Picture a typical, Christian church with the men and women standing together, boyfriends with their girlfriends, husbands with their wives, single men sitting in close proximity with single girls. And the women are typically wearing tight-fitting pants that somehow are able to cover everything and reveal everything simultaneously.
Now picture an Orthodox synagogue, a sanctuary with a barrier going down the middle, men on one side, women on the other. And the women wear long skirts and high-collared blouses.
The reason for the difference is that Judaism values the theme of complementary asymmetry.
But isn't it sexist to discriminate against women in this way? Not at all. The simple truth is that men and women are different and so Judaism allows for that:
- Jewish women are not required to wear tzitzit because they don't get distracted as easily as men by fleshly desires.
- Jewish women are required to cover up more because immodesty engenders misogynous objectification of women.
- Jewish women don't have to pray at set times because their schedules are unpredictable. Ask yourself: would G-d rather have the woman breastfeed a crying newborn or finish a minchah prayer? Of course G-d is compassionate to the needs of the child.
So Judaism sees that not only must the natural order be maintained (men being the primary providers and protectors and women being the nurturers so that children are both provided for and well-nurtured) but the religious order must be maintained. Everything about Jewish home life, synagogue life, and national life has been tailored to the specific needs of men and women.
But, you may ask, did Paul feel this way? Yes! Observe how politically incorrect Paul is when he writes the following: