Our Gemara on Amud Beis tells us an interesting discussion between Rabbi Eliezer and a “wise woman”:

A wise woman asked Rabbi Eliezer: Since all bore equal responsibility for the incident of the Golden Calf, due to what factor were their deaths not equal? Some of the people were killed by the sword of Moses and the Levites, some were killed in a plague, and others were struck with an intestinal illness. He said to her: There is no wisdom in a woman except weaving with a spindle, and so it states: “And any woman who was wise-hearted spun with her hands” (Exodus 35:25).

Ben Yehoyada explains this discussion in a remarkable manner. First of all, despite the seemingly dismissive manner in which Rabbi Eliezer answers her question, the Gemara designated her as a “wise woman”, so there must be more to her question and more to her answer.  Ben Yehoyada says that Rabbi Eliezer was hinting at her that sins are like threads.  They begin as one strand that can easily be snapped, but as they compound and twist, they can become incredibly binding. Therefore, it ought not be surprising that the same sin invokes different responses, as it depends on the effect the sin has on the person and perhaps his or her loved ones.

Thus, Rabbi Eliezer was telling her, you are wise enough to understand the craft of thread spinning, and therefore through this metaphor, should realize the answer. 


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Translations Courtesy of Sefaria