Genesis Rabbah 8:12
2 ב
ר' אלעזר בשם רבי יוסי בן זמרה וכבשוה וכבשה כתיב, האיש מצווה על פריה ורביה אבל לא האשה, ר' יוחנן בן ברוקה אומר אחד האיש ואחד האשה על שניהם הוא אומר ויברך אותם אלהים וגו', וכבשוה וכבשה כתיב, האיש כובש אשתו שלא תצא לשוק, שכל אשה שיוצאה לשוק סופה להכשל
Rabbi Eleazar in the name of Rabbi Yose ben Zimra [says: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and] ‘you [plural] subdue it’ (kivshuha) is read, but ‘subdue her’ (kivshah) is written. [This means that] the man is commanded to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and not the woman. Rabbi Yohanan ben Beroka says both the man and the woman are meant [since it is written]: ‘And God blessed them (both) saying “Be fruitful and multiply . . .”’ [The reason that there is a difference between the read and written forms of ] kivshuha and kivshah is because the man subdues his wife so that she does not go seeking in the marketplace. [Translation by Rabbi Steve Greenberg]
3 ג

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. It appears here and elsewhere that there was some controversy regarding a woman's duty to reproduce and related challenges of female sexuality. Why should it make sense not to obligate women to reproduce? Is there an argument for making reproduction an equal duty that makes sense to you?

2. Note: Rabbi jose ben Zimra uses the written from of "subdue" in the singular to refer not to subduing the earth but in relation to the phrase earlier "be fruitful and multiply." Rabbi Yohanan ben Beroka instead sees both sexes as obligated to reproduce but that husbands are called upon to subdue their wives desire in order to prevent them from looking for satisfaction elsewhere. In either case females, like the earth need to be subdued by men. What about female sexuality do you think challenges men even today?

4 ד
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)