Published on February 26th, 2018 | by Natan Margalit


Priestly Men and Invisible Women: Male Appropriation of the Feminine and the Exemption of Women from Positive Time-Bound Commandments

An article from the AJS Review

In this paper I will examine the rabbinic exemption of women from obligation to perform an “positive time-bound commandment” as it appears in M. Kiddushin 1:7. This rule states that women are exempt from the obligations to perform those commandments, such as, for example, sitting in a Sukkah on the Feat of Tabernacles, or saying kri’at shem’a, the declaration of God’s Oneness, morning, and evening, in which the requirement for the mandated action comes about with the arrival of specific time. I offer this analysis of a particular rabbinic ruling, in its literary context in the Mishnah, as a case study in what I claim to be a major component of the rabbinic discourse of gender: the male appropriation of the “feminine” into their own identities, and the resultant exclusion of women from those areas of appropriation. In this paper I will employ a literary/anthropological approach to reading the Mishnah, which I believe is very useful in uncovering such underlying cultural patterns within its succinct, legal writing style… [to read more, download the full article]

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