Expanding the Palace of Torah

Orthodoxy and Feminism

Tamar Ross

Expanding the Palace of Torah offers a broad philosophical overview of the challenges the women’s revolution poses to Orthodox Judaism, as well as Orthodox Judaism’s response to those challenges. Writing as an insider—herself an Orthodox Jew—Tamar Ross confronts the radical feminist critique of Judaism as a religion deeply entrenched in patriarchy. Surprisingly, very little work has been done in this area, beyond exploring the leeway for ad hoc solutions to practical problems as they arise on the halakhic plane. In exposing the largely male-focused thrust of the rabbinic tradition and its biblical grounding, she sees this critique as posing a potential threat to the theological heart of traditional Judaism—the belief in divine revelation. This new edition brings this acclaimed and classic text back into print with a new essay by Tamar Ross which examines new developments in feminist thought since the book was first published in 2004.

Paper: $40 | E-book: $35
ISBN-13: 9781684580514
Pages: 360 | Size: 6.125 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: July 30, 2021

This may be one of the most important works to date in tracking the changes in Judaism over the past 2000 years.

Jewish Book World


  • Addressing the practical and the theological challenges that feminism poses to halakah, Ross offers a brilliant study, informed not only by ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish sources, but also by postmodernism, the history of feminism, process theology, mysticism, and legal theory . . . She finds the key to change in women's increasing knowledge of halakah, whose meaning women can transform by weaving a different narrative . . . Highly recommended.

  • [Expanding the Palace of Torah is] a brave, in many ways radical and essential, attempt to deal with the problem seriously, and is a model of erudition and scholarship… Her book offers a powerful alternate theological vision that challenges some of the basic assumptions of the Orthodox Jewish world, and gives a glimpse of just how revolutionary feminism could be to Orthodoxy.

  • Ross' conjoining of the patriarchal past with a feminist future in the single unfolding process of divine revelation is an unprecedented, and I would suggest brilliant, move in the world of Jewish feminism... this book is ground-breaking in the field of theology (Jewish, feminist and otherwise). It is beautifully written, masterfully insightful in its analysis of earlier feminist attempts to resolve a similar set of challenges and subtly brilliant in the presentation of its own solutions. I simply cannot say enough positive things about it. It is thought-provoking and sophisticated. I have no doubt that this book will become a standard textbook for courses on Jewish feminism.

    Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues
  • In this exceptional book, Ross brings together philosophical, theological, legal, and feminist writings, presenting a many faceted critique of Jewish legal developments and an account of the latest thinking on problematic issues. Writing as a passionately engaged Orthodox Jew, her approach is a refreshing combination of the critical and the respectful, and her solutions to the problems she raises are both provocative and eloquent. Writing in a postmodernist vein, she offers a quantum leap in her complex yet trenchant perspective on the challenge posed by feminism to the concept of Revelation.

    Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg
    author of Genesis: the Beginning of Desire, winner of the National Jewish Book Award for nonfiction
  • This may be one of the most important works to date in tracking the changes in Judaism over the past 2000 years.

    Jewish Book World

About the Author

Tamar Ross

Prof. Tamar Ross is professor emerita of the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Bar Ilan University. She continues to teach at Midreshet Lindenbaum. She received her Ph.D. from Hebrew University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard. She is the author of numerous critically acclaimed articles on concepts of God, revelation, religious epistemology, philosophy of halacha, the Musar movement, and the thought of Rabbi A. I. Kook.

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