Status of Women in the Time of the Mishnah or

Ban on Excessive Conversation with Women




… Don’t converse much with a woman. They said this concerning one’s own wife, all the more so with the wife of a colleague.”   (Avot 1:5)


Rabbi Yosi HaGalili [“HaGalili” means “the Galilean.”] was on the road and happened across Beruriah [Rabbi Hanina’s daughter]. He said to her, “Which route leads to Lod”? She said to him, “Stupid Galilean. Did not the sages say, ‘Don’t converse much with a woman’? You ought to have said, “Which to Lod?”   (B. Eruvin 53:)



There is a braita: Rabbi Meir [Rabbi Hanina ben Tredion’s son in law and Beruria’s husband] used to say, “A person is obligated to say three brachot each day, and they are: ‘that I was made an Israelite,’ ‘that I was not made a woman,’ ‘that I was not made an uncultured person.”   


Hermippus, in his Lives, refers to Thales what has been by some people reported of Socrates; for he recites that he used to say that he thanked fortune for three things: first of all, that he had been born a man and not a beast; secondly, that he was a man and not a woman; and thirdly, that he was a Greek and not a barbarian. 

(Diogenes Laertius (3rd century CE), Then Lives & Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, translated by C.D. Yonge)

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