Saturday, February 18, 2006

Don't Worry, Girls Are Useful Too.... To Be Slaves

Over the past two weeks I've heard some interesting (some might term them "misogynistic") speeches. And strangely it's not only Lakewood where this stuff flies, but also the Upper West Side.

Last week I had the pleasure of spending Shabbos on the Upper West Side. My aunt's food is absolutely amazing, and she doesn't even read my blog, so I'm not just being nice. I davened Mincha at the Young Israel on 91st Street. Some guy, I think from Ner Yisroel, gave a speech where he spoke about how the Jewish people are slaves to G-d and that we shouldn't resent it because we need to subsume our identities and interests to G-d's will. OK, not exactly something too controversial. But it was his comparison of marriage to slavery that piqued my interest.

Apparently, he claimed, marriage is not a union between equals because men and women have different roles (odd that he would use the feminist understanding of equality). And the Gemara talks about how a man "captures" a woman, and how the act of marriage is similar to acquiring a slave woman. Even in the secular world, he argued, the woman gives up her identity and becomes part of the man's domain (apparently he's unaware that coveture went out of the window a hundred years ago). Just like we are supposed to give up our will to G-d, he implied, a woman is supposed to give up her will to her husband.

I'm still making fun of this speech when I tell it to people.

I spent this Shabbos in Lakewood. My cousin just had a baby girl (she's adorable) and my uncle's father-in-law gave a vort at the Kiddush. He started with a story from Rav Shach about a man who came to Rav Shach somewhat upset that he had a girl. Rav Shach told him a man once came to him extremely happy that he had a girl... and that was because it was his first child in ten years.

So I guess the moral of the story is that it's better to have a girl than to wait 10 years for a girl. What about a boy? Tzaruch Iyun....

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