Mothers of Israel: Why the Rabbis Adopted a Matrilineal Principle

Susan Sorek


The subject of why the Rabbis adopted a matrilineal principle is the subject of much debate; as yet no clear answer to this question has been put forward. Indeed there may not be one single factor involved in the Rabbis change to matrilineal descent but a variety of influences that reflected the social and economic reasons of the period in question. This article offers one possible explanation, encompassing the ideology of hesed, which was an attribute specific to women, and an ideology, which was of paramount importance in the salvationist aspect of post Temple Palestine.

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