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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

I am a Woman. I am.

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

As is my practice, I compose a poem for each of the completion of tractates of Talmud. On July 8th we began the study of this Masechet, which is often called SHAS KATAN, a miniature version of the entire Talmud. Indeed, Masechet Ketubot discusses far more than marriage contracts. As I am beginning to learn after almost three years of study, the Rabbis engage in a wide range of topics on each and every Daf. They do not stick to the straight and narrow! Contracts, obligations, relationships, sex, advice to live by and case studies grace the pages of this 112 -page Masechet.

Trying to find one idea to focus on for a poem for each Masechet is like finding a needle in a haystack. I could have as easily thought about writing about contractual obligations or breast feeding or why we should live in Israel. Instead, this poem/list is one that covers how a woman is regarded in Masechet Ketubot. This poem/list It is not definitive and it might subjective, but for me it is a time to reflect on the many walks where I listened to Daf Yomi podcasts. The result of this reflection is a confusing array of definitions. The bottom line for me is that women were not independent. They were provided for by their fathers until they wed and at that point they were provided for by their husbands. Masechet Ketubot contains the fine details of what this might mean over the course of a lifetime, plus the multiple exceptions to multiple rules.

As my teachers say, "The Daf doesn't wait." We will begin Masechet Nedarim tomorrow and we will begin to learn a new set of vocabulary, hear a new set of stories and begin to learn about why and how vows are so important. If you are ready to begin that journey, please let me know and I will get you started!

With a toast to continued learning!



I Am.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am debated,




I am a woman.

I am my face,

my hair,

my breasts,

my curves and canals,

my hips,

my strong hands,

my pared fingernails,

my feet.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am a virgin.

I am not.

I am a girl.

I am gender undefined.

I am a woman.

I am a sister.

I am a daughter.

I am an orphan.

I am a stepchild.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

I am a caregiver.

I am a lover.

I am a worker.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am a woman,

I am owned.














I am a subject

I am an object.

I am a case in law.

I am a ward of the court.

I am asked.

I am answered.

I am an owner of a Ketubah.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am fed.

I am provided for.

I am worth 200 dinar.

I am worth 100 dinar.

I am worth it.

I am a giver.

I am a taker.

I am my possessions.

I am property owner.

I am property.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am a woman.

I am 3 years old.

I am 93 years old.

I am all the ages in between.

I am a K'tanah

I am a N'aarah.

I am an Arusa.

I am a Kallah.

I am a Nidah.

I am N'suah.

I am M'vugeret.

I am divorced.

I am a Chalutza.

I am childless.

I am a widow.

I am an Agunah.

I am waiting.

I am waiting.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am rich.

I am poor.

I am protected.

I am unprotected.

I am a woman.

I am captured.

I am damaged.

I am believed.

I am doubted.

I am a renegade

I am faithful.

I am suspected.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am a first wife.

I am a second wife.

I am a third wife.

I am a fourth wife.

I am a woman.

I am feared.

I am fearful.

I am strong.

I am vulnerable.

I am a woman.

I am to be taken seriously.

I am to be treated fairly.

I am to be considered.

I am a woman.

I am.

I am a woman.

I am worthy.

I am a woman

I am beautiful

I am.

אם אין אני לי מי לי

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? משנה אבות א׳:י״ד

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