In Maseches Shabbos, in between the perakim of Bameh Ishah and Bameh Beheimah, the Shabbos Shel Mi writes the following:

דרשינן סמוכים פ' במה בהמה ובמה אשה כל הקרב הקרב כי לא לחנם הלך זרזיר אצל עורב

It sounds misogynistic to me, but I'm sure I'm interpreting it wrong. Does anyone have an explanation for it?


The phrase "כל הקרב הקרב כי לא לחנם הלך זרזיר אצל עורב" is found in a couple places in Shas (Chullin 65a, Bava Kamma 92b) and can literally be translated as:

not for naught that the zarzir went to dwell with the crow, but because it is of the same species

ie- birds of a feather flock together.


It's very easy to see how this can be construed as sexist, misogynistic, and demeaning- "we're going to learn Shabbos laws about animals followed by women since 'birds of a feather flock together?!'"

This seems outrageous!


I think it has a more innocent meaning. Namely, it's comparing animals and women because we're learning Shabbos laws that pertain to one's household. Animals, women, kids, one's elder paents possessions- all these are part of one's household. So the verse can understood as: "since we discussed one area of the household, lets discuss another area of the household."


While it may be misconstrued (and may not make for the greatest line in today's climate) I think this line was said lightheartedly and not intending to offend.


The reference is the Gemara in Chulin (65a) which discusses that two seemingly different birds are of the same species (min), and they therefore are found near each other. The same thing applies here. In both chapters the laws are enumerated to prevent override biblical law. The woman, because of her very nature may be more susceptible to carrying in public domain, a biblical offense. The same applies to the animal. Its very nature may also cause certain biblical law to be easily broken, like the aforementioned as well as the requirement for the animal to rest on the sabbath.

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