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Simon & Shabbos.

 I just finished watching the second half of a film which I believe was The Graduate (it had Dustin Hoffman and featured ‘Mrs. Robinson’ with a whole lot of Simon & Garfunkle).  The second half really seemed to be a wonderful love story, classic in its essence, but the retro-nature of the film made the classical edge more biting.  Of course, like any love story, boy and girl meet, they fall in love, some sort of stressor impinges upon their love and then love conquers all, but Dustin Hoffman’s stoicism really speaks leagues about emotion.

The more I study about Judaism, the more I realize the central role that women play in Judaism.  There is a midrash (supporting story to events in the bible), which tells of what happened when Sarah (Abraham’s Wife) lit candles for shabbos it would fill the home so intensely that the light would be spiritually elevated for the whole week.  It’s a pretty fabulous thing to consider the existence of an element to have such an astounding influence upon the environment in which it exists.  However, at the passing of Sarah (and her inability to light the candles) the home wouldn’t have the same level of elevation, the spiritual connection wouldn’t occur.  This is important because to of the patriarchic figures in Judaism (Abraham and Isaac) were both living in this house, and surely they should have been able to endow the home with its essence.  However, it took until Rivkah came into the picture, who was exceptionally young, to give the grace which would spiritually elevate the home for the week to come.  This may seem tangential to personal application, but there is a shred.

            The point is that there is a unique trait which women have naturally within them; the loving embrace only a mother can share speaks strongly to everyone, regardless from where they come.  More than that, there is something to be said for ‘a woman’s touch,’ this element which is recognizable, irreplaceable and inherently claming, it’s a very special thing.  Women, in Judaism, hold a very special role, their essence is on a higher spiritual level than that of a man’s.  When defining the roles within a committed relationship, the woman bestows Judaism (a sacred tradition) upon the fruits of the relationship (among many things children) which certainly is a high priority to parents – if not the highest.  

            This week, when davening (praying) at my minyan (group of ten males [which has a machitsa – division between men and women]), I felt something missing.  It was raining today, which always makes the crowd smaller, but there was something else which I couldn’t quite identify.  Since I can’t see onto the women’s side I didn’t know if anyone was there, but when I got a chance to check, I didn’t see any women.  However, once the first women stepped into the room, there was a calming ease which I could, subtlety, feel.  While this is a first hand account, and thus not necessarily applicable to everyone, let me ‘bring it home,’ women have a special essence about them which I have a lot of admiration for, and this past shabbos my respect blossomed in its altruistic nature.

            Two books seem to have insights into these topics far beyond my abilities.  They are The Committed Marriage, written by a rebbetzen (Rabbi’s wife), and Shir Ha’Shirim (Song of Songs), which is an erotic poem written about the relationship between a man and a women.  While there are many explanations, the man is thought to be the Jewish People and the woman is thought to be Ha’Shem (G-D).     


Written by Joe

10 June at 9 am

Posted in learn

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