Yossi Sarid explains that when ultra-Orthodox men in Israel push women to the back of the bus because they are not fit to be seen or spit on little girls because they disapprove of their dress, these misogynistic forms of behavior are not an aberration — they are the application of Jewish law.
If you would like to know the source from which your brothers derive their brazen behavior, go over to the study hall and open a page of Talmud. It’s true that the Torah has 70 faces, but the trend of these faces is clear: The source of the pollution is in halakha (Jewish law ) itself. What is happening in Beit Shemesh and its satellites is not “contrary to halakha,” it is mandated by halakha. And the rest will be told to the grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters.
Anyone ignoramus knows that the Torah’s “ways are ways of pleasantness,” that “the honor of a king’s daughter is within,” and that “proper behavior comes before the Torah,” but it’s worth knowing more. It’s worth knowing that a woman is unfit to be a judge, and is also unfit to give testimony. She is unfit for any public position with authority. “Thou shalt appoint a king over thee” – a king and not a queen.
A daughter, commanded the sages, must not be taught Torah, because “the mind of woman is not suited to be taught, but [only] to words of nonsense.” Women are light-minded and have little knowledge.
And if a man and a woman are drowning in a river, first they’ll save the man, “who is obligated to perform more commandments,” whereas a woman’s “wisdom is only in the spindle.” In fact, “words of Torah should be burned rather than being given to women.”
A man must say three blessings every day during morning prayers: He thanks God “that He didn’t make me a gentile, that He didn’t make me a woman, that He didn’t make me an ignoramus.” And it’s not proper to speak to a woman too much, since “all her conversation is nothing but words of adultery,” and whoever talks to her too much “causes evil to himself and will end up inheriting hell.” And let’s not even talk about the fate of someone “who looks even at a woman’s little finger.”
The extremists who spit at women, who call themselves Sikarikim, learned their lesson 101 times and learned it well: A husband would do well not to let his wife go outside, into the street, and should restrict her outings “to once or twice a month, as necessary, since a woman has no beauty except by sitting in the corner of her house.”
Because inside the house – very deep inside – her glorious honor awaits her: “Every woman washes her husband’s face and feet and pours him a cup and prepares his bed and stands and serves her husband. And any woman who refrains from doing any of these tasks that she is obligated to perform – is forced to do them.” Some recommend forcing her with a whip or by starvation “until she gives in.”
And needless to say, she is at her husband’s disposal whenever he is overcome by a desire “to satisfy his urges with her.” And if she continues to rebel, he always has the right “to divorce her without her consent.”
And there are many similar halakhot, only a few of which we have collected here. Nor have we cited everything in the name of the ones who said them, for lack of space. The readers are invited to find the references on Shabbat – and to browse around – on their own; this is a good opportunity for study. We will direct your attention to Tractate Shabbat, which does a good job of summing up halakha’s attitude toward women: “a sack full of excrement” with a bleeding hole.
Some people will seek to console themselves: It’s true that this is the halakha both m’doraita (from the Torah ) and m’drabanan (from the rabbis ), but that is not what is taught nowadays. But it suffices to listen to the sermon the sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef delivered five years ago, based on the well-known halakhic work “Kitzur Shulchan Aruch”: “A man must take care not to walk between two women or between two dogs or two pigs, and men should also not allow a woman or a dog or a pig to walk between them.”
Treating women as impure and filthy begins with halakha and continues with actions. As long as the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, none of which have any women in the Knesset – are not disqualified, their nakedness will continue to sing out and the nakedness of the land will be revealed.