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The Rebbe's Challenge: As Yet Unmet

It has been my great privilege to have taught at the Batsheva Summer program last year.

The purpose of this organization is to provide Jewish women with the highest level of Torah study

possible. This means no externally imposed limits on content or depth whatsoever—with access to the

resources to allow them to transcend any personally imposed limitations such as lack of prior

experience with particular texts.

The idea that every part of Torah, without exception, should be available for women to study is

something the Lubavitcher Rebbe articulated many times during his leadership. The Rebbe’s definitive

and ultimate statement on the topic is found in a sicha (talk) he personally reviewed and edited (Sefer

Hasichot 5750 V.II pp 455-459). This small work contains many crucial ideas, but the practical directives

are the matter most relevant here. They include the following:

1. Women are not merely permitted to study and all areas of Torah at this point in history, but

they are required and obligated to for two reasons:

a) To overcome the particular intellectual and spiritual challenges posed by the open and accessible nature of the world and all its ideas as a whole

b) To prepare the world for the era of Moshiach in which all (bar none) will attain the greatest possible perfection of knowledge. Since this -of course- includes women, we must prepare for Moshiach by “tasting” of it now.

2. As part of the mission of women as the foundation of the Jewish Home, and given the

challenges the Jewish home faces today, she must add to her role. It is no longer sufficient to

facilitate the Torah study of her children (even older ones, studying at a high level) and husband

– she must actively assist them in a real way, which demands proficiency at least to their level.

This is now an intrinsic part of the “domestic” role of the Jewish woman, the role of “Akeret


To be honest, we are far from universal attainment of this goal even within our own Chabad

community, let alone others. Batsheva Academy has begun the journey of getting us there.

We ask you to participate in our programs either by attending or providing the financial means

to enable us to make a reality of this call to action by the Rebbe that has languished unfulfilled


Thank you for becoming a part of this holy endeavor.

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe

Dean, Institute for American and Talmudic law

Co-Director, Chabad of Watertown

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