Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism

Series: Studia Judaica (50)

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The author applies the fields of gender studies, psychoanalysis, and literature to Talmudic texts. In opposition to the perception of Judaism as a legal system, he argues that the Talmud demands inner spiritual effort, to which the trait of humility and the refinement of the ego are central. This leads to the question of the attitude to the Other, in general, and especially to women. The author shows that the Talmud places the woman (who represents humility and good-heartedness in the Talmudic narratives) above the character of the male depicted in these narratives as a scholar with an inflated sense of self-importance. In the last chapter (that in terms of its scope and content could be a freestanding monograph) the author employs the insights that emerged from the preceding chapters to present a new reading of the Creation narrative in the Bible and the Rabbinic commentaries. The divine act of creation is presented as a primal sexual act, a sort of dialogic model of the consummate sanctity that takes its place in man's spiritual life when the option of opening one's heart to the other in a male-female dialogue is realized.