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By July 10, 2019 Read More →

Rav Yoni Rosensweig: Tribute to Ha’Rabbanit Dr. Avigail Rock & Supporting women learning Torah

Rav Yoni Rosensweig wrote this:

This last Sunday, in our community of Beit Shemesh, many people came together at the Beit Shemesh cemetery to show their respect and love for Dr. Avigayil Rock. Obviously, the loss is, first and foremost, that of her family and friends.

But to us, the public, she was an esteemed teacher of Tanach, and a paradigm of women’s scholarship. Many women, young and old, looked up to her, and she enriched their lives with the Torah that she spread everywhere she went.

Dr. Rock’s passing came to me after a week of certain rulings and opinions stated by a right-wing Rabbi regarding the activities women are allowed to participate in. The Rabbi ruled that a shul where a woman speaks in public, is not Orthodox. He also stated that women should not run in politics, as it’s “not for them”.

I have no interest in debating these issues, because it is clear to me that this is not about how you read sources, but how you read reality. At the end of the day, one must ask: do we gain more by women entering these fields, or staying out of them? Practically, ethically, spiritually – do we believe that a society benefits when the gates of learning and communal leadership are flung open before women, to take part in equally?

I have been teaching women at Midreshet Lindenbaum for almost 10 years now, and before that taught women in Melbourne Australia as part of the Midrasha there, and I have seen nothing but blessings from their involvement in the Torah world. There are even some learned women who see me as their Rav, we discuss Gemara and Halacha together, and I feel very lucky to be able to interact with them in that way.

For me, then, it is obvious: women like Dr. Avigayil Rock z”l, are sorely needed in this world. Women who can inspire others. Women who can shoulder the burden to make the Jewish world a better place.

We have such women among us.

And, God willing, we will have many more in the years to come.

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