To Bee: Devora's role

Devora makes some people uncomfortable. What to do with a woman who was a public figure -- a judge, prophet, and military leader? For some, the solution is to downplay her public role by splitting it and giving prominence to her role as wife. Thus, when my calss was taught a song intended to help us memorize all the shoftim, when it came to Devora, suddenly the leader role of the judge became a partnership, and a husband was brought in so that Devora would not have to go it alone. In the song, it was Devora along with her husband Barak that are credited with the role of shoftim for her time .

Now, Devora is never identified as the wife of Barak but of Lapidos in the text of the navi itself. However, some do identify her husband as Barak who point to the similarity of lightning nad flame to make the identification. I would think that some would be very uncomfotable with the notion of a woman working so closely -- as Devora does with Barak -- and seem so familiar with a man who is not her husband. I also observed somewhat flippantly that Barak shares the song of Devora with her, so it may be considered unseemly for a man not married to her to be singing along -- even though the divinely inspired song is not necessarily sung to a tune.

Another way of dometicating the public woman is to shift the focus when describing her greatness to how she related to her husband. For some reason, Devora was supposed to have married a dud (I suppose according to those who do not identify her husband with Barak.) To give him something worthwhile and keep him out of possible trouble, she would make wicks for the mishkan that she would have him deliver -- hence the name Lapidos. Wicks are not subjet to breakage or other forms or irreparable damage. I once even herad a well-known rebbetzin give a lecture on Devora that was entirel devoted to her great accomplishment -- building up her husband. There was no mention of her courage to take on the role of leader as a woman or the great spiritual state she was able to achieve as one among seven of the illutrious prophetesses recorded in TaNach.


Josh M. said…
According to Rashi on 5:3, IIRC, Yael was also a shofetes.

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