Halakhah doesn’t deal so much with rights as with obligations. Men have the “right” to be well and thoroughly taught, and to spend years learning Torah, because they are also obligated to learn; women are not. But a bold halakhic idea may change all that.
This week’s Torah reading, parashat Mattot-Masai, rounds off Sefer BaMidbar (Numbers). Among the narratives of battles, conquests, and politics, we can also discern a subtle shift in divine-human relations: only in the last few parshiot do human beings begin bringing questions and requests to change the law. What brought about this change?