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Missional Life, Women in Judaism

Should women learn in silence?

The title reads ” should the women learn in silence” bringing to life one a heat debate one about the position, rol and place of woman according to the G-d’s instructions in ministry. Taking a class women just as men should  learn in silence as instructor i don’t like interruptions for neither gender.  but the title is mostly refered to the shunning position assigned for some throught the centuries to women. 

Now the Bible, the Scriptures or the Tannak reveal numerous women in positions of leadership; Deborah and Huldah among them. Daughters of priests are remembered as great women also, Asenath and Zipporah among them. However not a single women can be identified as a priest in  the Bible or Holy Scriptures. It is clear then that women have never been priests and that the nature of the priesthood from the beginning has been a position executed only by men.

The so called “priestesses” of ancient Greece or other ancient nations were not priests at all. They were seers who pronounced oracles in a trace state, like shamans. Likewise, Shinto “priests” are also shamans as they deal with the spirits.

God has not changed the office of the priesthood. It survives in biblical communities that preserve aunthentic Judaism Teachings.When the priesthood is held high and priests live above contamination, the world is drawn to Messiah. This happens because there is only one Priesthood: the Messianic Priesthood. There is only one Priest: Yeshua the Messiah, and there is only one Blood, Messiah’s pleromic blood which is the life of the world. (Shaul) Paul expresses it this way:

“There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. There is one Lord, one Faith, one inmersion, and one God and father of all, over all, through all and within all” (Eph. 4:4-5).

HISTORY

First, we can say that the priesthood is verifiably one of the oldest religious offices in the world, traced back to at least 7000 B.C. It emerges out of the Afro-Asiatic civilization which, at its peak, extended from the Atlantic coast of modern Nigeria to the Indus River Valley.

The first priest mentioned in the Bible is Melchizedek who lived during the time of Abraham. The author of Hebrews tells us that Melchizedek is a type pointing to Yeshua as the true Form/Priest:

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Yeshua, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:13-20).

Melchizedek represents the Messianic priesthood, but he doesn’t represent the beginning of the priesthood. Cain and Abel acted as priests when they offered sacrifices in Genesis 4. This means also that the priesthood was not established by the Apostles, (first followers of Messiah) it existed long before them. The priesthood “is ranked among heavenly ordinances. And this is only right, for no man, no angel, no archangel, no other created power, but the Paraclete himself ordained this succession.

For instance the Brahmanas (Hindu Priest Manuals)  express the richness of this institution. The “priest” offered sacrifice at fire altars which they constructed according to geometry and at the proper seasons which they determined through astronomy. The Vedas ( Hindu belief)  also reveal the danger of a priestly order that becomes too powerful and self-serving, as happened also with the priests of Yeshua’s time. When the True Priest appeared among them, they were unable to recognize Him because their understanding of the office of the Priest had become corrupted.

From the dawn of time humans recognized that life is in the blood. They saw offspring born of water and the blood. They knew that the loss of blood could bring death. Killing animals in the hunt also meant life for the community. They sought ways to ensure that their dead entered life beyond the grave, especially their rulers who could intercede for them before the Deity.

This is why peoples around the world covered their dead rulers in red ochre dust as early as 80,000 years ago. This red dust is a sign pointing to the Pleromic “Blood of Jesus”.

Secondly on the position, rol and , place and participation of women in ministry,  is found in the  Torah,  that a woman’s monthly flow of blood put her regularly into a state of ritual defilement.  The key is found in an Old Testament text on the defilement by monthly periods is Leviticus 15,19-30.

But these instructions were made even more onerous and complicated in the rabbinical traditions that followed. They were meant to clarify why women could not be priest, not impose or shun them away from serve or participate in the congregation or ministries.  Man-made regulations or rabbinical traditions did not and have not help the purpose.  Priesthood before and after Temple times have become corrupted.  If women were not allowed to approach the altar, touch altar linen or sacred vessels, could not enter the congregation during menstruation or after childbirth, and so on, how could they ever imagine women presiding over any other activity?
It is undeniable, therefore, that their opposition to ‘women participation’ rested, to a great extent, on the prejudice that women were a ritual risk. It is clear that this social and cultural bias invalidated their judgment as to the suitability of women for other ministries.

Women could publicly pray and prophesy in the congregation (1 Cor. 11:1–16), while in a biblical class they could not teach or have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:11–14), since these were two essential functions of the Torah instructor or rabbi. Nor could women publicly question or challenge the teaching of the rabbi (1 Cor. 14:34–38). but women do play an active role in the Congregation today and that in the age of the apostles there were orders of educators, leadership positions, widows, and deaconesses,(helpers) but that these women were not ordained, they were not ‘rabbi , priests or pastors’.

Women’s ordination ( priests or pastors) is rejected, not because it was incompatible with Jewish culture, but because it was incompatible with bibilical faith. Thus, together with biblical declarations, the teaching of G-d on this issue formed the instructions of the Congregation that taught that priestly ordination was reserved to men. Throughout medieval times and even up until the present day, this teaching has not changed.

 WHY WOMEN WERE NOT AND SHOULD NOT BE ‘PRIEST’or RABBI( CHANGING G-D’S ORDER)

God planted eternity in our hearts so we innately know that Messiah’s Blood is not only redemptive, but also the source of our life. This is what St. Paul calls “the mystery of Messiah”. As his second missionary journey, (Saul)Paul preached that, “in Him [Yeshua Messiah] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

When G-d ordained His first priests, nearly 4,000 years ago. Virtually all the pagan religions of His day had priestesses, and it would have been entirely normal and natural for Him to choose women for this task. Later on or we see that Messiah’s time, he had, moreover, a number of excellent “potential candidates”, from His own Mother, who accompanied Him at His first miracle and stood with Him as He suffered on the cross, to Mary Magdalene or the women of Bethany. Instead, He  chose only men, and He remained immovable on this, continuing right to the end to exhort and train them all.

It is clear from scripture what God’s plan is vis-à-vis men and women, and husbands and wives.  It is good that women are able to get education, live on their own, have and manage their own money and are thinking for themselves.  But in the end, will we find that it was best not to ignore God’s stated plan.

Much what is wrong with society today has to do with women falling for the lies that the feminists, abortionists and New Agers had brought on society more and more since  the 1970’s.

“Liberal congregation elites, presiding over dwindling congregations are making decisions without regard for historic biblical teaching or a wider consensus among the congregation’s membership – The Bible rejects the suggestion that sexual identity is merely a state of mind, or a preference. Gender and physicality in biblical teaching are intrinsically linked to God’s order of creation. … Gender is not a choice but a reality.”

Woman who become priestesses ( rabbi or pastors), and women who kill their babies,(abortion) are basically rebelling against God.  God foretold of this “end time” rebellion, when He inspired Saul (Paul ) to write: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;..”  It is impossible for someone who is in rebellion against God and His Word.

Yeshua thoroughly trashed the hypocrisies of the Jewish religious establishment but  at no time in Jewish history were women involved in Jewish liturgical practices or being a rabbi  except at the time of the ‘Abomination of Desolation’; and then they were all over the altar. (commentary on 2 Mac. 6:4). 

It is not a matter of women being equal to a man or not. We all know that in the eyes of God, all humans are equal. The Apostle Saul (Paul) knew better then anybody in antiquity that male and female were equal in Messiah Yeshua. It was he, after all, who said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Saul (Paul) saw nothing inferior about women’s dignity.

There is a place and rol  for women in the Congregation and ministry, but no matter what she calls herself, it cannot be a priest of  Yeshua Messiah.  Anybody man and women can do leadership, teaching, preaching, or administrative work. But that is not the essence of the priesthood. Hulda was a leader yet she is never call a ‘priest’ or rabbi. The women with Yeshua neither.

The issue really is the nature of the Sacrament, just as it is the nature of following God’s Word; no matter how mystical it may be.  What is a Sacrament?It is a thing (act) that not only does what it symbolizes but symbolizes what it does.   The biblical priesthood is of a sacramental nature: the priest is a sign, the supernatural effectiveness of which comes from the ordination received; and gender is important here. A sign must be perceptible and which the faithful must be able to recognize with ease. 

BIBLE TEXT THAT HAS BEEN MISUSED

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
—1 Timothy 2:11, NIV

The key here is the word learn.

We must first remember that Saul (Paul)  addressed this epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2), not to the congregations of all ages, so we must realize that we are reading this over Timothy’s shoulders. We have to take Timothy’s situation into account before we apply what we read. Our interpretation isn’t scriptural if we ignore the scripture in 1 Timothy 1:2!

Saul (Paul’s letters)  to Timothy were written 1,900 years before Shabbat school was invented. The only religious instruction that existed was for new converts or for religious candidates. In contrast to  Rabbinical or Talmudic Judaism and the pagan religions of that day, the Congregation kept including women in those classes. (In Orthodox Judaism, even today, women are not bound by the requirement for daily prayers.) We know that women attended classes, not just because Phoebe is mentioned as a deacon (helper) in the Greek of Romans 16:1, but also because the ancient ecumenical councils regulated female deacons—and in those days, deacons were considered an order of the congregation. The duties of female deacons were to instruct female students and immerse them.

Incidentally, there is no such word as deaconess(helper) in Greek. The Greek text says that Phoebe was a deacon (helper). In the ancient Congregation, as in the historic congregations today, deacons are like ordained clergy; so this has important ramifications.

At the time this epistle was written, the home based synagogues was the only religious institution that gave women religious instruction and training. In those days, women could not vote, but neither could the bulk of the population. But we know from the story of Lydia in Acts 16 that women could own businesses on their own. Throughout the books of  Acts, Luke depicts Saul (Paul )as seeking out “influential women” as converts. We can corroborate this with archaeology. Recent excavations of the town a suburb of Pompeii revealed that the largest building in town was a businesswomen’s club. The archaeologists also turned up political petitions that had women’s signatures prominently at the top.

The problem must have been with the theology classes, not the deacon’s training, because women being trained for the diaconate would know what to expect. So in the theology class, influential businesswomen were being put into religious instruction, a novel situation for them, and you can imagine how unruly they would be if they were used to being in charge. This reminds me of the time when my parents lived in a retirement community where the men all used to be high corporate mucky-mucks. Every time they had a condominium meeting, all the men were trying to be in charge at the same time! It was a mess, and I imagine that is the situation that Timothy faced with the women.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.
—1 Timothy 2:12, NIV

Saul (Paul) could just as easily have said, “Do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man,” but he didn’t. So we have to take this as a description of Saul (Paul)’s  practice, not as an instruction, not a commandment, not a law. It is true that in those days, the female deacons instructed the female religious class and male deacons instructed male religious class. It is also a historic fact that female deacons (helpers) in the ancient congregation did not have any duties over men. It was not the practice of the congregation to mix the sexes in the classes. This reflected the culture of the day, in which the sexes were generally kept separate for such things. In the traditional synagogues of those days, men and women were segregated from each other, but apparently the home based synagogues  didn’t have a women’s gallery.  Remembers believers used to meet to learn, sing and share in houses. In 1 Corinthians 14:35 we read that women were able to disrupt the service by asking men questions. So Saul (Paul)  is simply saying that he complies with the current social customs by keeping men and women separate for a small and intimate gathering like a religious class, to forestall even the appearance of hanky-panky. However, this is not stated as a rule,not a law  as I pointed out, but only as a description of Saul (Paul) ’s practice. So at most we can take this as permission to keep men and women separate, not as a commandment to do so. We don’t live or abide by man-made twisted traditions or cultural custom we should abide for what it’s biblical. Rules from Orthodox/Talmudic  Judaism are not applicable.

There are some other interesting implications here. The fact that Saul (Paul) says, in effect, “this is what I do,” implies that other people did it differently and that Paul was recommending his way to address Timothy’s situation, without implying that the other approaches were invalid.

The fact that this issue came up at all is interesting. At the Congregation’s renewal at Pentecost, Peter quoted this scripture:

In the last days, God says,
     I will pour out my spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
     your young men will see visions,
     your old men will dream dreams,
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
     and they will prophesy.
—Acts 2:17-18, NIV; quoting Joel 2:28-29

And Paul himself said,
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave no free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua ( Jesus Christ).
—Galatians 3:28, NIV

In these passages, we clearly see the Congregation struggling to express the sexual equality implicit in the gospel within the social customs of the day.

Paul is saying that the women who are students in a class must not disrupt the class and they must submit to the teacher—who, by the way, was a woman herself!  Read it by yourself……..Of course, all students must do that, but in this case the problem was with the women who were in a situation with which they were unaccustomed. Paul’s advice certainly does not mean that men can learn in rowdiness and insubordination! Men must learn in silence and submission as well, but Timothy obviously did not have a problem with the men’s classes, at least not at the time that Paul wrote this letter.

Confused, Lost, Ignorant, or what?  Read here

About Anni Orekh

Anni Orekh (which translated from Hebrew means: I m an editor (Publisher) it is the online pen-name of author and Managing Director of MD Enterprises.

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