A response from the previous post which prompted me to return an answer that felt like a post all its own:
"The bottom line is... Do you want to fulfill Judaism the way G-d wants you to fulfill it or the way YOU want to fulfill it, the way it makes YOU feel good. There is a mitzvah of talmud torah and davening with a minyan etc. for men and not for women. So when a woman wants to do these things, she is doing something that was not intended for her. If her goal is to fulfill Judaism the way it was meant to be fulfilled for her, then she is going about it the wrong way. The right way would be to ask what does G-d want of her. Stop trying to be a man and be "frum" like a woman. There are hundreds of thousands of frum women who ARE satisfied with their way of life... Maybe that's something to look into..."
Yeah, there you have it. You've hit the real crux of the issue. It doesn't matter how sexist the system is or the quality of any of the apologetics put for its defense - if you believe that God Himself commanded it to be this way then you have that choice to either submit before God's will or to rebel against it.
This is why Orthodox folks can never talk to the more liberal groups (and vice versa) on any serious topic of ritual observance. Even liberal groups that do want to be observant, they look at Halacha as inspiration for modern rituals and do things that are valuable in themselves. For liberal groups, it is the rule itself that must be supported by its own value. For Orthodoxy, all the rules are ultimately supported by virtue of the belief that God commanded them. They could make absolutely no sense and may even be morally problematic, but since they come from God they are exempt from any serious criticism.
I was reading in the Jewish Week recently how there is a revival of interest in mikvah and marital purity laws for women in the liberal branches of Judaism. Most are not thrilled with a two week abstention from physical contact, much less sexual relations, but they do like the idea of renewal and bringing a spiritual rhythym into their marriage.
Now, these women do not believe these rituals were declared by God. They are finding value in the acts themselves and and so they take them up. Many of them take on a liberal variant of the Orthodox Halachic version of the practice, where perhaps they only wait until the bleeding stops (and not the additional seven days) before going to a mikvah and resuming normal sexual relations.
So a letter to the editor the following week was written by an Orthodox woman saying how she was proudly following the rules as God intended them, waiting the full time, etc., and how she was not in favor of such new approaches which are simply not in accord with Halacha.
They are operating on totally different wavelengths.
The simple response to her is just that the liberal branches largely don't see Halacha as a series of divine commands and therefore a) they do not feel bound to them the same way and b) they have no theological difficulties modifying them to serve their needs.
And I make the same response to you.
You're whole manner of questioning has an explicit assumption which I just don't agree with. I don't think normative Orthodox Halacha is how God 'intended' Judaism to be practiced. And truthfully, I don't think God 'wants' anything from us at all.
"There are hundreds of thousands of frum women who ARE satisfied with their way of life... Maybe that's something to look into..."
And there are millions of Muslim women living in the Middle East who are perfectly satisfied as well. But they don't know what they're missing.
Even Black slaves in the American south were satisfied with their lives as long as they had a nice master.
People adjust to the status quo.