Thursday, April 30, 2015

hakedusha ma’alah y’seira b’isha yoseir mi’b’ish

Ish imo v’aviv tira’u…” Why does the pasuk mention the mother before the father? Answers Rabeinu Bachyei, “Hikdim ha’eim l’ma’alasa ki hakedusha ma’alah y’seira b’isha yoseir mi’b’ish.” I hate to be a spoilsport, but I don’t think R’ Bachyei means women are more holy than men; this is not like the idea of women having “bina yeseira” (as I saw one sefer explain it). I think what he means is that women have more restrictions in the area of arayos and tzeniyus than men. Kedusha is all about prishus, and Rashi connects it directly to abstinence from arayos. It is this greater obligation to be modest which is the kedusha that we are talking about. That is still a ma’alah, like R Bachyei writes.


  1. Assuming your pshat is correct, I don't believe it is incosistent with what that other sefer says, though I didn't see it inside. Why do women have all these extra dinim in tzeniyus and tahara? Because their ruchniyus feeds on Kedusha more than that of men, whose spirituality, perhaps, best thrives on mitzvos maasiyos and limud hatorah. Of course, everything is kedusha, that's why our parsha starts with Kedoshim and goes on to all sorts of mitzvos, that's why our brachos start with kidshanu. Still, as in the context of what Rabbenu Bachay says, as you explain it, women need a mix that is richer in kedusha. Like plants- ask your wife. Some plants need 2-2-2, some 1-12-5. Give an orchid tomato fertilizer, it'll be on the compost heap in three days.

  2. Update: The Zohar is clearly RB's source. Or they both are getting it from the same source. In any case, here's the Zohar:
    רִבִּי יִצְחָק אָמַר, מַה כְּתִיב לְעֵילָּא, קְדוֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ. אָתֵי בַּר נָשׁ לְאִתְקַדְּשָׁא בְּאִתְּתֵיהּ כְּחַד. מִמַּאן הוּא שְׁבָחָא יַתִּיר בְּהַהִיא קְדוּשָּׁה. הֲוִי אֵימָּא מִנוּקְבָּא. בְּגִין כַּךְ אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ.
    רַבִּי יִצְחָק אָמַר, מַה כָּתוּב לְמַעְלָה? קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ. בָּא אָדָם לְהִתְקַדֵּשׁ עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ כְּאֶחָד, מִמִּי הוּא יוֹתֵר שֶׁבַח בְּאוֹתָהּ קְדֻשָּׁה? הֱוֵה אוֹמֵר מֵהַנְּקֵבָה. מִשּׁוּם כָּךְ אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ.

    Rav Bergman from Ponovezh, in his new Shaarei Orah, has three interpretations. His third is that women's avoda is not open or evident, and I'm not sure if he means that its very concealment enhances it, or that its concealment is evidence of its sincerity.