Status of women in Jewish Society

Published September 12, 2012 by AbdulJabarAzimi

Women in traditional Jewish society were not more fortunate than those previously described.

In the Old Testament women were described as follows: “I applied mine heart to know and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart snares and nets, and her hands as bands…

[Ecclesiastes(7:25-26)]

In the Septuagint, it says, “And if a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. If she pleases not her master, who has betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he has dealt deceitfully with her. And if he had betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. If he takes him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. If he does not do these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money”.

[Exodus (21:7-11)]

Thus, if a Jewish woman got married, her guardianship was transferred from her father to her husband and she became as one of his possessions such as his house, his slave, his maidservant or his money or wealth. Jewish teachings and laws deprived the girl of her father’s inheritance if the father had other male children. In the Old Testament, the Septuagint, it says:

“And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, ‘If a man dies, and has no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughters’.”

[Numbers (27:8)]

Moreover, Jewish men never slept in the same bed with a menstruating woman, or ate with her or drank with her. Jewish men used to isolate themselves fully from a menstruating woman until she was completely free from her menses.

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