07. Love and Partnership

On its own, every attribute is deficient. The discerning, studying intellect is liable to lose the vitality that stems from its connection to the divine. Likewise, due to its constant involvement in principles and rules, it is liable to lose touch with real life. In contrast, emotional intuition, when it comes to organize life in the world, is likely to get carried away and err, straying from the precise law.

Consequently, the task of setting rules and principles was given to men, who are commanded to occupy themselves in Torah and to fulfill positive time-bound mitzvot, thereby laying the foundations of Jewish life. Women, on the other hand, express the general connection to faith and the tangible life of Torah, by virtue of which men connect to natural faith and better comprehend the value of the analytic principles.

On the surface, it seems that the task of men is more important; on account of these virtues, they are worthy of the mitzva of Torah study as well as the positive time-bound mitzvot, and consequently, men are given leadership and authority. After all, one who is occupied with Torah principles must lead and guide others. However, looking deeper, we see that the value of women is actually greater. Although it is true that men are more engaged with principles and leadership, the building of a family, which is the most significant element in life, was placed in the hands of women. Moreover, the purpose of creation is to receive divine illumination within actual life and to experience it with the utmost intensity. Women are more attuned to this.

Specifically because of women’s quality of humility, she is able to receive the divine and absorb the illumination that stems from Torah study and from positive time bound mitzvot. This, in turn, enables her to express her great virtues. It is thus no coincidence that man’s virtues are more noticeable, while women’s are internal and concealed. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within” (Psalms 45:14). This also allows us to understand the meaning of the berakha of She’asani Ki-rtzono (as explained below, 6:2).

When the uniqueness of each sex is blurred or subjected to struggle and hostility, man and woman are unable to make each other more productive. Young couples have difficulty building their families, and existing family structures deteriorate and collapse.

On the other hand, when we understand the value of each sex, thereby allowing for a greater connection and love, the divine Presence dwells with the couple (Sota 17a), faith and joy increase in the world, and the intellectual and emotional elements develop and integrate. The people of Israel, with all its families, thus continues to grow, speaking God’s praise in the world.

Chapter Contents

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman