Jewish tale number one...
A young Torah scholar came to his rabbi's house, and said, "rabbi, my wife doesn't understand me. She won't keep the children quiet so I can focus on my learning. She asks for my help with the baby. She reminds me the children need warm clothes for the winter. I feel my spiritual life is in danger because I get so caught up in the mundane. You are my teacher. Tell me what to say to her."
He looked around. The rabbi's house was full of children, from adults to little ones. Several of them were playing right outside the tiny office, making a lot of noise. One of the children fell down, bruised his elbow, and started crying. The rabbi hurried to the sobbing child, held him on his knee, and stroked his hair until his tears had dried and he was happy again.
Then, he slowly ran his fingers through his long beard, pondering the young man's question. "I'm sorry for the interruption," - he began.
But the young scholar realized he didn't need to hear anything anymore. Tears of shame filled his eyes, and he hurried home to his wife.
And Jewish tale number two.
A rabbi asked one of his best students, "why do you seem so frustrated lately? Is there anything wrong?"
"It's my wife," - replied the young man with a sigh, - "she asks me to help her with housework, claiming she's too busy and tired with the new baby. No matter how many times I explain I'm too busy with my studies of the Torah to be bothered with such trifles, she doesn't give up, and every day we end up arguing over this."
On the next day, the young scholar's wife was startled to hear a knock on the door, and see her husband's rabbi standing on the doorstep. He was wearing plain work clothes and holding a broomstick, mop and bucket.
"I heard you need help around the house," - he said.
Judaism has never proclaimed celibacy in the name of spiritual excellence. All men are commanded to marry, and children were never looked upon as anything else but gifts and blessings. All our greatest men had been family men, with everything it includes - messy houses, crying babies and sticky fingers.
It's easy to feel spiritual when you are impeccably dressed and immersed in holy studies. It's easy to feel spiritual when you have all the time in the world to learn, pray, and meditate, without having to think of other people's most basic needs needs. Unfortunately, it also becomes frighteningly easy to feel holier than you really are.
The brilliance of mind, the theory of holy studies are noble. But there must be also room for spiritual growth in the way of a humble, loving, selfless, giving heart. In wiping dirty little hands, in helping a tired woman mop the floor, in taking care of feeding, clothing, sheltering and guiding the little ones God gives us.
Men might not be the primary child caretakers, or household keepers, but mundane works should not be beneath them. In this world, we are not and cannot be pure souls. That's why the spiritual, the studies of Torah, were always to be seen as a guide to living in this world. The physical isn't cancelled and isn't seen as the enemy, but rather, is used to enhance the spiritual. Being "too holy" to do the dishes or wipe up baby spit can mean only one thing: you are missing out on the truest, humble nobility of heart.