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Does Judaism view men and women as equals?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Instead of arguing the obvious fact of nature, that we are indeed different, I would like to side with the egalitarian opinion that we are indeed equal.

The question is what does the word equal, equal? And the answer is that there are two types of equals.

The first: Equally the same

You wish to make a salad. You decide however that in truth all vegetables are equal and so you make a delicious salad with every vegetable possible. Using only romaine lettuce.

End result: hhhh hhhhh hh hh hhhhh hhh hhhhhhhh hh hhhh hhhh hh hhhhh.

(Translation: that salad is as tasty and colorful as this line of words.)

Two explorers move to a mountain. One is smart and short; the other is strong and tall. But they are both equal.

In the name of true equality the smart one does not use his mind to learn the important studies necessary for their survival, such as science and medicine. After all, he is equal to his comrade who cannot comprehend such topics.

Inasmuch as they are extremely different, they are equally important.
His friend does not use his strength or his skill to build any sort of decent living quarters, for his partner is incapable of building, and they are, of course, equal.

Living in a tent in this treacherous environment, they equally fall ill. Being that neither of them understands medicine, they equally die.

The second: Equally different

On the other side of the mountain lives another pair of explorers. One is short and smart, and the other is big and tall. They are very different and therefore extremely equal. They realize that because each one’s specialty is unique, each one’s presence is necessary. They set about to carry out their distinctive tasks, and live happily ever after.

When they make a salad, they realize that every ingredient is different and unique, and hence equally important. One cannot leave out the cherry tomatoes, nor the spinach or the basil. It is specifically a variety of many different vegetables, and a mixture of a number of oils and spices, that equal one delicious salad.

There is a common saying amongst communists that "we are all equals, but some equals are more equal than others." While some use that saying facetiously, others meant it quite seriously. If we view equal as equally the same, as the communists did, then in essence only one of us is needed; the rest of us are equally extra. Hence it is no surprise that they found some equals more equal than others, and found it okay to get rid of a few, or a few thousand, of the rest of the equals.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Character
Women & Judaism » Women's Mitzvot » Obligations/ Exemptions

G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.