Appreciating the Torah’s Separation of the Sexes

This week I had what I like to call a “Mi Kiamcho Yisroel Moment.” It came upon me as I was reading through a new book called “The Girls Who Went Away.” As you probably already guessed this book is no sefer. Its not put out by Artscroll or Feldheim. In fact it’s the kind of story the frum press wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, but nevertheless, reading it has given me a gevaldige hizuk in a strange sort of back handed way.

“Girls” is an an exquisitely researched journalistic account of the life stories of thousands of women who fell pregnant during their teens, and in the years before Roe v. Wade were coaxed or even coerced to give up their newborn offspring for adoption. The book details the trauma these girls, in some cases they were as young as fourteen, endured. Most of these girls were sent away from home because back in the fifties and sixties the shame of having a pregnant teenager around the house was to great for the family to endure. Then after a stay in a home for unwed mothers, where the girls were at times forced to adopt assumed names to “protect’ their anonymity, the girls were sent to the hospital alone and then forced to relinquish their babies who they were not even encouraged to cuddle, “so they wouldn’t grow attached,’ the social workers told them. After that experience, which of course was not to be mentioned, the girls were expected to reintegrate into society, to finish school, get married and start life on the proper footing. Needless to say more than a few had a tough time. Some fell into depression, others used drugs and alcohol to numb their psychic pain. In some cases the mothers reunited with their offspring after decades of separation; in others not.

Now the subtext of the books author is fairly obvious. Look how far we’ve evolved as a society. We now permit open access to contraception, sex education, legal abortion on demand. No longer do women have to endure this kind of suffering. We’ve solved it, but of course we know this isn’t true. If the Torah has one enduring message—of course is has many, it is that unregulated sex, sex without commitment leads to pain and in some cases (like the Sotah) to death. Our Torah is a Torah of life. Vechai bahem, is the message of our mitzos and as such the Torah erects a high fence, topped with barbed wire around the sexual drive. A dress code to minimize unwanted attractions, separation of the sexes in education, in prayer, for casual socializing, all of these are designed to eliminate the tragic scenarios described in ‘The Girls who Went Away.”

Sometimes it seems that we go off the deep end, expecting our girls to cover their elbows, knees, and toes, banning popular literature and music but all this is to protect that which Judaism designates as most sacred—an undisturbed clean relationship between husband and wife, a couple who stand under the Huppah, virgins both without the skeletons of a hundred failed relationships rattling around in their brains.

If there was any one reason why I chose to adopt an ultra orthodox lifestyle it was this. To live in a society where there were no cocktail parties, not even the “kosher “ cocktail parties (sans drinks) called kiddushes and simchas that occur regularly in certain circles where the separation between the sexes is disregarded. I wanted to raise my kids in an atmosphere that was free from the lewd sexuality that permeates the media, without Bratz dolls and Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce and Brittany Spears.

This is how we protect our families, through these fences which sometimes seem anachronistic and excessively high. And we’re succeeding. Every virginal Bais Yaakov girl that standing under the Huppa is a walking miracle and there are many, so many in fact that we don’t seem to take a deep breath and whisper a prayer of thanks to the Almighty whose protection made this possible.

I wouldn’t tell all of you to click onto Amazon and order the Girls who Went Away, but sometimes looking outside, observing how the other half live, or fail to live can give us some much needed perspective on just how lucky we are.

Now what does this have to do with Beyond BT? Nothing; none of the cases histories detailed in the book were about Jewish women but, wait, that is exactly the point. None of these women were Jewish, and certainly not Torah observant.

Originally Published April 7, 2008

41 comments on “Appreciating the Torah’s Separation of the Sexes

  1. I read The Girls Who Went Away over the course of a weekend, many years ago. Anxious Ima, you mentioned that none of the girls/young women in the book were Jewish. That is not accurate. I vividly recall an extremely painful account by a young Jewish girl. Also, you are COMPLETELY disregarding the violence that has always taken place against young girls/women. (Of course we all know how women have been historically blamed for being raped.) I am not advocating teenage pregnancy or premarital sex for people under the age of 21. However, let’s not romanticize “the good old days.” They were not always so good. Of course we know that good fences make good neighbors. We just need to use good judgment and common sense in determining how high we wish to erect the fence.

  2. And to all opposite-gender-friendly commenters,
    What about אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה, באשתו אמרו קל וחומר באשת חברו?

    read the mefarshim. (and bear in mind that abarbanel often takes an “odd” point of view. (meant with respect. we don’t pasken that kol diburah erva)

  3. Now this is the BBT I love! Back to form with healthy give & take – a mechaya!

    Charley Hall,
    (Co-ed orthodox schools have a very long history in America, dating back at least to the early 19th century, and possibly to colonial times.)
    Well, maybe this explains the unglorious history of American Jewry before those fence builders came on the scene.

    Michoel,
    Mot only Satmar, but all ultra-frum Chassidish circles like Skver, Vizhnitz, Pupa, etc. hold to this high standard of tznius. In fact, the Mishna Berura paskens that a 3 year old girl should be dressed in full tznius attire. Yep, that’s the Chofetz Chayim.

    And to all opposite-gender-friendly commenters,
    What about אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה, באשתו אמרו קל וחומר באשת חברו?

  4. yoni,
    I don’t understand what you are hocking about. A very great deal of our observances are not stated explicitly in Shulchan Aruch and are clearly chumros. In tznius, kashrus, esrogim etc. And this is true even in modern orthodox circles. So what? Can it be true that the Satmar Rebbe held that girls of 3 years old should were skirts below the knees and long sleeves? Would you then call him also an ignor…?

    As surrounding society changes, and as Orthodox society changes, g’dolim come to new understandings for the new times.

  5. this thread is exactly why I think that even haezer 21 and 22 desperately need to be traslated honestly, both the tur with the bais yosef and bayis chadash, and the shulchan aruch and priciple nossei keilim.

    Everytime I read about these issues it makes me cringe how little even major rabbis actualy know about those simanim. (an honest study of it should be required for every yeshiva bochur and bais yaakov maidel when they turn about 16 or 17.) (sadly I think that siman is exactly why the roshei yeshivot flip when bochurim are learning even haezer, there is nothing in it that isn’t in seder nashim, and it is a good bit more tame, and if you’re studying nashim anyway why not learn the final halacha?)

    and no, kalus rosh does not g-d forbid constitute mixing of the sexes according to any classical source, if it did it wouldn’t make sense in the context and manner in which it is used.

    Rather it means levity, jesting, making rude jokes, etc.

    THe above mentioned story about reb zonenfeld can’t be true because if it was he was a total ignoramous. (c”v!) at least for ashkenazim there is nothing at all wrong with this, not even an issur to be matir with “kol leshaim shemayim” (at least if you care to follow shulchan aruch, instead of making up ad hoc chumros.)

  6. Albany Jew–I think Charlie is talking about the American frum Jewish population, not the entire American Jewish population (which is just under 2% of the total population). The frum population makes up somewhere between 10-15% of the total Jewish-American population, which, if my math is correct, is about .2% to .3% of the American population as a whole.

  7. We are certainly small but not that small!! It is probably closer to a full 2 percent.

  8. Charnie,

    I think you may be correct regarding the change in acceptability of unmarried moms. Most of those teen moms in the 1950s were married by the time of the birth while today the “shotgun wedding” is long forgotten. But I’m not sure such is the path to stable, nurturing families. And in any case, it is easy to forget that there is nothing in the Noachide laws to prohibit premarital sex for non-Jews.

    Regarding couples getting married, I don’t know how to define the population, but I just checked the National Center for Health Statistics and they report 36.9% of births are to unmarried mothers. And we frum Jews are only about 0.2% of the US population so we don’t contribute much to any statistic.

  9. RC:
    If your child persisted in climbing into yours – and other men’s – laps, despite negative instruction and social feedback – wouldn’t you wonder why, and perhaps make an effort to be more demonstrative if you thought your child needed it?

  10. “Or was his affection abruptly withdrawn based on a halachic opinion of what is appropriate (as I have seen in several cases)?”

    Ben David, that’s a new one to me. Different people express their sentiments in different ways. My mother, whom I loved dearly and with whom I had an excellent relationship, never kissed me. [Well, she would come into my room at night and give me a kiss when I was sleeping — or when she thought I was (I was usually listening to a ball game under the covers).] It wasn’t any sort of chumra or tznius issue on her part; it just wasn’t her way to be overtly affectionate. After my oldest was born (and we waited a long time for her), I didn’t kiss in her public either. Again, it had nothing to do with tznius; I just didn’t feel comfortable expressing my affection in front of other people, probably because my parents hadn’t. By the time my next daughter was born, though, I had gotten over it, and I can safely say that my children do not suffer from a lack of overt signs of affection from me. But I have never heard of any halachah or even chumra that does not allow kissing one’s children of the opposite sex.

  11. Charlie (#19), while you’re correct about the period of time that this book discusses, my point is that in the past 20+ years, we have seen a total flip-flop of what’s morally acceptable vis a vis the subject covered in this book. During the infamous ’60’s, while premarital relations were becoming a norm amongst some, society in general still looked upon such acts as immoral. However, the difference now is that not only doesn’t anyone bat an eyelash about babies being born out of wedlock, but it’s actually become the norm! Recently I read that only about 1/3 of all couples get married. I think we frum Jews are likely a big chunk of that figure! Here’s a very unscientific study. I work in a multi-ethnic, middle class environment. I’m continually going to weddings, while they are a rare occurance among my coworkers. But it’s not at all rare of young ladies here to have babies even though they’re not married. Scientific, no, reality based, yes.

    MiriamP, I hope you can “chill out” about your daughter. You know how kids (all kids) are – you tell them not to eat the cookies in the cookie jar, and those being the most tempting to them.

  12. Miriam P wrote:
    I’m having the hardest time convincing my 8.5 year old that she’s too old to hang on our male guests… and I (supposedly) made her stop at 6! But she really drapes herself on them, if not actually climbing on a lap. It’s disturbing to me when she does it to me, and completely inappropriate with our grown male guests.
    – – – – – – – – – –
    Why do you think she does it?

    Is her father satisying her need for male approval and love?

    Or was his affection abruptly withdrawn based on a halachic opinion of what is appropriate (as I have seen in several cases)?

    Miriam, I know that I know nothing of your situation, and I’m not really directing this larely rhetorical question at you, personally.

    But I know what I’ve seen.

    I feel very strongly that this is not teaching one’s children tznius. It’s teaching one’s children that Hashem doesn’t care about them, and that His Torah is arbitrary and indifferent to human needs.

    My wife kisses our 19-year-old haredi son, and if I had a daughter I’d do the same.

    Tznius is about how to live in a community – like any mitzvah, it should not be humra’d into something unlivable, something that destroys community.

  13. Perhaps he wasn’t upset so much at his friend’s not seeing anything wrong with it but with his own apparent failure to teach his daughter that she shouldn’t sit on men’s laps? I could see that leading to his fasting.

    I don’t know, I’m having the hardest time convincing my 8.5 year old that she’s too old to hang on our male guests… and I (supposedly) made her stop at 6! But she really drapes herself on them, if not actually climbing on a lap. It’s disturbing to me when she does it to me, and completely inappropriate with our grown male guests.

  14. Some thoughts:

    1. It appears that, at least biologically, one is ready for marriage/intimate relations in the mid-teen years. The Mishna says that at 18 one should go to the Chuppah. The gemara quotes one Amora who stated that he married at 16, and had he married at 14 he would have said, “Satan an arrow in your eye.”

    In our world, few are ready to marry that young, both emotionally and financially. We should appreciate, however, that the modern trend to marry later conflicts with the biological maturity in the mid-teen years.

    Or, put differently, the teen years may be so difficult precisely because the biological and emotional clocks are not in sink.

    2. The mixing of the sexes is considered by the classical sources to be Kalus Rosh. While in some circumstances that is forbidden (e.g. in a shul) in others, while not strictly forbidden, it is frowned upon by the Torah.

    Some groups in klal yisroel are stricter than others. I think it is unseemly for those who are loose in this regard to criticise the stricter side as crazy or repressed or whatever other perjoratives you care to throw.

    Like it or not, there is often a sexual tension where there is a mixing of the sexes. To deride those who seek to avoid this and increase their level of holiness is simply uncalled for.

    And there is a big difference between mized kiddushes and inviting over a couple or two (along with children) for a Shabbos meal. That’s common sense.

    3. Generally, these matters are not issues to be discussed publicly — ein dorshin be arayos bi shlosha. Ideally, and traditionally, they individual discussed these issues with parents as they were maturing and then as they were prepared for marriage.

    This is one of those areas that aseh lekha rav is most important — especially for BTs.

  15. Ron –

    As far as the story about Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld, I will say that (single, in my 20’s) I was a guest in someone’s home, and their 6 YO wanted to come sit in my lap. *I* felt uncomfortable because 6 is generally a bit old as kids go for snuggling in someone’s lap, and I wasn’t sure if his parents would object, for all that a 6YO boy is clearly below the age of relevance within halacha – the 3 for a girl, 9 for a boy thing. In that context, and in those times, I can understand a gadol not wanting his daughter over age 3 in a man’s lap.

    Just like curious kids eventually are old enough to understand that we don’t stare at those with obvious physical deformities or infirmities, they need to understand that other people’s bodies are their own – we don’t climb on a guest without explicit permission, we don’t play with people’s buttons, we don’t put our hands all over people’s bodies, period.

    And 6 is old enough to learn. DH (FFB) was actually surprised to learn that some chassidish bungalow colonies are only particular on girls wearing long sleeves once they turn 5 or 6. But that’s old enough for the girl to start learning and absorbing.

  16. To RC
    i have heard Rabbi’s translate the commandment of Lo Tinaf, the entire breadth of the spectrum- the more liberal ones-say No Incest-more to the middle say-No Adultery-more to the right say -No promiscuity & then throw in that the Gemara says “Avuzraya D’Arayos ” ( ie. flirtation etc.) is even worse than Arayos-then u have the Shulchan Aruch saying that “Masturbation is the worst sin in the world. So go figure.
    Ben-David i liked your viewpoint

  17. My husbands Rosh Yeshiva requested that all men and women refer to each other as Mr. and Mrs. (unless you are married to them). This creates an element of tznius as well. I know that this is not for everyone, but just demonstrating that tznius is not only about the clothing and the shaitel, but our behavior as well.

    Unfortunately, I have heard of affairs between married couples, between friends and neighbors. It is important to be friendly but to also be separate and respectful at the same time.

  18. RC asked:
    What would you consider a fence WITH common sense?
    – – – – – – – – – – –
    … well, the original post equated after-shul kiddushes and mixed-seating simchas with
    cocktail parties and Jennifer Lopez clips.

    So where is the common sense in that?

    Maybe I shouldn’t invite my friends and neighbors for shabbos meals, because, after all, I will be sitting close by my friend’s wife, and hearing her speak! And since my friend is a charming and intellectually stimulating person – his wife might be, too!

    Perhaps male Yeshiva principals should not meet with their largely-female teaching staffs. And how exactly did those teachers get hired?

    This is nonsense.
    There is nothing in mainstream Halacha that dictates this sort of separation.

    The burden of Halacha in this matter – as in most other matters – is on the individual:

    – how they should present themselves in society
    – how they should act in society

    The woman has dressed modestly – now according to Halacha she can go where she wants, run a business or other public venue, and engage in communal affairs together with other members of the community, male or female. She need not cover her face or silence her (speaking) voice – because she has a right to express herself and voice her opinion.

    Which means she can talk to male and female members of her community at a kiddush – about a shared interest, or something related to school, or something related to a shul board they are on, or just something general like politics.

    And it’s not the same thing as a cocktail party or singles bar!

    It is MY problem if I am attracted to her, MY obligation to control myself.

    Halacha does not let me force her to wear a burqa or limit her activities to further remove the possibility that I will find her attractive – she has fulfilled her part in the social equation. Now the burden of tznius shifts to ME and my self-control.

    Jews pride themselves on having low rates of alchoholism – and one of the reasons given is that alchohol is not stigmatized, but introduced as a part of the family meal. The parents and community model the moderate, healthy use of wine and liquor – including personal responsibility and restraint.

    Those from other cultures that are intemperate are treated with clear scorn, disgust and pity.

    The same thing is true with sex – or should be.

    The notion that a force is so powerful that it must be locked away is a recipe for rebellion and rationalization – especially when we are talking about a natural, inborn drive that will sprout from within a young person’s soul no matter what we say – and should not be eradicated, but guided.

    So my “knitted kippah” friends sit around a table with our wives – taking care to sit with our spouse on one side, and a same-sex friend on the other.

    Because that is real life. Half the population is not your sex – and they are created in G-d’s image and entitled to go about their business.

    My kids learn more about real tznius by watching me interact with the checkout girls at the supermarket – and female neighbors at kiddushes and PTA meetings – than in all the fire-and-brimstone lectures about modesty.

  19. Charnie, How can you say that Anxious Ima was referring to the past 20 years? The book was referring to women who became pregnant before 1973. The birthrate for teens in the US peaked in 1957 and has declined dramatically since then (you can look it up!) so I’m not convinced that things have changed much since then. (In case anyone is wondering, the number of abortions is insufficient to explain the drop post-1973.)

    Jsded, I regularly attend a gemara shiur for men and women; usually it is led by a rabbi (male) but once when he was away one of his students (female) gave the shiur.

    Regarding strict segregation, the huge success of coeducational orthodox schools shows that the fences don’t have to be as high as the Berlin Wall. I know many frum couples raising frum kids who met as classmates in high school. (Co-ed orthodox schools have a very long history in America, dating back at least to the early 19th century, and possibly to colonial times.)

  20. Oh, but there are so many subtleties in this issue! I have not read this teshuva, but I have read the below in a book called Read and Remember by one Yirmiyahu Cohen, who seems to be a very interesting and learned chap. The book has very substantial haskamos and the premise of it is to tell “gedolim stories” that will help you remember particular pieces of gemara.

    Now try to figure this one — or, these two — out. He starts by quoting the gemara in Avoda Zara at 17a, regarding Ulla kissing his sisters…

    One Shabbos afternoon, two of Reb Moshe Feinstein’s grandchildren were playing with one of their friends in the lunchroom of Yeshiva Tifereth Jerusalem, where Reb Moshe and some others had gathered for the third meal of Shabbos. In the midst of their playing, the grandchildren ran to their grandfather with their little friend tagging along behind them. Reb Moshe gave each of his grandchildren a hug and a kiss and, without a moment’s hesitation, hugged and kissed the other child as well.[Footnote to extensive halachic discussion in Hebrew omitted.]

    Once Reb Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld’s daughter Leah, who was five or six years old, was late coming home. He went to look for her at the neighbors’ houses, and soon found her. When he came home with her, his wife saw on his face that he was very upset. He explained that he was upset because he had seen little Leah sitting on the neighbor’s lap. The neighbor, who was a religious man, had not seen anything wrong with this. He had simply been holding his own daughter on his lap, and Leah wanted to come up too and sit next to her friend. But Reb Yosef Chaim saw this as a breakdown of modesty. Every year after that, he would fast on that day. [Footnote to short halachic reference in Hebrew omitted.]

    Pp. 632-33 (emphasis added).

    I just don’t know what to do with this second story, which if true is really, really troubling to me.

  21. Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote a “famous” teshuva in which he paskened that a boy talking to a girl was either a Rabbinic prohibition or possibly a Biblical prohibition. That set the stage for a portion of the Orthodox worlds conduct.

  22. I have been thinking about this subject a lot lately. On the one hand, I think my children are growing up extremely healthy and with a strong self image, largely in part due to the lack of social/sexual pressure they would otherwise be experiencing in a mixed school setting. For this I am extremely grateful and respectful of the “wall of separation.”

    On the other hand, I see there is a shidduch crisis, and there is definitely a population of older boys doing inappropriate things in yeshiva dorms, as ffb/bt described — I have heard about this many times — and of course there are the relationships between yeshiva boys and girls conducted on the sly. It makes me wonder whether this wall is too high, or being carried beyond what is sensible.

    Is it REALLY so bad for a boy and girl to TALK to one another? Does talking really lead to relations? There is a healthiness in desiring contact with the opposite sex. I guess the problem is where do you draw the line. Teenagers can be quite obsessive about their relationships, even if the are just “talking” relationships.

    For those in the shidduch parsha, I think the time has come to take down the wall and come up with more relaxed ways for boys and girls to meet, such as mixed tables at weddings.

  23. FFB/BT, why isn’t that an argument for a wall to prevent transgressing the prohibition of homosexual relations?

    I suppose one response to that would be, “Then you’re building walls all over the place and no one can go anywhere!”

    But we start with the premise that the Torah prohibits certain things, right, and they at least are not negotiable? FFB/BT, I would like to know whether you accept this premise, for purposes of this discussion.

    Unfortunately much after that all becomes quite murky, because the commentators differ very starkly on what level of interaction and contact between unmarried persons of the opposite sex are Torah prohibitions, and which are the ones regarding which — at least in theory — you can “argue” about.

  24. i’ve discussed some of this stuff with Dr. Sorotzkin-(highly recommend his website “drsostzkin.com)parents who are comfortable with sexuality & realize that God wants us to celebrate it within the parameters of marriage. will not fly off the handle when their kids are interested in talking to girls, looking at pornography etc. if u over react with your kids in this area, they will never feel comfortable talking to you about anything relating to sexuality. ( that means if someone touches them inappropriately-they will not tell you-bec. they may feel guilty if they enjoyed it somewhat )on the other hand i have seen plenty of well adjusted yeshiva boys & girls- even amongst my own siblings- so ????

  25. Rabbi Angel, the rabbi emeritus of the founding (and Orthodox) congregation of the U.S. wrote,

    “When people talk about [abstinence], they talk about it in terms of touching and not touching, but they need to see it in the context of human development,” says Rabbi Angel. “People think that keeping young men and women apart in separate schools, camps, youth groups, will solve the problem, but the feelings are still there. They need to see each other as other human beings, and that requires a lot of thought.”

    http://newvoices.org/content/view/647/1/

  26. In most frum families, sex is not a topic that we educate our children about. In my daughter’s elementary school, they didn’t even teach the girls about menstuation (like they did in my day school in fifth grade). On the other hand, there is a tremendous focus on teaching about tznius and the ramifications of a slit and tight fitting clothes (too attracting). Girls and boys are very curious, and have many questions about reproduction. I am not saying there should be a class on sex education in the yeshiva schools but parents must make time and patiently answer the childrens questions on their level. In the high school years it is important for them to know that there are sexually transmitted diseases and how special it is to save yourself for your future spouse ONLY, and the holiness of marriage.

    It is very sad and I am sure that I am not shocking anyone in saying that there are nebach cases of girls and boys from frum homes who are engaging in sexual relations. Sometimes this results in a pregnancy, and I have heard there is a house that girls are sent to during their pregnancy so the family can cope, but I am not sure if it is still in existence. Yes, Anxious Ima, Boruch Hashem we are frum and to some extent sheltered from all the craziness out there, but we cannot make the mistake of thinking we are protected totally and just rest on our laurals. May Hashem protect us and all our children!

  27. “A perfect example would be the modern orthodox ideology. Their sense of halacha is really strong and durable.
    And very well balanced.”

    I dont think that i’m going out on a limb by saying that most people do not agree with this.

  28. “ffb/bt”, did you notice that other bochurim subject to the same Torah laws led healthy lives?

  29. from my own life story – grew up ffb- seperation of the sexes was taken to an extreme. i ended up in a same sex relationship in philly yeshiva ( only fondling – no penetration- that was a line no one would have dreamed of crossing. there was even a term for it “Yeshivishe faigele” ie. someone who is using members of the same sex for his outlet. bec. hanging out or talking or fooling around with girls- was too assur) Thank God-i became not religous-had non-Jewish girl friends & became sexually healthy.

  30. To me, what Anxious Ima is also pointing out is how society has disintergrated over the past 20 or so years. When I was growing up, if there was one “fear” that my mother instilled in me – it was that of ending up like those girls described in thr book referred to. Many times she reminded me of what a sin it was to have a baby out of wedlock. Her moral being “watch out”.

    It greatly disturbs me today to read the newspaper and see how this celebrity or other is expecting a baby and (sometimes) will be getting married to the father. And from the celebs, our society has the trickle down effect.

    So the fences are valuable – hopefully not with barbed wire. As I’ve often told my teenagers, a relationship between a husband and wife is a very beautiful thing – it’s when “other” sources handle this information that it becomes something else.

  31. My longwinded point was that if stuff were taught differently fences would be seen only in the picket sense around cute pastel colored cottages to keep the roses focused.
    A perfect example would be the modern orthodox ideology. Their sense of halacha is really strong and durable.
    And very well balanced.

    Also on a different note, I think that women who are serious should be allowed to learn with men in a Bais medrash. Some women learn much better with men.

  32. Sex, finally a topic I could relate to.
    For starters, I think your whole tall fences with barbed wire approach is so over the top I’m afraid it borders on fundamentally mindboggling.
    In fact if this legend is true, rashi himself was opposed to building fences in the name of excessive protection. I forgot the specifics involved.
    That no one is immune to seduction and everyone has a sex drive should be self understood.
    What’s not self understood always is the reasons for halacha and stuff especially when the reasons cited are so off base it borders on circuitious dishonesty with an intent to mold into mildew, squash into hogwash, crush into hush, ruin, control and obscure towards a cure.
    Hindsight is an annoying way of gaining insight into stuff.
    For instance if I opened up an intellectual inspiration for jewish learning association for discipline and directionl an in depth analysis of the sotah would be the first subject tackled using the text. F ollowed by kiddushin , niddah , mikvah , tamei/tahar , bruriah and Rashis daughters (some say his daughters wrote the commentary for nedarim)
    Neuroscience would also be given lots of attention.
    Instead of touting the benefits and pretend they are reasons its also good to study in depth the actual reasons and case studies the gemara and other sources use to analytically debate stuff. Everyone gets stuck on the actual definition of Tiflis and its back to storytelling and shabbas and kashrus studying and war stories for all.

  33. It’s hard to imagine that any fence would work nowadays without the positive motivation of all concerned to live a Torah lifestyle. Families, communities, schools, etc., all play a role in creating (or, regrettably, destroying) motivation.

  34. Loved your article. Just one caveat- high fences without common sense can be more deadly then no fences.

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