Ya’ted Calls for Female Leadership!
If you can, run out right away and grab a copy of the ya’ted – I just saw the paper at my sister’s house and there is the most mind-blowing article published in the editor’s regular column, titled “Sweeter Speeches”. I’m just going to post exactly what it says:
This week, Parshas Tazriah, introduces the concept of tzora’as. The Gemara in Maseches Eirchin (16a), teaches that tzora’as comes as a punishment for sins connected with lashon harah. The Gemarah states that this dreaded consequence is also a punishment for other anti-social behaviors, including shefichas domim, shvuas shov, gilui arayos, gasos ruach, gezel andtzorus ayin.
As I sat down to write my column, I initially planned a 1,953 word article on speaking nicer (not about bullying, of course, heshem yisborach – that doesn’t happen in our schools, not about abusive words shouted by ill-equiped parents or power-tripping husbands, no, a nice long vort about saying please and thank you, I initially had in mind), but I decided to think more deeply about it.
For what is more anti-social, than for one person to look at another person, who is their equal in every way, and say, “You are nothing. You can’t do anything. I forbid you. You are my possession. You have no rights.” Or, chas v’shalom, on an even larger level, to look at HALF of all the people in society and say, “I strip all of you of the right to speak your mind, I strip all of you of the right to make your own choices. You are merely objects.” That is very anti-social behavior. As I thought about this pshot, I realized with an awful gasp, that that is exactly what klal yisroel have been doing! If I can be so bold, I would say that if we weren’t in golos today, we would all have tzora’as.
I immediately conferred with the gdolei yisroel, I pointed out to them that women are part of society , and our oppression of them is anti-social and deserving of tzora’as. As men of incomparable honesty and piety they saw my point immediately . Shterimels were thrown in shame, bekeshes were rent in sorrow. As one, they all declared to vacate their posts immediately, and find the brightest, most thoughtful, most inclusive woman to declare as their heirs, as the new leaders of our community.
We all closed our eyes and imagined a female face not fogged out with photoshop, clear and distinct and individual, standing at the bimah in every shule, a higher-pitched voice ringing out to the community, challenging us to more social behavior. Ahh, what sweet speeches those would be. Sweet speeches indeed.