It bears repeating
Friday, March 9th, 2007
While vacuuming, the Chazal about the days of Chezkeyahu Hamelech popped into my head. During his reign, all across the country there was no a single child (tinok o tinoket) that were not thoroughly versed in hilchos tuma and tahara [the laws of ritual purity]. There is that wonderful picture of the king planting a sword in the doorpost to demonstrate his point that anyone who does not study the Torah would be stabbed by the sword. Int hat case, strong tactics worked. But what the king imposed was not his own authority or even blind obedience to other authorities; he imposed studying enough so that one knows on one’s own—even a female one—what the halacha is. In contrast, today many push for people—particularly female ones—not to really learn the principles and derivations of halacha. The goal is not that one should know the halacha oneself but that one should know just enough to ask questions over every little thing. The ideal is not well-educated Jews who can independently do the right thing but Jews—particularly Jewesses—taught to be ignorant, so that they would be dependent on asking rabbinic authorities for any move. Now, of course, there are times when real questions do arise, and a competent posek should be consulted. However, there are many, many more things that are not real questions. Their status has been established long ago and even recorded in sforim. So individuals can be taught enough to know these established principles without asking each time they come up. Apparently, that was what Chezkeyahu called for. Today’s standards are quite different.
I will add to this the quote from Rabbi Wagschal's book that seems to value the delicate exotic fruit of ignorance in the female mind:
Taharas Am Yisroel: A Guide to the Halachos of Jewish Marriage by Rabbi Shaul Wagschal, first published in 1979. The copy I took this quote from was the 4th edition from 2002 (Judaica Press). On pp. 122-123, the topic is 'The Designated Times for Oinoh." It contains the usual information about frequency with the warning that a man may sap his strength which is needed for kollel or work, so his wife should understand and not demand too much. Here is point #7: "A kallo may not exactly know what oinoh means, [I am refraining from adding my comment in here] but she should accept that this is the way Hashem planned the complete union of husband and wife, though we do not understand why [bold in the source]. She should also know that this is the only way in which a woman can become pregnant." So it seems that a "kallo" today should be kept in the dark and know less than the tinokes of the days of Chizkiyahu.