Birkat Kohanot? Priestess’ blessing at the Wall?

by Paula R. Stern
Arutz Sheva

The Women of the Wall are coming up with the provocation of the month, each time insisting on something else they think is their right. Recently, it was to decide that Birkat Hakohanim, the Priestly Blessing that, in contrast to a daily recitation in Israeli synagogues is a dramatic ceremony at the Wall on the first of the Intermediate Days of Passover (see photograph), should also be “Birkat Hakohanot” – blessing by female priestesses, whatever that is supposed to mean. Judaism did not have priestesses, ever. Idol worshipers did, often with accompanying licentiousness.

I am disgusted. I am outraged. A man is a man and a woman is a woman. Equal before G-d and man, but different. Neither should be slaves to the other. But, grow up. Stop trying to be what you are not. They have their mitzvot and we have ours. You don’t see men demanding the right to give birth. God made us different – thank God. Accept it. Be all you can be and stop trying to be something else!

You have no right to provoke, not at the Kotel. I am disgusted. You want to bless the Jewish people, Am Yisrael? So do I! I do it every week, every day – but unlike you, I don’t need to flaunt myself. God listens to every prayer…from the most modest and humble, whispered in the women’s section by a woman who gently rocks her infant and forgets which prayer she has just said, to the greatest cantor singing at the top of his lungs.

I do not for one minute believe that the prayer said by a harried mother holding one child while trying to calm another is of any less value than that of a man who stands tranquilly in a synagogue.

Your insecurities, your inability to accept the value of women – and I speak to women now, not to men – is YOUR hangup, your problem. Like the Jew who cannot let go of the ghetto, you cling to accusations of inequality as the greatest tallit of all. But we are free of whatever ghetto there might have been in society – if we have the courage to let it go. There are very few real injustices that we cannot fight against in the realm of male-female relationships. Today, women can protect themselves and do not need a man to support them in many cases. But just as they need us, we need them.

Just as a man can never give birth, can never know the wonders of carrying a child or nursing one, you can never be Kohanim. Accept it; get over it. You are, at most, daughters of Kohanim and that does give you a special status, but it does not include standing up in front of the world “blessing” Am Yisrael under a tallit and stretching your arms out. That is not for women – and I wish you were half as focused and concerned with all of the real mitzvot with which you have been tasked before rushing to grab the limelight once again.

Read the full article on Arutz Sheva.