Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another thing about Exodus

The most interesting thing really about the chapter of Exodus we read was that Moses is beginning to get a big head. At first, when God wants him to be God's spokesperson, Moses says no. He defers to his brother Aaron. But now, Aaron is nary to be seen up there on the mountain, and Moses handles everything on his own, at least until his father-in-law (the foreigner), Jethro, gives him advice to deligate some of the responsibility, essentially creating a court system that would be familiar to us even today. Most strikingly, and this disturbs the Rabbis too, when God gives instructions to Moses about how the people are to prepare themselves for the giving of the law, God says only that the people should make themselves clean and stay away from the mountain.
Moses translates this as "Stay away from women." This is startling because first of all, it isn't what God said, and second, it means he is just talking to men, when God asks him to assemble all the people. That would be a kind of explanation of sexism in the culture, and an indication that it doesn't come from the law itself, but from male egotism in the culture.
Given what a sexist tradition this is, that is something to consider.

8 comments:

Lou said...

Wait, I got lost there What is a "sexist tradition"?

Robbi said...

The Jewish one.

Robbi said...

Did you know that Orthodox Jews say a prayer every day to thank God they were not born a woman? That's sexist! So it's news when I find something that suggests the laws themselves were not intended to be that way.

Lou said...

That may be sexist, but it's also dumb. LOL

Robbi said...

Yep. You won't get any argument about that from me.
The Torah my group uses contains commentary by a particular feminist, female rabbi. There is now a whole tradition of reading the text in that vein.

Robbi said...

Lou,
You did mean the PRAYER was dumb, right? Not my interpretation?

Lou said...

LOL Yes, the prayer of thanks for not being a woman. LOLOL

Robbi said...

Right. Let's see them get themselves born without us!