Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Amnon Yitzchak: Why Women Shouldn't Drive (According to the Torah)

Sir, - Alongside the sober headlines concerning the outrageous murder of a chayal and the somber news about the negotiations with Iran, the Jerusalem Post is to be commended for providing some comic relief when it quotes Amnon Yitzchak's "Don't allow women to drive." Both this papal pronouncement and the arguments presented in its support border on the ludicrous.

Amnon Yitzchak concludes that women should not drive because we lack any knowledge of their being engaged as wagon drivers before wagons evolved into cars. Needless to say, we lack that same information about women being accountants, lawyers, doctors, plumbers, or university deans. Incidentally, that same lack of information relates to men as well, where we have no evidence in the past of men serving as pilots, truck-drivers, or bond traders.

On a more serious note, when Amnon Yitzchak attempts to back his abrasive pronouncement by arguing that women's driving exposes them to immodest behavior by bringing them into contact with men, I would like to call his attention to the fact that Moshe's wife Ziporah, Yitzchak's wife Rebecca, and Yaakov's wife Rachel were all met at wells, where the presence of male shepherds was most definitely noted.

The socio-economic realities of the modern era have engendered the need for women to be fully and actively engaged in the marketplace and in all aspects of commercial life. Haredi society also promotes this as wives are encouraged to be the bread-winners in order to support their husbands learning Torah in a Kollel.

Finally, modest behavior is an extremely important element in the standards of  Jewish values, but this depends on the deportment of the individual, male or female in whatever professional context they are engaged in, and does not preclude driving a car or a spacecraft. 

women driving airplane torah

Petach Tikva