Is there any women teachers in the Torah?

What do the Torah or Talmud say about women teachers?

  • Is this the same as asking can a woman be a Rabbi? – sabbahillel Feb 12 '16 at 16:43
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    Would Devorah (as shofet and neviyah) or Chulda Hanevviya fit into your question? – sabbahillel Feb 12 '16 at 16:45
  • @sabbahillel I don't think it's the same. – Double AA Feb 12 '16 at 17:19
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    I don't really understand how the word "teacher" is being used here. – rosends Feb 12 '16 at 17:38
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    You should really stop using "Torah" paired with "Talmud" in your questions without clarifying what you mean by it. See meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/3885 – msh210 Feb 12 '16 at 19:34

We see in Rashi to Parshas Lech Lecha (12:5) that Avraham and Sarah converted people (Avraham converted the men and Sarah the women) and that the Torah considers them as if they made them. I guess then that Sarah taught the women about Judaism.


The maid to Rebbe (Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi), the editor of the Mishna, is quoted in the Gemara as an authoritative source of Rebbe's opinions. Her significant action described in Kesubos 104a, where out of sympathy for Rebbe's extreme pain as he laid on his death bed, and seeing that the Angel of Death was denied access to Rebbe because of the prayers of his students outside his home, she distracted the students from their prayers for just a moment by dropping a potted plant from the roof. While they were distracted, the Angel of Death came into the house and took Rebbe. So great was Rebbe's maid's scholarship, that this story is cited as a proof that one can pray that the terminally ill should die. See Rabbeinu Nissim of Gerondi's commentary to Nedarim 40a which cites the story.

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    Your first sentence answers the question, but I don't see the relevance of the rest of your post. And can you cite your first sentence? (Where is she quoted?) – msh210 Feb 12 '16 at 19:31
  • @msh210 Alas, the exact citation of a gemara that quoted her, that I'm fairly certain I learned in Daf, has escaped me. In the case I have in mind, the students went to Rebbe's maid for an explanation to Rebbe's thinking. Lacking that, I went to a gemara that cited an action that she took that was considered authoritative. – Bruce James Feb 16 '16 at 16:10
  • @msh210 I also recall that Rav Moshe was asked whether women can me a mashgiach for a kosher-supervisory organization. I don't know the citation, but Rav Gedalia Anemer, zt'l, told my wife (who worked as a mashgiach for his vaad), that Rav Moshe answered, "who gives hasgacha to the kashrut of your own kitchen?" – Bruce James Feb 16 '16 at 16:14

Miriam was a prophetess. Shemot 15:20. Also, daughters of Zelophehad were allowed to inherit the land and property after their father (Bemidbar 27:7). So women have pretty much equal rights with men. Except the priesthood, perhaps. Devarim 4:1 or 4:10 states that Moses to "teach" them the words of the Torah. So we can assume that Miriam was also a teacher. Torah states that somewhat explicitly in Shemot 15:20-21.


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