“In reference to the obligation of women to learn Torah in general, which also relates to how our daughters should be educated:

Firstly, the Shluchan Aruch clearly states that women are obligated to be knowledgeable of all the laws that are applicable to them. For example, the laws of niddah, salting meat, etc. including all positive mitzvos which are not time bound, which they are obligated to fulfill just like men. This includes an large amount of the laws of the Torah. In addition, they are obligated to learn the mystical dimension of Torah as explained by Chassidic thought, which elaborates on the fundamental issues of faith in G-d, His unity, love of Him and fear of Him. This study is relevant to the fulfillment of the six constant commandments that every person is obligated to fulfill at every moment, which are relevant to men as well as women.  In addition, when it comes to Torah laws that are not necessarily applicable to women and to any ideas in Torah, a woman who learns these laws still receives merit for them and is obligated to say a blessing for learning Torah when she learns them.

Although the Mishna states that, “The sages instructed not to teach one’s daughter Torah, since most women do not have the mental focus for it.”, firstly, we find throughout Jewish history that there were many righteous women who were very learned in the Oral Law. This pattern is seen from the times of the Tannaim and continues throughout the following generations. The previous Rebbe records in his memoirs references to women in the Alter Rebbe’s family who were quite learned and the previous Rebbe himself educated his daughters in this way.

Most importantly, in recent generations, this principle can be applied to all Jewish women. In the past, there was no formal education for Jewish girls. They were educated in their homes by their mothers and grandmothers. However, in later generations, Jewish leaders established formal schooling for girls since they realized that it was necessary at the time. Since girls were anyways leaving their homes and being influenced by the outside world, it was necessary to create schools for them where they could get a proper education according to Torah values.

Applying this principle, it is clear that when it comes to learning the Oral Law, in addition to learning that laws that are applicable to them, since women are anyways studying on a sophisticated level, not only are they allowed to study the Oral Law, but they are obligated to do so. Not only should they learn the practical laws, but also the reasoning behind the laws, including the discussion and analysis within Torah, since it is human nature (for men and women alike) to derive more pleasure from this type of study. This will allow them to expand their talents and abilities within the spirit of the Torah. With the permission of modern Jewish leaders, Jewish girls schools should continue to teach all aspects of Torah, in addition to the laws that are immediately applicable to women…

This (movement towards advancing women’s education) is one of the great novelties of these later generations. Although the original reason for teaching women the Oral Law was because the generation was deteriorating, the practical outcome was positive, because it lead to an increase in Torah learning. The reason we merited to have an increase in Torah learning for women in recent generations, is because we are nearing the end of the exile when we are more focused on preparing for redemption when “In those days, there will be an increase in wisdom and knowledge”.

-Sefer Hasichos, Parshas Emor, 5750

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