Jewish Ladies Anyone Should Find out – Beruriah, Wife of Rabbi Meir

Dec 20, 2020 Others

Beruriah, the wife of the famed Rabbi Meir and daughter of Rabbi Chananiah ben Tradyon, one particular of the ten Torah scholars martyred by the Romans for disseminating Torah amongst the Jewish men and women was a woman of great understanding, knowledge and piety. She has the distinction of being one of the couple of ladies talked about in the Babylonian Talmud and the only one particular of these ladies who is considered to be a Tanna (Torah sage) in her own correct.

Beruriah lived for the duration of the 1st and 2nd hundreds of years of the Typical Era, appropriate about the time when the Mishna, or corpus of Rabbinic law was becoming codified by Rabbi Judah the Prince. The Mishna is composed of six orders or sederim and the commentary to the Mishna is known as the Gemara. The Mishna and Gemara together comprise the Talmud. There are truly two Talmudim-the Talmud Bavli or Babylonian Talmud, which is the more authoritative and the Talmud Yerushalmi or Jerusalem Talmud.

Beruriah was distinctive for women of her time in that she not only studied with the rabbis but taught them as nicely. The Babylonian Talmud, in Tractate Pesachim 62b documents that she researched a few hundred Halakhot or Jewish legal guidelines from 3 hundred masters in a solitary working day. Her understanding was so respected that her male colleagues would frequently request her sights on Jewish lawful issues, notably these which pertained right to females, among them ritual purity. In the Tosefta, a corpus of rabbinic legislation that is structurally similar to the Mishna, Beruriah is recorded as getting challenged her father on an problem regarding ritual purity and Rabbi Judah policies that Beruriah is indeed correct. In this very same source, Rabbi Joshua states that Beruriah is appropriate when she intervenes in a dialogue among the Tanna Rabbi Tarfon and some other sages.

Beruriah was also identified for not getting concerned to converse her thoughts. In Tractate Eruvin of the Babylonian Talmud (Eruvin 53b), she chastises Rabbi Yosi for not abiding by the Talmudic injunction not to converse with girls unnecessarily when he asks her which way to the metropolis of Lod, when he could have basically questioned her, “where’s Lod?”

There are several tales in rabbinic and other Jewish literature pertaining to Beruriah’s character. portrays her not only as getting quite forthright but also as somebody who could be extremely tender and mild. A extremely famous story poignantly demonstrates this. In Midrash Mishlei, the assortment of Midrash on the Book of Proverbs (Sefer Mishlei in Hebrew), Beruriah will come house one Shabbat afternoon and finds, to her horror, that her two sons have passed away. She handles them gingerly with a blanket and awaits the arrival of her spouse Meir from the Beit Midrash or home of review in time to make Havdalah, the ritual to mark the conclude of Shabbat. Fairly than telling him out rightly of his sons’ deaths, Beruriah engages in a lengthy dialogue so that she can broach the horrible news as gently as she can. When Meir asks following his sons, she tells him that they went out and starts to prepare the Saturday night meal as nicely as to make Havdalah.

Right after Havdalah and soon after Rabbi Meir had completed ingesting his meal, Beruriah asks him a very cryptic concern regarding whether or not a single must return an product which was remaining in one’s treatment for a important period when the authentic proprietor of the merchandise returns to retrieve it. The way in which Beruriah phrased this concern is quite significantly like one would when speaking about halakhic matters and the merchandise in concern is, of training course, their two sons. Rabbi Meir is astonished at the issue and asks Beruriah why she would question the owner’s proper to his property whereupon Beruriah escorts Rabbi Meir into the place the place their sons lay. Upon seeing that his sons experienced died, Rabbi Meir weeps and Beruriah reminds him that the authentic owner, I.E. G-d, has appear to declare them. In response, Rabbi Meir rates Proverbs 31:10, “A lady of valor, who can uncover”.

Unfortunately, this was not the only tragic episode in Beruriah’s life. Her mom and brother have been martyred alongside with her father by the Romans on account of educating Torah and her sister was sold into prostitution. In the latter situation, Beruriah convinces Rabbi Meir to rescue her sister and having productively done so, he and Beruriah are forced to flee to Babylonia, present-day Iraq to length them selves from the Romans who purchased Beruriah’s sister’s fate.

The power of Beruriah’s character is also shown in a tale about some neighbors who aggravated Rabbi Meir to no finish. Rabbi Meir in his disappointment prayed for their destruction, but Beruriah instructed him to pray for their repentance rather, using her interpretation of a verse from Psalms (104:35) to bolster her argument.

In spite of her great knowledge and erudition, a legend regarding her dying which was initial penned by the eleventh century sage Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak), deemed to be the greatest Jewish Biblical and rabbinic commentator has solid a shadow over Beruriah and has put her in a negative gentle. In his commentary to Tractate Avodah Zarah 18b of the Babylonian Talmud, a tractate which worries itself mainly with the spiritual and other customs of the non-Jews living in close proximity to Israel, Beruriah mocks a Talmudic assertion that females are lightheaded and to show her incorrect, Rabbi Meir sends one of his pupils specifically to seduce her. The pupil succeeds, proving the level that all females are able to be swayed, irrespective of the wisdom and information they have attained. Totally ashamed, Beruriah commits suicide by strangling herself.

Rashi’s rationalization of Beruriah’s dying did not sit properly with everybody. Rabenu Nissim ben Yakov of Kairouan points out that right after Rabbi Meir’s heroic rescue of her sister, she experienced to flee to Babylonia so that the Romans would not find her.

In spite of the mixed notion of her in rabbinic literature, Beruriah’s story and legacy are a lot admired by females of all Jewish backgrounds and affiliations. She gives an outstanding illustration of a quite uncovered scholarly woman which gives help to ladies who would like to engage in critical Torah studying which was, until finally just lately, not effortlessly accessible to them. In the Orthodox local community, there are an rising amount of seminaries and other academic establishments which permit girls to do sophisticated Jewish studying. Regardless of currently being a female at a time when women’s Torah review was the exception and not the rule, Beruriah demonstrates us that she is capable to hold her own and is even deemed one thing of a halakhic or Jewish authorized authority. Beruriah’s design of profound interior power and knowledge in the confront of unspeakable tragedy is also something which we can all emulate.

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