Eliezer Berkovits’s views on the status of women within Judaism are an outgrowth of his philosophy of the nature and function of halakah. He believed that Torat Hayyim, a living Torah, must speak to the unique needs of each particular generation and that human beings must take an active role in shaping that Torah. Berkovits’s interest in the status of women did not stem from any particular affinity to feminism and the modern woman’s cause. Rather, he sensed that this problem was the issue of the day facing traditional Judaism. Berkovits was unwilling to say that halakah has no answers for the contemporary woman. For him to do so would be to admit that Torah is morally deficient and not eternally valid or relevant and would constitute an affront to God’s name. His belief in the power of the halakic system and his desire to defend the moral dignity of God’s law spurred him, as a legal authority, to address women’s spiritual, religious, and ritual needs in the modern day.


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pp. 4-15
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