Feminism & Patriarchy

Feminism is defined in today’s culture by Wikipedia as

a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism

Is this not consistent with our worldview? Gender equality is affirmed in the Torah in several ways, as Dennis Prager explains in his commentary on the Torah in The Rational Bible.

  • A literal translation of Genesis 2:18 yields,

It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper who is his equal.

  • The creation event develops progressively, with each creation on a higher level than the creation preceding it. Fish on day 5, land animals and mankind on day 6, etc. Woman may be considered to be the culmination of G-d’s creation, as she was created last.
  • Even though progeny were promised to both parents, when Sarah was found to be with child, the Torah describes this miracle as “The L-RD did for Sarah…” rather than for “them.”
  • G-d commands that children honor both parents.
  • Depictions of women as heroic is made more frequently than the men in their lives (i.e. Rebecca, Jocheved, Miriam, Pharaoh’s daughter)
  • Women are lifted up in the Torah. (Rebecca – Gen 27; Naomi/Ruth – Ruth 3; Tamar – Gen 38; Abigail – 1Sam 25)

Patriarchy is defined in today’s culture by Wikipedia as

a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

There are surely differing roles and responsibility for men and women described in the Torah. Our class focused on the facts of the Torah regarding gender and what a difference the Torah made in world history. Prager notes, the Torah was the first religious work in the world to completely desexualize G-d and religion.

Gender Pronouns

  • We refer to G-d as “He” because that is how the Torah refers to G-d, not to demean women.
  • Using “He or She” would be dishonest to the text and incline people to think of G-d in gender terms.
  • “She” always refers to a female, but “he” or “man” frequently refers to both sexes. “The rights of man” refers to “human rights”; “mankind” includes women, etc.
  • Using “It” would render the G-d of the Torah as something else entirely, akin to Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover. One does not pray to, love, or otherwise relate to an “It.”

Rendering G-d as “He” has taught generations of males that to be compassionate and loving is part of being masculine.

We recognize that there are jerks in the world, some of whom claim a relationship with the Creator, and treat others poorly. Our goal in this series is not to debate and argue, but rather to provide a different perspective to conclusions others have drawn.

… always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15