All Jewish Women Have Equal Rights

Parsha Points- Mishpatim


All Jewish Women Have Equal Rights


In Parshat Mishpatim (Shmot 21:9-10) we read about a man’s obligation to provide for his wife: “If he (the master) has designated her (the maidservant) as a wife for his son, he must grant her exactly the same rights as daughters. If he takes for himself another wife, sheara, her sustenance, ksuta, her clothing and onah, her conjugal rights must not diminish”.


According to Rabbi Getsel Ellinson, We see from this pasuk that even when polygamy was allowed, the former maidservant was on par with those of higher status.


No matter how many women he would marry, the husband was obligated to provide the same level of sustenance, clothing and conjugal rights for each.


Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch points out that the Torah mentions a woman at the very bottom of the social scale: the daughter of a beggar who has already sold his shirt to save himself and his daughter from hunger. Now, having sold her as a maidservant and her master having refused to marry her, she was given in marriage to her master’s son. The Torah, comparing this woman to the free and well to do states: “Let not the law regarding this woman be any lighter in your eyes than that regarding this other one”: The verse “sets out to teach one thing but another is actually learned”- the principle of “the manner of daughters” is spelled out here in a special case, but extends to all Jewish girls.


Ramban (Shmot 21:10) states: If the husband takes another wife, he should not deprive this one of direct physical contact, bedding or appropriate timing (for intimacy)…this means that the other wife should not have a fine bed while this one is like a concubine that sleeps on the ground…

 Rabbeinu Gershom ben Yehuda (965 - 1040 C.E.), the head of the Talmudic Academy in Mainz, Germany, in the 11th Century, one of the first important leaders of the Ashkenazi community became famous not only on account of his teachings and writings, but particularly for certain regulations (Takanot), which were accepted as binding on all Ashkenazi Jews they included:
1) not being able to marry more than one wife (though the Torah permits it)
2) not being able to divorce one's wife against her will (though the Torah permits it)
3) not being allowed to read someone else's mail

Since Rabbeinu Gershom’s time we have not had an issue (in the Ashkenasic community) about which wife is to be treated better, yet the Torah’s message still stands, all Jewish women should have equal rights.


Opportunity to Send Mishloach Manot/ Matanot L'Evyonim to Jerusalem ’s Impoverished Elderly

According to the Rambam in his Mishneh Torah: “gifts for the poor deserve more attention than the seudah (festive meal) and mishloach manot (gifts for friends) because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”

Torat Reva Yerushalayim will be delivering mishloach manot/ matanot laevyonim packages to elderly residents in Jerusalem ’s nursing homes on Shushan Purim (the day that Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem ). The packages will include healthy snacks and Purim treats.

Our goal is to provide packages for residents of two full nursing homes in Jerusalem who study Torah with Torat Reva Yerushalayim.  

A donation of $18 covers one package, $180 covers packages for an entire floor of a nursing home.

Please click on the following link to donate on line

Or mail a check payable to Torat Reva Yerushalayim to:
In the US
Torat Reva Yerushalayim, 75 Berkeley Avenue, Yonkers NY 10705
In Israel
Torat Reva Yerushalayim, 12 Israel  Eldad #19, Jerusalem 93399