Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Charedi women speak out

Once, I already addressed the matter of Ultra Orthodox Jewish women financially supporting their husbands while they devote most of their time to religious studies.

Now, women who are living that life – and experiencing a terrible burn-out – give us a peek into their lives. I'm including the link for those of you who read Hebrew. For the rest of you, I will translate the paragraphs that best summarize the essence of the article.

"We are collapsing. We work three jobs: maintaining the home, educating the children, and a full-time shift outside the home. We all know what a scholar husband contributes financially (a meager scholarship - my note). And it got even worse with the economical crisis. We, like most of our community, have large families. We do not hire household help. With great pain in our hearts, we are forced to ask our older daughters to step up to the task, and these girls, even before they are married, already carry a burden which will be even heavier once they are wives."

"Was it the way of Torah in the past too – that the entire pressure of maintaining and financing the household would fall on the woman's shoulders? Isn't it a change of the last generation or two? Once, nearly all the wives of religious scholars held teaching jobs. We had plenty of vacation time. Our work day was finished early and we could return home before our children. Today most of us work in fields that require great emotional resources and many hours of exhausting effort. And only then we come back and begin the full-time second shift – which is actually the first for us."


I will be the last person to deny that we need full-time Torah scholars, especially in our generation of spiritual and moral downfall. But when there are no financial resources, I see something surreal in a situation when a man immerses himself in the spiritual while ignoring the very real plight of his wife and children.

The ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, states quite plainly that the husband is the one who is supposed to support the wife, not the other way around. Yes, there is a loophole saying that if the wife is willing, she may support her husband while he's at his religious studies. But there is a tremendous pressure on the eligible young brides of the charedi community to choose a scholar husband, which is considered more noble and prestigious – and I'm not so sure all those girls know what they are getting into, and/or are really ready to be primary wage-earners while raising a family of 12 and keeping an immaculate house.

Here is a question that some, I'm sure, will consider almost sacrilegious: are all those who study Torah full-time really so brilliant that our generation would suffer a terrible loss if they worked at least part of the time? Certainly, we need scholars, but I don't believe that every boy should be encouraged to become one.

Perhaps, if there were less full-time scholars, and scholarships were awarded only to the most talented, there could be larger resources for each who receives one. Then the rest could also work part-time, and some of the burden could be lifted off the women's shoulders.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a ridiculous situation, but it is limited to certain communities. Not all ultra-orthodox live in this manner, and some only do so for a few years.

I think it's misogyny at its worst. The woman gets to do all the dirty work, all the manual labour needed to run a home and all the labour needed to earn a living. The husband is then freed to explore higher intellectual realms and enrich his home with what he's learned. Wife = body, material, provides basic needs, whereas husband = mind, intellect, enrichment.

Nevermind that most of these guys are as intellectual as the average couch potato. (Nothing against these men specifically, just that most people are not so intellectually oriented that they can study 8 hrs a day forever). And don't get me started on the fact that they use this full-time Torah study as an excuse to get out of the army, while their secular brothers sacrifice their lives daily. It makes my blood boil.

So, to answer your question, I don't think we need full-time Torah scholars, certainly not subsidized by the state (however meager the scholarship may be). AFTER they serve in the army, let them find a place and time to learn Torah. But not by taking the young girls in the community and having them internalize an ideology that a Torah scholar is the only groom possible. These girls are raised to believe it is an honor to work themselves to the bone to support their scholar hubbies. Only the less desirable girls deign to consider a 'working man'. It's perverse. It's the epitome of internalizing things which may not be good for you.

Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

It's true that not all live like that. However it bothers me that this situation is seen like the ideal, which, I believe, it is not.

I do think we need SOME men who dedicate their entire lives to studying Torah, however, I doubt we need that many. As Tammy said, I don't believe that so many men are intellectually oriented. However, I expect boys are pressured to become scholars just as girls are pressured to become scholars' wives. Anything else is second class.

I think the charedi community needs a shift in thinking which will make working for a living honorable, not "bitul torah". Isn't it said in Pirkei Avot, "Without bread there is no Torah"?

Philly Farmgirl said...

Greetings, I do not think this is a limited as one may hope to think. As we know, Lakewood, New York and other places are filled with young couples that are struggling or are being supported by other family members (if they are lucky) financially. IMO, it is a disgrace to the Tribe and an added burden to the women's true halachic obligation. Apparently it is getting impossible to bare. The result is burnt out women and children who (chas v'shalom) are not being raised in as torahdik manner as they could if their mothers were home, at least part time, and present mentally when they were. Who is caring for the children while the mothers are out working two and three jobs? Is this not their primary duty? In times past, each town, village, province, etc., would support their brightest and most talented bochur. He is the one who was sent to learn full time. It wasn't an option for everyone then and neither should it be now. Obviously some learning should be done with a rabbi or chavruta, or even one kollel year when a couple is first married, but this every man running off to learn at yeshiva is insane and is damaging our women. I agree it is misogyny at it's worse!

But what do we do to change this tide? The Bais Yaakov schools are pushing our girls telling then they can/want to ONLY marry a talmid hacham and the boys all must learn full time? Unless more speak out it will continue on this way and I shudder to think what will happen to the next generation. If no one is working who will support them?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna, As a Christian I thought you might be interested to know that we often have similar problems in Protestant communities. Churches often pay their pastors very little, relying on the pastor's wife to supplement their income with a full time job. This is true even when there are small children in the family. Note that the pastor's wife is still expected to be all things to all people, too, while doing this.

Maurisa said...

Very interesting plight. I had never heard of this before, thank you for sharing and shedding some light on this unique way of life.

As for Catholics, our solution to this particular type of lifestyle is celibacy. Priests and religious immersed in the spiritual life cannot possibly have the time or the resources to support a family (financially, emotionally, spiritually) and that is one legitimate reason they are asked to remain celibate.

What does the Orthodox Jewish community feel about celibacy? Is it a legitimate choice? I find this truly interesting and am curious.

CappuccinoLife said...

Anna, I so love your insights into various facets of Jewish life. :)

This precise situation is one that I have wondered about for many years. It has always struck me as *so* off kilter, to have men spending all their time studying Torah while thier wives become haggard trying to keep the family above water.

The feminist "answer" that I've seen is that those families should only have one or two children and outsource all the care and homekeeping to low-paid workers, and the mom's should get full-time careers and make lots of money. Ick. Why not call men to stand up and fill their obligations to their families?

And as a previous poster said, this is not limited to Orthodox Jews. There are Christian men who feel it is their right to require their wife to go to work (putting tiny children in daycare) so she can support his lofty dreams of "ministry". He won't fulfil his Biblical/Christian obligation to sacrifice himself for his wife, and to support his family, but he expects her to submit to him in everything, while also being the breadwinner. It steams me up. :(

Beit Yaakov Girl said...

Mrs. Anna,

In this generation MORE THAN EVER we need as many Torah scholars as we can find. They don't necessarily study because they are brilliant, or come up with a great chiddush every day. Thinking in this way is attributing Western values to Torah, r"l. We study Torah because Hashem told us to. And because of this generation, and yeridat hadorot, we need more Torah study, not less. And to those who argue that the Torah scholars should be serving in the army, well, do you personally know how many terrorist attacks or wars were averted due to the mitzva of studying Torah?

CappuccinoLife said...

It occured to me after I wrote, this may actually be a problem in our city. There is a certain section of the city with a large Jewish population, many of them Orthodox.

I always loved driving through there and seeing the large families and beautiful, modestly dressed ladies and girls. :) However, I remember hearing several complaints from other about the number of those families who are on welfare because the men do not work, but are "scholars". I figured it was sour grapes and gossip. At the time I doubted the veracity of such a thing, but having read your post, I wonder about the possibility. If it's true, it's very sad because it puts the Orthodox Jewish community in a bad light to others here.

Bethany Hudson said...

As a Roman Catholic, I have never encountered this sort of situation. Our world is structured very differently. We have consecrated men and women (priests, nuns, monks) who dedicate their lives to religious study and prayer. If the priests are gifted, they move up the hierarchy to become bishops, cardinals, etc. This hierarchy is the structure of our Church that creates canon law (religious law). None of these consecrated people marry or bear children. Yet, even though held in extremely high regard, even our priests are not considered superior to the married laeity--for it is the laeity, raising their children in the fear and admonish of the Lord in loving homes who are the future of our faith. This division works very well, in my opinion. I cannot conceive of being married to a priest--even if that were allowed--simply because a priest does not have time for a wife and children--let alone another full-time or part-time job! It sounds like this is the sort of situation happening in the communities you describe, Anna, and I'd say I have to agree with Tammy: it sounds like the worst form of misogyny. As someone who greatly values and respects her priests, I can sympathize with what you say: that some men are needed for Torah study, but I can't imagine that so many married men need or even should do this at such inconcievable expense to their wives and families.

eliza said...

So so so true, and totally ridiculous! An untenable situation which I fear will only cease when the women either go on strike, or all just die of working to heard
(I fear it will be the latter). And actually the worst part of it is that I am sure most women will blame themSELVES for not being strong and self-sacrificing enough when they can't make it...

Kat said...

Time to stop studying Torah and actually do what Torah says to do!

Kat said...

And to the last anon...I agree with you as I have seen many Protestant women forced to work...raise several children...and also be the perfect "church" wife...cooking, entertaining, volunteering, counseling...sometimes I wonder how damaging it all is!

Anonymous said...

I second the fourth comment. Been there done that. Scripture makes it clear that the husband is to provide the support for the family. He who will not work, shall not eat. A Judeo-Christian work ethic makes a family strong and thereby makes a country strong.

Michelle Potter said...

Anna, in the Christian Bible there is a lesson that I think applies here. Apparently some of the Jewish leaders at the time were being careful to tithe 10% of everything, even their spices. But at the same time they were ignoring more important things: "justice, mercy and faithfulness." Jesus said, "You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." Another time Jesus criticized some other leaders who were failing to care for their elderly parents because they'd given their money to the temple instead.

I think that's a lesson that can be applied whether someone is Christian or Jewish. Of course we should all attend to every one of God's commands, even what we consider trivial. But we can't forget the bigger things, either. Of course it's important to study God's word, but how is it pleasing to Him or serving Him if we do so at the expense of those (parents, wife, children) that He put in our care?

The Author said...

Interesting.I have often wondered at this, and it is not according to Torah. Torah is first, of course, but our families are also important, and is also in the Torah. Thank you for posting about this, Mrs.T

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

As a soon-to-be pastor's wife I can completely understand the plight of these women! Although I am Catholic I married a man who is studying to be a Lutheran Pastor. Wow, there was so much I didn't know I was getting myself into! In protestant churches nobody pays for the pastor's education and pastor salaries are abysmally low, with Seminary costs extremely high. To give an idea, each credit costs $1200 at our Seminary, 5 credits are required each Semester plus other non-credit requirements over the summer. Classes take place from 9-5pm, cutting off all chances of these men and women holding a decent salaried job. Few scholarships are available and all student jobs are reserved for international students. Churches contribute as much as $500 a year, enough to cover most student's book requirements and little else. Even living frugally we will be in debt for 10 years at least and during that time will be unable to buy a home. Our son will be at least 12 before we can afford to buy a home.

It is very sad when religious leaders and scholars are valued so little that they and their families must suffer for their studies while some congregations complain that a $27,000 salary is too much for a pastor with 8 years of schooling and a family to support.

Pendragon said...

I think these kinds of situations arise when you have an ideal of family and marriage that does not give equal precedence to the needs of all family members. The woman's needs. When one person's ambitions are seen as the most important, other people suffer. Usually, family members subordinate themselves to the man's ambitions (to be a Torah scholar or what have you) because most cultures view the man's ambitions as the most improtant. But, in some idiosyncratic cases the woman's ambitions are elevated as the most important -- and I have also seen situations where everyone caters to a particular child, such as a child with great athletic talent or show business potential.

Ultimately, family should be a unit that supports the needs and the dreams of all the individuals in it. These Torah scholar families are out of balance.

(This is not a slam on Torah scholarship, which I believe to be one of the glories of Jewish civilization, and which I believe to have benefited from culturally as a person of Jewish descent. Surely there must be ways to support Torah scholarship through schools, universities, foundations, etc. just as we support academics in other fields of study.)

Inca said...

This is a topic that goes waaaaay beyond the scope of a short blog post......but it IS a great way to generate controversy and comments.

First,let me state,that I agree that not all the young men who are "studying" all day for years are so absolutely diligent...and I do not feel that so many of the young women should be living this lifestyle.


Having said that, this is not a situation that has a simple solution. While it is true that there is a pressure on both the boys and girls to pursue this lifestyle, even if this were not the case, the IDEAL would still be a boy who does love to study all day and IS capable of doing so. As long as that is accepted as the ideal, anyone who goes a different route is then falling short of the ideal. And although we all know, that there can never be perfection and that just like each of us is not the 'ideal' person we could/should be, people will still always aspire to the ideal.

It would have to become very clear (through the leading educators and rabbis) that it is a very rare thing to find a young man that is qualified for this lifestyle AND that it is preferable to marry any sincere and deeply religious young man ahead of someone who is not absolutely qualified and yet persists in trying to fit in to the lifestyle he sees as the ideal one. But I cannot conceive of a time when educators will recommendthat young men quit trying to reach the ideal. And so, the problem grows rather than getting solved.

Also, it must be made very clear that those who choose that lifestyle must be very ready (not just to work hard, but also to be happy living a lifestyle that provides very little materialistically....and I mean VERY little. If they aspire to live the same lifestyle as their average middle income friends, this is not going to work out. They have to value that Torah lifestyle so much that they are willing to forgo a lot when it comes to their standard of living. If they sincerely believe this is worth it, this lifestyle is for them, they are worthy of it, and they should be commended....AND they are usually very happy and not the ones who are complaining, despite circumstances that outsiders might consider unbearable.

I have a relative who chose this lifestyle...and he is truly sincere. And so is his wife. He married a simple girl who works in our local school systems. They have very little in the way of physical comforts in life...and yet they are never complaining. They are genuinely happy and feel lucky to be able to do what they are doing. If they get to a point where they feel it is not possible to continue this way, I have no doubt at all that my nephew will find a way to supplement their income (He is extremely bright...you cannot do what he is doing sincerely and do it WELL unless you are). Again, he will not be able to have an executive position, but their materialistic needs are so minimal that they will manage....barring unforseen circumstances that could derail even the so-called 'working couples'. (Just as an aside, I find it amazing to see the siyata di'shmaya that they have in so many ways!) I am proud of them; I admire their commitment to this way of life; I wish them the very best and lots of successes in all ways. AND I wish everyone could see them and then decide if they are cut out for this or not! This is the real McCoy. Living an imitation is a farce and cannot lead to good things.

I've gone on way too long...and haven't even touched the surface. Like I said, not a topic to just be thrown out there lightly.

jiabaoyu said...

I do not understand this....are the husbands studying for exams and degrees? Or is studying the Torah a life long thing? If it's the former, then the sacrifices of the women, while hard, is a temporary adjustment that self-corrects after the program ends. But if it's the latter then I'm confused why the husbands can't help around the house more?

I mean, a fulltime outside the house job is inflexible so surely studying fulltime means one has the flexibility to do some chores at home? I have studied 8+hr/day for exams nonstop for months at a time and it is hard, but typically I find time to run a few errands in the middle of the day since my time is flexible.

And anyways, shouldn't the husband be expected to pull some weight at home too since his wife works fulltime? My parents worked fulltime growing up (still do) and they divide the chores up evenly.

Anonymous said...

This is a situation that illustrates quite well society's underestimation of the worth of domestic work. Any man who would immerse himself in scholarship with seemingly no regard for his wife's labors joins secular society in this under-estimation, and in my view, would thus be ill-suited to be a spiritual advisor of any sort. We are all the body of God, men and women. Anna, you have raised a really important issue, thank you.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Maurisa,

There is no such concept as religious celibacy in Judaism. All, or at any rate almost all our great rabbis were/are married and had children. The Almight did not mean for a man, even a religious leader, to be alone, and no man, however great, is released from the commandment of having children.

Or caring for his wife.

This is, perhaps, a subject for a separate post.

***

Beit Yaakov Girl,

I'm certainly not the one to decide which Torah scholar is "talented enough" for full-day studies, and which one is not. I'm just saying this: a man is obligated by the ketubah to support his wife. If she is *willing* to renounce this right in order for her husband to study Torah, it's one thing. If she, however, feels this kind of arrangement is a disservice to herself and/or her family, it is a man's duty to step up to the plate. Just as not every man can be a scholar, not every woman has the strength or stamina to be a scholar's wife.

***

Inca, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Mrs. White said...

I believe we need more full time Torah Scholars, not less. There must be a way these wives can change their situations. Such as: lowering standard of living so less money is needed, start home businesses so the children can help and work with them or even opening up a small store and working with the children, etc. There has to be a way for this to work.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Mrs. White,

When talking about these families, I doubt standard of living can be any lower as most of them are pitifully poor as it is. Many of the women are facing osteoporosis at the age of 30 because of being unable to afford proper nutrition and supplements while having baby after baby.

It's not luxurious living these women are asking for, they are genuinely struggling to survive.

As for working with the children, this could perhaps apply, but only to girls because in these communities, boys spend most of each day away from home studying Torah from a very young age.

Anonymous said...

Mrs White - certainly you aren't suggesting that these families use child labour to support themselves? Is it better to have the kids work than the father?

Anyway, in these religious families, both boys and girls are busy with school. The boys with Torah study, the girls getting an education so they can eventually get a vocation.

Agree with Anna. Most of these families are on the poverty level or below it. There are no standards to lower.

And many of these scholar husbands do help, btw. Some do quite a bit of chores. Many have an afternoon break where they look after the kids.
Still, taking into account how huge most of these families are, it is never enough. The wife is still left with the bulk of the housework. And with her day job.
Tammy

Anonymous said...

In Catholic spirituality, we have a concept that the devil can tempt us and lead us astray with good ideas, tempting us to pursue these good ideas to the exclusion of everything else we are called to do.

It sounds to me that for some men, studying the Torah and neglecting their familial duties to the ruin of their wives is a good example of this.

Not trying to start a fight here, but this post really struck me.

Miss H

Analytical Adam said...

I have to say honestly Mrs. A there is a lot of hypocracy and my own family has tons of it. Furthermore, I don't feel more for the decent men and women who end up getting hurt because they don't fit the feminist mode that is behind the idea's and not Judaism and end up with NO CHILDREN as they fall through the cracks and nobody helps them get married. (You fit the made because you didn't think much of your father although I think both your parents did some terrible things although you would not be here without them although I know you say your father didn't want you but in the end he had little say this just as my mother wanted certain things that were bad that she had little control over and I hope that is true as well.I hope you are not offended.)

Mrs. A. I have a cousin who has 9 kids. I am related through his wife as we are first cousins. She had fertility treatment at 35 after having 6 children. This is absurd. She had twins through this and her husband has Smicha but what kind of person has fertility drugs after 6 children.

I also found it through my learning partners who'se wife works for my cousin amazingly enough (small world) what he does for a living. I was shocked although I didn't think it was decent becuase it seemed a secret.

He works to help people with children 0-3 get government aid for certain programs. Many of them mexican's and illegal aliens I would think because this town has many illegal mexicans and I am sure they want gov't aid. I am sure many unmarried families with no fathers or dysfunctional families need the aid from the gov't that other taxpayers pay for. I am sure he doesn't tell them that getting married would help them more then going to the government for help. He never told me what he did so I would think that at least he himself doesn't think it is decent but to have 9 kids through a job like this that using the gov't is overall bad for society.

He has told him he is pretty liberal and he and his wife are frauds and they do nothing to help anybody else get married. His daughters read Harry Potter.

Overall are birth rates are low Mrs. A and I blame Orthodoxy. In some countries you have a small group of people that have large families while the rest have 0 or 1 child. In China the leaders can have as many children as they want it is only the citizens that aren't in the gov't that can have at most 2 children. To have a large family and even use fertility drugs after having 6 children but do nothing to help others I am sorry I have little compassion. Yes, we need to help ourselves but at a certain point it is unhealthy and selfish. Our overall numbers are more important then a small group having large families through unscrupulous jobs or gov't handouts.

Analytical Adam said...

I just wanted to answer Tammy to say that some women marry men that don't work or work little or part time and it is their decision (and many tell them not to do it for this reason and they ignore it) and reject the more responsible man. As a guy that does feel a man is suppose to work it is the first story in the bible and my name actually is Adam so I take this story seriously and I as a man am offended by women that marry men that don't really work and the reason they do it Tammy is because they want to have control in every area of the relationship. So the women are showing Misandry to be quite frank with you.

In my own family which is Orhodox but two faced in many ways (after all I am the only first born male and we celebrate passover because G-d passed over Jewish first born males) among first cousins and my Uncles and Aunts hoped I lose my job.)

Anyway, a female first cousin got a job in public school as a science teacher (I suspect it was affirmative action) and married a guy who only worked part time and was a returnee which I have nothing against it but it sounded like she was marrying someone way beneath her (her mothers father is a Rabbi not my side of the family) that she can control everything. And of course her mother watched the kid when she went to work. I don't think she believes in Torah. A decent women doesn't rely on affirmative action to teach science and have her mother, the grandmother,raise the child. I don't think she respects learning or torah she is just hiding behind religion when it really is about feminism. (I refused to go to the wedding and said a man is suppose to work and that I was offended.) The only reason some lazy men are married is because some women want men that don't work because they want to control everything which is wrong and a slap in the face to decent men. Rather then take responsibility for their own behavior and rewarding lazy men they blame the men which they are just projecting their own misandry. A decent women would not reward a man that doesn't work by marrying him and I don't believe the torah is why they do it from this experience in my own family where the women worked in a gov't job teaching science which she never was that interested in this and it smacks of feminism and hatred of men.

Analytical Adam said...

I really don't have that much compassion simply because it seems to me they hate men for 2 reasons. First, they don't allow their sons to work at all which I don't get. Furthermore, if these women truly were G-d loving and G-d fearing women they would say you know doesn't the torah say the MAN IS SUPPOSE TO BE THE PRIMARY BREADWINNER as the story in Adam and Eve says as the women's primary obligation is to bear and raise children. Instead they just want men to work PART TIME to give them a break but they want to at least be EQUAL IN WORK which shows their true agenda as I read what they wrote. I'm sure these women know the story of Adam and Eve but I guess ignore it because they DO NOT want MEN TO CONTROL THE FINANCES. They hate G-d giving the man this role and envy men and are letting their base emotions rule over them and if that is the case they are frauds and there is nothing worse then Jews who pick and chose PARTS OF THE TORAH AND CREATE G-D IN THEIR OWN IMAGE BY PICKING AND CHOSING AND WORSE THINK THEY ARE BETTER THEN EVERYONE ELSE which they aren't because they are creating a new religion which of course doesn't work. Many women are turned off to religion because of phony women like this who really are not following what the torah says but they don't realize this. I'm sure the women KNOW what the torah really says but don't want MEN TO BE THE PRIMARY BREADWINNER. Please, Mrs. A. Give me a break. They don't want men to do anything and then they complain they are worn out. Come on Mrs. A. I see a lot of this with some women. They don't want to let others get involved and then they complain they are worn out and think they are so holy for doing everything themselves while not wanting other to help. That is the price you pay for only thinking about yourself because you don't want others to help because you want to take all the credit. This is not righteousness.

Analytical Adam said...

Mrs. Anna. Don’t you think it is men that should determine what a Rabbi’s role should me not women just as with politicians sometimes women want politicians to replace their husband and this is an unhealthy dynamic as they support men that take a heavy handed approach to other men.

To be honest I actually DON’T think UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES a women should support a man that learns and you have this role reversal. If men and their families want to contribute to this and they think it is OK that is one thing but the roles should not be reversed for a Rabbi and his wife as this makes it that Rabbi’s don’t have to follow basic rules of the torah and a Rabbi that doesn’t work like most men can’t really interpret the torah correctly IMO.

Here is an article about the Chafetz Chaim writeen by Rabbi Haber which shows why. Rabbi Haber was using this to praise the Chafetz Chaim but I felt otherwise. The Chafetz Chaim had his wife work while he learned and had his wife run the store. When his wife complained about a lack of money and running the store the Chafetz Chaim was harsh on his wife and told her that Satan isn't going to interfere with his learning. It is in the Chafetz Chaim’s autobiography I belive the children’s edition which I suspect is true although I don’t know. I read this when I was younger and I still remember this story as he did not want to spend time running the store or help his wife in this regard. I though OK he wanted to learn although now I don't think he set a good example.

Yet in this article by Rabbi Haber (the link is at them bottom) the Chafetz Chaim in his old age has a meeting with WOMEN ONLY and uses GUARDS to keep MEN OUT in the shul. And then says this is a special occasion that the shul for the first time has no men. Which of course is not true as the Chafetz Chaim is a man isn’t he?? It is disturbing that the Chafetz Chaim is making women that aren’t his wife feel good about themselves and likely making the husband of these women lousy but the Chafetz Chaim when it came to his own wife was very harsh and let her run the store and you see it leads to the Chafetz Chaim haven’t little respect for other men and not even considering himself a man like the rest of us. Here is the link to the article by Rabbi Haber that he posted on Frum Community.

http://www.frumcommunity.com/Default.aspx?tabid=1527&view=topic&forumid=8&postid=5420

Buffy said...

Well I agree with you. Also, a man can learn more about his relationship with God by spending time with his young children than by studying textbooks. All things in moderation, even the best things.

Avigayil said...

Anna,
I couldn't agree more with your comment "certainly we need scholars but not every boy should be encouraged to be one". The world needs cooks and farmers and musicians and shoemakers and gardeners and veterinarians too. There's no shame in that.

Unfortunately, I am witness to the effect this sort of lifestyle (men learning, wives working) has on a marriage. A good friend is married to a man who learns most of the time. He does have some sort of part-time job but it's nothing near to enough to support them. So she raises their three small children during the day, takes in other peoples' children as well for extra income AND stays up until the wee hours of the morning in order to be able to do an internet-based job which also brings in $$$$. And now her husband is trying to tell her they should get rid of the computer! What is he thinking??? The strain between them is just atomic by now and their marriage is a mess, to put it mildly.