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I've noticed that in Deuteronomy 31:19 and also Numbers 15:38 that only the 'sons' were included. Were these things not required for women?

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    In Hebrew (and many other languages) mixed gender groups are referred to in the masculine. English plural pronouns are all, it so happens, epicene.
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2021 at 18:30
  • Why was 'sons and daughters' used in Deuteronomy 32:19? Aug 27, 2021 at 18:37
  • Good question .
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2021 at 18:56
  • On the surface, Deuteronomy 32:19 uses more poetic "sons and daughters" because it is part of "The Song of Haazinu." However, the following commentaries explain the particular reason for using this unusual language: Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Rabbeinu Bahya, Haamek Davar, etc.
    – user17319
    Aug 27, 2021 at 21:13

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Your question is borne out of using an inaccurate translation. Hebrew word בני could be translated as either "sons", "children", or even "people of." This is a common translation error. Literal translation of Hebrew into English is impossible, and translation of individual words very often must be guided by the context.

Some examples of better translations of Deuteronomy 31:19:

The Koren Jerusalem Bible: "children of Israel"

1985 JPS Translation: "people of Israel"

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  • I'm not sure this is correct. Is "sons" necessarily male progeny in English? Like "Daughters of the Revolution" aren't literally children
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2021 at 21:37
  • So in this context woman can wear tzitzit? And what of Deuteronomy 16:16 implying that only men should take part? Aug 27, 2021 at 21:46
  • @Pabble women may still be exempt from tzitzit for a different reason (that's debated in the Talmud)
    – Double AA
    Aug 27, 2021 at 22:12
  • @Double AA - any examples of "sons" referring to both sexes in English?
    – user17319
    Aug 29, 2021 at 3:05

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