Sunday, 12 May 2013

why we need to be better educated, for our own sakes

Coda: a couple of people have pointed out that all of these betrayals of faith - breaches of trust - by rabbis in recent months shows the need to have more rabbaniyot (or whatever word you would wish to use). I absoultely agree that we need to see more women trained as rabbinic-style counsellors (with or without the title rabbi). Any woman who needs to talk about a sensitive subject, or to share her innermost fears and hopes and desires, should do so to a woman, if at all possible.

We also need more women educators. I have sat in women-only shiurim given by charismatic rabbis, and in some cases there is almost a flirtation going on between teacher and students. a benign one, naturally. Any of us who have been to sem as teenagers know that it is almost an obligation to have a crush on a rav during that time. I'm not trying to call for a removal of men teaching women; although there are many female educators whom i admire and follow, i do not believe anyone could replace my rav for teaching me Torah and expanding my mental horizons. But there should be more of them, they should be turned to more often,and they should be teaching more torah (and not just parenting, shalom bayis, and pleasant fluff that is detached from any torah text).

But i think that the biggest thing that we need is more educated women. And men, for that matter (but i think it is more pressing amongst women). Some of the betrayals which i wrote about could not have happened in a case of better education. The naive girls and young wives who were seduced by halperin and berland; i am not chas v'shalom blaming them. I observe that if they had been better educated about their bodies, about sexual desire and its strengths, its beauty (it is from God, after all), and its dangers, they would not have been taken in that way.

And i think about myself, that if i had not been so quick to silence my inner doubts about certain rabbonim by reminding myself of their superior knowledge, then i would not have been taken in. all i have suffered is disillusionment and disappointment, but Hashem also gave me binah (and chochmah and, b"H, learning opportunities) and i should use it more. i wonder how we could set up a gym for binah-strengthening?

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