Do women get a separate Olam Haboh or do they share it with their husband?
The answer is, Olam Haboh is never the same for any two individuals. It’s not the same for any two individuals. מלמד שכל צדיק וצדיק יש לו חופה לפי כבודו – Each tzadik has a canopy according to his glory, according to what he deserves. Nobody is the same in Olam Haboh.
Now the question is, women in general, will they have a lesser kind of glory than men? And the answer is certainly not. Each person has opportunities and will be rewarded exactly according to the way he or she utilizes those opportunities.
The truth is that women have a promise that men don’t have. It says גדולה הבטחה – Greater is the promise that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave to women. And that means as follows: Women are not subject to the difficulties that men have – and they don’t have all the opportunities that man have.
One example: Men have opportunity, and also a drive, for more arrogance. A man has a beard; a beard makes the chin look bigger, you have to know that. A beard gives you a big chin; it makes you look more authoritative. Whereas women are humble; they more resemble young people, they more resemble children. They are more modest, more retiring than men by nature.
Everybody knows, if you have boys and girls among your children you know that the boys are the ones that you get the most Olam Haboh for raising. A woman with a lot of boys, it’s said about her that will not see the pischo shel Gehenom. She won’t see even the entrance of Gehenom because she has it already in this world.
Now, I suppose it’s fun too – finally you’ll marry off all your sons and the other party will have to make the chasuna and give the dowry if you have sons. But it’s a few years till you marry them off and raising sons is a big job because sons are more pugnacious. No question about that boys have a fighting spirit that girls don’t have.
Boys however, because of this drive, they can accomplish more than girls and that’s why they’re given more opportunities than girls outside the home. Women are loaded down with responsibilities of a home; you can’t leave your children and run to shachris – you have to stay home and take care of the children. And that’s their nature – Hashem gave them certain instincts that are best utilized in the home. The instinct of rachmonus, pity. The word rachamim comes from the word rechem; that’s a womanly instinct, to have pity. And also a love for children and so on. So women can become great in the sphere of her home – but they don’t have the opportunities and dangers that men have.
Men go out in a conflict. Sometimes there is a machlokes even between chachomim, between sages. And sometimes the machlokes leads to other things besides pure Torah machlokes, and there’s a big responsibility there. Shaul and Dovid were both big tzadikim but Shaul was misled to some extent by his manliness, by his desire to remain a king. He felt it was his responsibility and to a certain extent he was misled by that. The queen of Shaul and the queen of Dovid didn’t have any fights between themselves. Neither of them were pugnacious; they didn’t have the arrogance that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave to males. So גדולה הבטחה – greater is the promise that is given to women.
It says נשים שעננות בוטחות – Quiet daughters, daughters who are trusting. It means Hakodosh Boruch Hu said, “You can trust in Me because your reward is more guaranteed.”
However, men can achieve more greatness, because if they utilize their more violent natures, their drive, they can become greater. But it’s a bigger danger too.
However, in a certain sense women and men are partners in the reward of Olam Haboh. Because in addition to the first principle of each one being rewarded according to his opportunities – a woman can become great in her life just like men become great in their lives – but there is also another area where they share their reward. And that’s when a woman is married to a man who forges ahead in serving Hashem and she serves in the background; with encouragement and he needs also a home, he needs all the wherewithal of life to enable him to continue. And certainly if she is the one to inspires him to even more effort, then surely. So therefore here is an opportunity for women to be sharers even in the achievements of men.
Woman also can achieve by means of their sons or if they marry off their daughters to sons in law. It’s a greatness for women when their children, or their grandchildren, or their sons in law pursue da’as Hashem and are oisek in Torah and in mitzvos; it’s all credited to the parents, men and women.
So therefore we’ll sum up now in two ways the answer to this.
Women on their own are rewarded according to their opportunities and nobody is going to lose because he wasn’t made a man or wasn’t made a woman; each person will be rewarded according to his or her opportunities.
But in addition, there are some things that men and women share together because they are partners. Like Rabbi Akiva. When Rabbi Akiva came back after twenty four years and he became a national Torah leader, and everybody came to pay homage to him, so Rabbi Akiva said (Nedarim 50a), “My Torah and the Torah that you learnt from me, is all hers,” and he pointed to this woman Rochel, his wife whom he hadn’t seen in twenty four years. He said, “This woman is responsible for all the Torah that I have, and all the Torah that you learnt from me.”
So now you when you look back on our history, the gemora says about Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua and Rabbi Yosi, that all of them were talmidim of Rabbi Akiva. And the Gemara says that all of our Torah comes from these five sages who were disciples of Rabbi Akiva. But Rabbi Akiva himself was the result, he was the creation that was brought into being by the spirit of one woman, Rochel. So here now Rochel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, is actually the rebbe of the Jewish nation.
So it’s possible for women to attain that second form of greatness in addition to her nature and instincts and characteristics that give her opportunity to gain perfection of her own.
TAPE # 382