The Jewish View of Feminism
Our Bodies, Our Souls
By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Voices from Jerusalem, (1999) Aish HaTorah Media Center
Live Lectures on 2 Audio Cassettes - Tape# HT630 A & B
Genre: Women and Judaism
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 31, 2001
Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller is an energetic and inspiring teacher and lecturer. Not only is she a senior lecturer at
Neve Yerushalayim College for Women, but she also gives lectures, on a variety of Jewish subjects, to audiences around the world. In addition, Mrs. Heller is the author of the stirring book, More Precious Than Pearls, which deals the qualities inherent in the ideal Jewish woman.
The Jewish View of Feminism is two-part audio series that contains live recordings of several of Mrs. Heller's lectures, that all deal with the subject, "Our Bodies, Our Souls." With candor, humor, and an in-depth knowledge of the subject, Mrs. Heller expounds on the Jewish view on feminism and what it means to be a Jewish woman. Her discourse begins with an explanation of the creation story and how and why men and women were created. Once this basis is established, she wittily explores the difference between men and women and why their roles in life differ. She not only explores these differences on a physical and intellectual level, but also on a spiritual and mystical level.
She also explains the different relationships that men and women have with G-d and why women are exempt (not forbidden) from many mitzvot. Throughout these lectures, Mrs. Heller also juxtaposes the role of women in Judaism, with that of the role of women in secular society. By doing so, she forcefully illustrates the elevated status that women have within Judaism, the vitality of their role, and the pivotal role that women have in establishing the spiritual nature of their households.
These powerful lectures, delivered before a live audience, cover a wide range to topics - including ritual purity, the mikvah, why women are not Rabbis, modesty, child rearing, professional life, prayer, and the obligation that women have to learn Torah. Most importantly, she explains how women's unique role within Judaism elevates her to a higher spiritual plane. Rather than being restriction, Judaism gives women the power and the resources to soar, both spiritually and intellectually. She also explains the reasons why many secular people mistakenly view Judaism as being restrictive to women. With ease she easily refutes their allegations.
This is a wonderful lecture series. Mrs. Heller has a forceful presence and you can easily imagine that she is talking directly to you. These tapes are perfect for the 'beginner' because Mrs. Heller succinctly outlines her main thesis and carefully examines each issue and offers sufficient background material to support her assertions. These tapes will also be of interest to more advanced learners. If for no other reason than the uplifting nature of Mrs. Heller's message and the affirmation that, as a Jewish woman, you have a vital role to play in a range physical and spiritual spheres.
This two-part series can be ordered directly from Voices From Jerusalem. For more information on how to order this title, please call Voices From Jerusalem at 1-800-VOICES-3, or visit their website, which is located at http://www.aish.com/audio.
Rosh Hashanah: Setting Attainable Goals, by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz.
This lecture covers a range of topics, including a discussion on the Jewish calender and how it differs from other calenders. Rabbi Berkowitz also examines the spiritual force that underlies holy days, what it is that Rosh Hashanah commemorates, and how, each year, we are given a new opportunity to learn, grow, and to imbue our lives with meaning. (Audio)
Teshuva: To the Abyss and Back, by Rabbi Ari Kahn.
The essence of this lecture is the question, What is Teshuva and how is it achieved? And, is there ever a point that, once crossed, in which Teshuva becomes impossible? In discussing this issue, Rabbi Kahn offers an explanation of what the soul is, our relationship with G-d, and what the purpose is behind Teshuva. He also discusses the nature of sin, and the damaging effect it can have upon the soul. (Audio)