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Berachos 17


QUESTION: The Gemara says, "How do women merit [reward]? By bringing their children to the synagogues [to learn Chumash], and by sending their husbands to the study halls [to learn Mishnah] and waiting for them to return home."

From the Gemara it seems that without these meritorious deeds, women would not receive reward. Are there not many other Mitzvos that women fulfill?
Why do they not receive reward for those Mitzvos?


(a) The VILNA GA'ON cites the Gemara in Sotah (21a) that points out that the only way to merit permanent protection from suffering is by learning Torah. Mitzvos also serve as protection, but a Mitzvah only protects a person during the time that one is actually performing the Mitzvah. Torah protects a person all the time, even when he is not learning. The Gemara wants to know how women merit permanent protection if they have no obligation to learn Torah.

(b) The Gemara in Kesuvos (111b) states that anyone who is involved in the study of Torah, the Torah will revive him (when the resurrection occurs). The Gemara wants to know how women will merit to be resurrected if they are not involved in Torah study. The Gemara answers that they merit resurrection in reward for their children's Torah and their husbands' Torah.

RAV YAKOV HOMNICK (in Sefer MARBEH SHALOM, #7) points out that there are two types of rewards. One type of reward is a specific reward that a person receives for performing specific Mitzvos. A second type of reward is a general reward that a person receives for the level of completion that he reached in this world. This is the type of reward referred to in the Gemara in Kesuvos, mentioned above, which a person receives in the World to Come, and it is only attained in the merit of Torah. Women certainly receive reward for the Mitzvos that they do. Our Gemara wants to know how women receive reward for reaching a state of completion, when such a state is only attained through studying Torah. The Gemara answers that by making sure that their children and their husbands study Torah, women reach their state of completion. In fact, their reward is even greater than the man's, as the previous Gemara states, "Greater is the assurance that the Holy One promised to women than to men," because it is the women who assure the continuity of Torah study in the world, as our Gemara describes.


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