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Thursday, September 10, 2009

All men are created equal?

Is this a Torah value?

It seems that the answer is yes and no.

The Mishna in Horiyos (31a) states that for life and death situations a man comes before a woman. The next Mishna then continues the hierarchy, a Kohen is before a Levi, a Levi before a Yisrael, a Yisrael before a mamzer etc.

Interestingly enough, the Gemara explains how the Mishna knew that a Kohen is before a Levi etc. based on either pesukim or sevara. The one relationship that the Gemara doesn't explain is a man ahead of a woman. The Rambam in the peirush hamishnayos says that a man has more kedusha because he has more mitzvos. It would seem that for all of the others the kedusha is the same as they are חייב in basically the same mitzvos.

However, the Mishna has 1 very big caveat, that they are all equal בחכמה. If not, then a ממזר ת"ח comes before a Kohen Gadol עם הארץ.

What comes out is that yes, the Torah has a hierarchy, all men are not created equal, but, anyone can jump the hierarchy through his own efforts in Torah.

1 Comments:

At 7:49 AM, Blogger zdub said...

anyone can jump the hierarchy through his own efforts in Torah.

The operational word being "his" as apparently women are always at the bottom of the heap.

 

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