Follow Atlantan Edie Barr through her most recent journeys in Israel and her "New Year."
Today was my first classes in “Women and Mitzvot” and “Gemara”
By Edie Barr
October 24, 2011
In “Women and Mitzvot” we started by learning about women and learning. We learned the principle that one who is obligated to learn is obligated to teach and obligated to be taught. Since the tradition is that the Shema says that you must teach your sons, only males are obligated to be taught, learn and teach. That doesn’t mean that women are forbidden to learn, just not obligated. Rabbi Ben Azai learns from the parsha of sotah that women are obligated to learn. Why from that parsha that deals with a possible adulterous wife? Maybe it is so that a girl will know the consequences of her acts. Maybe because it is believed that merits can delay the sotah punishment and she mush know what earns merit or that she will acquire merit from learning.
In Gemara, we are studying Mesechet (section) on Brachot. especially the Shemonah Esrei prayer in perek dalet (chapter 4). We discussed the obligation to pray from the Rambam. According to him, all people are obligated to make a connection with Hashem through prayer. But there is nothing in the Torah about how to pray. Prayer must contain praise of Hashem, requests of Him, and thanks to Him. When the Jewish people were exiled from Israel, they were not able to express themselves well enough in Hebrew to do the basics of prayer. So the Men of the Great Assembly set down a series of blessings in a special order that became our main way of praying called the Shemonah Esrei. We worked in pairs (chavrutahs) to identify the blessings in the prayer and how to classify them as to praise, request, or thanks.
And it was evening and it was morning , the second day and it was good.