“Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Land,” an essay on the portion Behar by then rabbinical students Sharon Brous and Jill Hammer,* includes a section entitled “The meaning of Ge’ulah for feminists.” (See p. 242ff in The Women’s Torah Commentary.*) They ask Jews to consider their responsibility to help free agunot, women chained to marriage by husbands who refuse them divorce; women bound by addiction; women “enslaved by society’s views of their roles and bodies”; and women forced into prostitution or sold into slavery.
“This parashah reminds us how much our kinfolk need us to further their redemption,” Brous and Hammer write.
To learn more about agunot and related advocacy, visit the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance advocacy pages.
To learn more about modern slavery and what can be done about it, visit Not for Sale and Kvod Habriot — the Jewish Human Rights network.
*Rabbi Sharon Brous has since founded Ikar, a congregation dedicated to “the intersection of spirituality and social justice.” Rabbi Jill Hammer has gone on to create Tel Shemesh, an “earth-based” Jewish community, and Kohenet, the Hebrew Priestess Institute.
** Please see Source Materials for full citation and additional information.
Click on the “WeeklyTorah” tag for more resources on the weekly portion throughout the year, or on a portion name for parashah-specific notes. (The series began with Numbers; posts have been developed week-by-week through Leviticus.) You can also zero-in on particular types of “Opening the Book” posts by clicking Language and Translation, Something to Notice, a Path to Follow, or Great Source in the tag cloud.
The “Opening the Book” series is presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group pursuing spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.