Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Women of the Wall hold Torah school in prayer outside Old City police station where others were detained for wearing prayer shawls at the Kotel February 11

Women of the Wall Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman has compared the Knesset with King Achasverosh, the wicked king in the story of Purim, because the Israeli legislature listens to Haredim who “claim authority over Jewish religious practice.”

Imagine the uproar if Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Sephardic Jews, had made that comment. Israeli and foreign media would already have condemned him as spewing hatred against fellow-Jews and for being anti-Zionist.

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But when Silverman writes the same thing in the Huffington Post, as she did on Purim, that’s fine – because she speaks in the name of equality, and who can argue with that?

We all probably would be better off if the Haredim were to let the Women of the Wall wail at the Kotel all they want and let them read from the Torah.

The Woman of the Wall make it a point to try to pray at the Western Wall every Rosh Chodesh in their prayer shawls and with a Torah scroll, because they say it is their equal right to do pray as men do.

Equal? Has anyone  noticed that they do not try to pray every day at the Kotel, let alone three times a day?

Silverman’s rant in the Huffington Post sounded familiar to anyone who recalls the biblical Korach, who complained to Moses that all Jews are holy and equal, and who in the H is he to tell everyone what God says?

Silverman wrote, “All Jews who take Sinai as their paradigm for authority and purpose — God’s command that we become a Kingdom of Priests, each one of us in direct relationship with and an interpreter of God — are obligated to reveal ourselves as brave and proactive Jews, like Esther. And the few who seek to hoard God, idol-like, for themselves, in their own images, are obligated to learn from Mordecai’s humility and ask: Who knows?…

“We end public readings of the Scroll of Esther with a blessing: ’Blessed are you, God, who takes up our grievance, judges our claim and avenges the wrongs against us. You bring retribution on our enemies and vengeance on our foes.’

“It’s a tragedy when those we have in mind are other Jews,” Silverman concluded.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Their already is a section of the wall where they can do whatever they want ,but they insist they have a right to do whoever they want. How about the rights of the woman who want topractice Judiaism as it has been done for thousands of years,don't they have rights,let alone the men who want separation….

  2. Look It's Purim…& If You Had A Few Drinks…You Wouldn't Know The Difference…If They Were Men Or Women In Prayer Shawls… We Should Be Thankful…They Don't Insist On Going To The Mens Room…& Use The Latrines…That Would Be Messy…

  3. And the all the men who have complete freedom and rights at the Kote, l pray three times a day every day? Women of the Wall are a group of Jewish women from all streams of Judaism. Some of us indeed do pray three times a day – but that is not a condition for religious freedom and equality at the Kotel.

  4. Shmuel, Women of the Wall pray at the back of the women's section at the Kotel. We respect the rights of women who pray silently near the wall. The men pray loudly wherever and whenever they want in the men's section – sometimes right next to the silent women on the other side of the mehitza. Our prayer at the Kotel in the women's section on Rosh Hodesh is a traditional Rosh Hodesh service. A lot of women enjoy it more than standing on a chair or huddling near the mehitza trying to be part of tefilot on the men's side.

  5. It is mentioned in the Talmud which deals with cleanliness that a man who has had a seminal emission should not handle a sefer Torah but I have not seen any reference of a woman being excluded from handling a sefer Torah while menstruating. It just seems to be a given “exclusion” out of common sense; however, how is this going to be enforced if some women don’t care about nidah as they wouldn’t care about eating a ham and cheese sandwich? Looks like Nathan Sharansky has a full time job of trying to settle this issue of “equal rights” of praying at the Kotel.

  6. Here we go again, I was wondering how long it would be before somebody would bring up Korach? Nothing quite like name-calling as a substitute for reasoned and respectful debate, reminds me of my student days when the left-wingers' favourite way to shut anyone up (whether or not Israel-related) was to shout "Nazi" or "Fascist".

  7. Някои припадат при вида на жени- равинки.Това е част от модерния свят. иначе приличаме по реакции на айятоласите в Иран.Ако искаме това!Всеки да си прави избора. Аз ги приемам!

  8. Ruth, I agree that name calling is inappropriate. But the idea that WoW is legitimate, with which I agree by the way, needs to be established from the point of view of tradition.Accusing WoW of using Korach's reasoning is not name calling, but an opportunity to show the way in which the approach of WoW is a reflection of the same tradition, albeit interpreted differently,
    as its critics.

  9. Chaia Beckerman This is sort of like the difference between the various strains of Christianity. Each one claims authenticity, and that the others are not real Christians, especially Mormons. Are you kidding me? A Jew needs a scorecard to figure out the differences between them, and an Orthodox Jew needs a scorecard to figure out the differences between a Renewal and a Reconstructionist Jew etc.. Everyone was Orthodox before the reform movement, and anything but Orthodox is an offshoot of the Reform movement.

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