfill the will of her husband. Chavah sinned because she was commanded subsequent to Adam. She was only doing it for him. That is a flimsy basis! We must do things because Hashem said!! That is SOLID!! That is what the Medrash means: If women are commanded before the men, then they won't keep the Torah in order to please their husbands but for the RIGHT REASON - namely because Hashem said.

May we always have the purest of motivations in our Divine service!!!

funny, we were reading pardise lost for an english class and we had exactly this discussion, how chava was kivyachol, once-removed from the command of hkb"h, and that was the problem, and someone brought up this medrash. and there's a little mussar in there for husbands too. sometimes, in order to conceal their lack of knowledge a husband will tell his wife to err on the side of chumra, and we know from rashi that adam's failure to distinguish between "halacha" and "chumra" caused her to sin- so if you don't know the answer, rather than over-burden your wife with possibly unnecessary chumras, be humble and ask your rav!

CTRL/ALT/DELETE would never be overly machmir to conceal his lack of knowledge.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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