Thursday, December 8, 2016

Has Chabad Quietly Revolutionized the Role of Rebbetzin?

by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

The orthodox world has been rigorously debating women’s roles in Jewish communal leadership and whether women can formally serve as rabbis. Meanwhile, though it has no stated progressive agenda or goals, Chabad has quietly revolutionized the role of women in leadership. Chabad rebbetzins may not have the title of rabbi, but in most cases they are involved in, and empowered with, setting the vision of their community and executing the leadership necessary to make it a reality as much as their husbands are. They design programming, lead meetings, teach, give support at lifecycle events, play very public roles and are often listed as co-directors, equal with their husbands.

At the opening I attended, it was the rebbetzin, not the rabbi, who served as the master of ceremonies. The rabbi gave a wonderful dvar Torah and speech, but it was the rebbetzin who welcomed hundreds of people, offered expressions of gratitude to the list of dignitaries, gave her own dvar Torah, and charged the community with a vision of where they are going next.

The contemporary Chabad rebbetzin is functioning in a significantly different way than her predecessors and many of her peers in the orthodox world. And yet, one doesn’t find people questioning her motives, her commitment to halachik norms, or her respect for rabbinic authority.

Read the whole article by clicking here


Neshama said...

Very sensible.

Mr. Cohen said...

Using computer software to search almost 1,000 Torah books, I did not find the words: Rebbitzin (רביצין) or HaRebbitzin or LeRebbitzin in any Torah book or Torah commentary that was written by the Rishonim or early Acharonim.

The earliest mentions of the word Rabbanit (רַבָּנִית) I found were in:
• Shelah HaKodesh by Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz born around 1565 CE and died 1630 CE
• Siftei Kohen by Rabbi Shabbetai Kohen, born in 1621 CE and died in 1662 CE.

Why Pray for Tzahal-IDF:

How to Pray for Tzahal-IDF:

Anonymous said...

As stated in the last paragraph, she adheres to the halachic norms; but is acting as a true help-mate to her Rabbi husband. This is very admirable and proper.
What a difference, l'havdil, to the revision of orthodoxy by the Open Orthodoxy movement which, literally, goes against halacha and mesorah and with every passing few months and in the last few years, has further descended down that slippery slope. It is really part of the Reform movement. So, a big yasher koach to the fine Rebbitzens of Lubavitch for their intelligence and leadership in the proper way!

Devorah said...

Anonymous [unpublished comment] - no-one said they are serving as a ''Rav'' - as far as I am aware, a Rav is a dayan [on a Beth Din].

Rabbi DM your comment is full of lashon hara, and off-topic.