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Learning For Women

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#1 forever613



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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:20 PM

Dear Rabbi Shapiro,


You've mentioned before that women should focus on learning the halacha and hashkafa that is applicable to them. Would it be possible to list all the specific topics that a single girl should focus on learning (like hilchos kashrus) and a sefer recommended to learn from please?


Also, since a girl is not obligated to learn (for the sake of learning), even though she is rewarded for it, is it preferable for her to engage in learning (like learning parsha) or doing acts of chessed, such as kiruv?


#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:56 AM

It depends. 


Your main focus should be on whatever prepares you for your life ahead as an עקרת הבית. 


Therefore, if you come from a home such that you are already imbued with Torah Hashkafos, a deep appreciation for the value of לימוד התורה, and the requisite Halachos, then you can make your main focus on Chesed and the like. 


But the likelihood is, you need more preparation. Even though women are not obligated to learn, they are obligated to do, and they cannot do unless they know, and they cannot know unless they learn, so in the end you must learn. The Posuk tells us חכמת נשים בנתה ביתה which means you have to be a Chacham in order to be a successful Jewish wife and mother.


So your focus should be on becoming a Chacham. Don't spend your whole day on learning because you'll quickly burn out, especially if you are not part of an organized learning program, such as a seminary. When I say this should be your focus I mean it should not sacrifice it for other spiritual pursuits. It doesn't mean it will take up your whole day.


As far as what to read, the books of Rav Avigdor Miller ZTL are still by far the best English language Hashkafa books out there. Anything by him is gold, but especially important are his Rejoice O Youth, Sing You Righteous and Awake My Glory. 


It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with contemporary Bnei-Torah Hashkafa, as that is what your husband will possess, and your children will come home from school with. Take some time to read the biographies of Gedolei Yisroel. I would suggest the the ones about Rav Ahron Kotler (Dershowitz) and the Brisker Rav (Muller), for example. 


As far as Halachah, you need to know Hilchos Shabbos, especially Bishul, Muktza, and Borer. Any Sefer on Halachah that pertains to you as a woman is of course important. 


One final word: Whatever you learn, when you get married, your husband becomes your Rebbi. The best thing you can do for your Jewish education, therefore, is to make sure you marry a Ben Torah. Your learning at this time should help you recognize and appreciate one.