Jewish Women Anyone Ought to Understand – Beruriah, Spouse of Rabbi Meir

Beruriah, the spouse of the famed Rabbi Meir and daughter of Rabbi Chananiah ben Tradyon, a single of the 10 Torah scholars martyred by the Romans for disseminating Torah amongst the Jewish individuals was a woman of remarkable finding out, knowledge and piety. She has the difference of becoming a single of the few girls described in the Babylonian Talmud and the only one of these ladies who is deemed to be a Tanna (Torah sage) in her possess proper.

Beruriah lived throughout the 1st and 2nd generations of the Common Era, appropriate about the time when the Mishna, or corpus of Rabbinic regulation was becoming codified by Rabbi Judah the Prince. The Mishna consists of 6 orders or sederim and the commentary to the Mishna is acknowledged as the Gemara. The Mishna and Gemara with each other comprise the Talmud. There are in fact two Talmudim-the Talmud Bavli or Babylonian Talmud, which is the much more authoritative and the Talmud Yerushalmi or Jerusalem Talmud.

Beruriah was exclusive for women of her time in that she not only studied with the rabbis but taught them as well. The Babylonian Talmud, in Tractate Pesachim 62b data that she examined 3 hundred Halakhot or Jewish regulations from a few hundred masters in a one day. Her understanding was so revered that her male colleagues would often request her sights on Jewish legal matters, especially people which pertained straight to women, amid them ritual purity. In the Tosefta, a corpus of rabbinic legislation that is structurally comparable to the Mishna, Beruriah is recorded as getting challenged her father on an concern about ritual purity and Rabbi Judah principles that Beruriah is without a doubt right. In this exact same supply, Rabbi Joshua states that Beruriah is right when she intervenes in a dialogue between the Tanna Rabbi Tarfon and some other sages.

Beruriah was also identified for not currently being concerned to speak her mind. In Tractate Eruvin of the Babylonian Talmud (Eruvin 53b), she chastises Rabbi Yosi for not abiding by the Talmudic injunction not to converse with women unnecessarily when he asks her which way to the city of Lod, when he could have simply asked her, “where’s Lod?”

There are many stories in rabbinic and other Jewish literature pertaining to Beruriah’s character. Jewish tradition portrays her not only as currently being really forthright but also as an individual who could be really tender and light. A really famous tale poignantly demonstrates this. In Midrash Mishlei, the assortment of Midrash on the E-book of Proverbs (Sefer Mishlei in Hebrew), Beruriah will come property one Shabbat afternoon and finds, to her horror, that her two sons have passed away. She covers them gingerly with a blanket and awaits the arrival of her spouse Meir from the Beit Midrash or house of review in time to make Havdalah, the ritual to mark the stop of Shabbat. Relatively than telling him out rightly of his sons’ fatalities, Beruriah engages in a lengthy conversation so that she can broach the terrible news as gently as she can. When Meir asks right after his sons, she tells him that they went out and commences to prepare the Saturday evening food as effectively as to make Havdalah.

Soon after Havdalah and right after Rabbi Meir experienced finished taking in his meal, Beruriah asks him a quite cryptic issue regarding whether or not 1 should return an item which was remaining in one’s care for a considerable period when the authentic proprietor of the merchandise returns to retrieve it. The manner in which Beruriah phrased this issue is extremely a lot like a single would when discussing halakhic matters and the item in issue is, of course, their two sons. Rabbi Meir is astonished at the question and asks Beruriah why she would question the owner’s right to his property whereupon Beruriah escorts Rabbi Meir into the area in which their sons lay. Upon looking at that his sons had died, Rabbi Meir weeps and Beruriah reminds him that the authentic proprietor, I.E. G-d, has appear to assert them. In response, Rabbi Meir estimates Proverbs 31:ten, “A girl of valor, who can locate”.

Sadly, this was not the only tragic episode in Beruriah’s life. Her mother and brother were martyred together with her father by the Romans on account of teaching Torah and her sister was sold into prostitution. In the latter case, Beruriah convinces Rabbi Meir to rescue her sister and obtaining successfully accomplished so, he and Beruriah are forced to flee to Babylonia, existing-day Iraq to distance them selves from the Romans who ordered Beruriah’s sister’s destiny.

The strength of Beruriah’s character is also shown in a tale relating to some neighbors who irritated Rabbi Meir to no end. Rabbi Meir in his frustration prayed for their destruction, but Beruriah instructed him to pray for their repentance alternatively, employing her interpretation of a verse from Psalms (104:35) to bolster her argument.

Regardless of her tremendous knowledge and erudition, a legend about her dying which was first penned by the 11th century sage Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak), deemed to be the greatest Jewish Biblical and rabbinic commentator has cast a shadow over Beruriah and has put her in a damaging light. In his commentary to Tractate Avodah Zarah 18b of the Babylonian Talmud, a tractate which worries alone mostly with the religious and other customs of the non-Jews dwelling in near proximity to Israel, Beruriah mocks a Talmudic assertion that ladies are lightheaded and to demonstrate her wrong, Rabbi Meir sends one particular of his college students exclusively to seduce her. The college student succeeds, proving the position that all ladies are able to be swayed, no matter of the knowledge and expertise they have attained. Utterly ashamed, Beruriah commits suicide by strangling herself.

Rashi’s explanation of Beruriah’s loss of life did not sit nicely with everyone. Rabenu Nissim ben Yakov of Kairouan describes that right after Rabbi Meir’s heroic rescue of her sister, she experienced to flee to Babylonia so that the Romans would not locate her.

Despite the blended perception of her in rabbinic literature, Beruriah’s story and legacy are significantly admired by ladies of all Jewish backgrounds and affiliations. She gives an superb case in point of a quite uncovered scholarly girl which gives assistance to women who want to have interaction in severe Torah learning which was, until just lately, not simply obtainable to them. In the Orthodox neighborhood, there are an increasing variety of seminaries and other academic institutions which let girls to do sophisticated Jewish understanding. In of currently being a lady at a time when women’s Torah study was the exception and not the rule, Beruriah shows us that she is ready to maintain her personal and is even deemed something of a halakhic or Jewish legal authority. Beruriah’s product of profound interior energy and knowledge in the encounter of unspeakable tragedy is also some thing which we can all emulate.

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