Is it true that according to Torah, women are inferior to men to men?
Now this is a tricky question and I’ll explain why.
In a certain sense it is definitely true and I’ll explain that by the fact of nature. The fact that men are distinguished by beards is very significant. You know what a beard means? If you don’t, I’ll tell you. You’ll be surprised to hear. A beard means you have a bigger chin.
Now, you’re hearing something that may be surprising but that’s exactly it. If you meet a man with almost no chin, a receding chin, you get an impression of weakness. Isn’t that right? That’s why when they painted monarchs that were born with a paucity of chin, so the painters complimented him by adding on an inch to his face. The purpose of the beard is to elongate the chin as much as possible because that adds authority.
The hairless face of the woman resembles the face of a child for the purpose of arousing compassion. A woman needs more compassion. Men are never pregnant. Women need – many times – women need compassion. They can’t run as fast from a scene of danger as men; surely when they’re pregnant. And therefore Hakodosh Boruch Hu has created women with a face that resembles the face of a child to arouse pity.
That’s exactly what it’s for. Man has a face that doesn’t arouse pity. It arouses a certain amount of fear or respect because of that resemblance to an elongated chin. All the Pharaohs of Egypt are depicted with beards. This is not what I say – archeologists explain that it’s for the purpose of presenting elongated chins. So we see by nature the male is given a certain authority.
Now, it’s common sense too. Let’s try to overlook the outcries of the women’s lib and let’s listen to plain logic. Does it make for happiness in a home when you have two equal captains? Can a ship travel in one direction when there are two captains?
“Certainly!” you say. “Let them agree!”
But will they?! And suppose one captain decides to steer north to Canada and the other wants to go to Dakar in West Africa; so the only alternative is to cut the ship in two. And that’s why there’s so much divorce in the ranks of the women’s libertarians. You can’t have two heads. דבר אחד לדור – There has to be one leader.
Now, the wife is accorded an honorable place as the first and chief assistant in the house; the first mate on board a ship.
Otherwise it cannot endure. Marriage is an institution that is the foundation of mankind, but happiness in marriage cannot exist – the marriage itself is endangered when you have two competing heads. And therefore in this sense definitely women must accept the natural role as assistant to the man of the house.
Don’t forget that in a more natural society, one man can impregnate a number of wives. So here you have a number of women who are pregnant and they all need help and there’s one man who’s capable; who’s capable of keeping them pregnant and is capable of keeping them supported with their necessities. So by nature you can’t have, let’s say, three or four women and one husband and they’ll all be leaders. So we understand that the man is the leader; he wears the badge of authority on his face and that’s his role in nature.
However, spiritually, a neshama of a woman is no whit inferior to the neshama of a man. And even intellectually, who says she’s inferior. A woman has understanding. A woman has intelligence. A woman has only one soft spot in her mind; נשים דעתן קלות – women are more easy to persuade. They’re not so stubborn as men are.
So when you married and you discover that your husband is stubborn, don’t feel that life is turning black, that it’s a tragedy because you married a stubborn man. You married a man, that’s all! And sometimes when he opens his mouth and gives a roar – a man roars sometimes! Of course he has to know when and when not, but you didn’t marry a — RECORDING ENDED HERE V’CHAVAL AL D’AVDAN
TAPE # 49 (December 1974)