The Blessed Holy One Placed More Understanding in Women Than in Men

by tillerofthesoil

“A [Roman] Matronita asked Rabbi Yose: ‘Why [was woman created] by theft [see Genesis 2:21: And YHWH God cast a deep slumber on the human, and he slept… And YHWH God built the rib He had taken from the human into a woman]? He replied, ‘Imagine a man depositing an ounce of silver with you in secret, and you return him a litra [twelve ounces] of gold openly; is that theft!’ ‘Yet why in secret?’ she pursued. ‘At first He created her for him and he saw her full of discharge and blood; thereupon He removed her from him and created her a second time.’ ‘I can corroborate your words,’ she observed. ‘It had been arranged that I should be married to my mother’s brother, but because I was brought up with him in the same home I became plain in his eyes and he went and married another woman, who was not as beautiful as I.’

It once happened that a pious man was married to a pious woman, and they did not produce children. Said they, ‘We are of no use to the blessed Holy One,’ whereupon they arose and divorced each other. The former went and married a wicked woman, and she made him wicked, while the latter went and married a wicked man, and made him righteous. This proves that all depends on the woman…

[Rabbi Yehoshua asked:] ‘And why is a man easily appeased, but not a woman?’ ‘Man was created from the earth,’ he answered, and when you pour a drop of water on it, it immediately absorbs it; but Eve was created from bone which even if you soak many days in water does not become saturated” (Bereshit Rabbah 17:7-8).

And YHWH God יִּבֶן (yi-ven), built, the rib He had taken from the human into a woman (Genesis 2:21)—the blessed Holy One placed more בִּינָה (binah), understanding, in women than in men” (BT Niddah 45b).

“בִּינָה (Binah), understanding, [how to deduce] one thing from another” (BT Sanhedrin 93b).

“Moreover, when we learnt: ‘This is one of the דְּרָכִים (derakhim), ways [feminine noun], wherein women’s divorce deeds are similar to slaves’ writs of liberation—let him state, [this is one of the] דְּבָרִים (devarim), things [masculine noun], etc.?—but: wherever a distinction is drawn, דְּרָכִים (derakhim), ways, is employed: wherever there is no distinction, דְּבָרִים (devarim), things [i.e., respects] is taught.’ This may be proved too, for the second clause teaches: Rabbi Eli’ezer maintained ‘the citron is equal to trees in all דְּבָרִים (devarim), things.’ This proves it” (BT Qiddushin 3a).

“He [Moses] searched throughout Israel and could not find understanding ones, as is written: I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men (Deuteronomy 1:15), whereas it is not written בִּינָה (binah), understanding. Now, if you say that בִּינָה (binah), understanding, is a higher rung than wise—certainly so!” (Zohar 2:201a, cf. BT Eruvin 100b).

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