Fair’s fair

I have stopped home for a quick spot of lunch and am running back out again. Got to get all my shopping in so that first thing Thursday morning I can start the cooking and baking marathon for Rosh Hashannah. The KoD will be with us this year – our first Rosh Hashannah together. FTW!! (For The Win)

So apparently there is a tradition, minhag, halacha(?) brought down somewhere (anyone know where?) that a husband has the duty to buy his wife new clothes or new jewellery (or both) for the shalosh regalim – Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot. I was wondering why men need to be told to do this – surely they appreciate the work we do so much that they would think of this all on their own? My KoD thanks me for all I do and I know he appreciates my hard work. Ok so the thank you doesn’t always come with diamonds attached, but do we really need that? Surely a beautiful bouquet of flowers erev chag, any chag, is enough? (hint hint) Are our husbands letting us down if they don’t bring us gold three times a year? Who has that kind of money? And as for them buying us clothes…. Let me put it this way – give me the money and I will buy it myself. I am sure these husbands know their wives’ taste and size….but drive us to the shops and we will spend the hour or two in each store trying on and discarding until we find the right thing. Put up with it with good grace and you can come with us, otherwise hand over the charge card and just pay the bill when it comes….

Seriously, though, we all work very hard at our jobs, whether outside the home or inside or both. In a traditional marriage the wife does the lion’s share of the cooking and cleaning and child rearing. So yes it is nice for them to be appreciated. But the husbands work darn hard at providing for their families – where is the tradition that they should have something new every holiday? I think there should be a reciprocal or shared arrangement as both parts of the couple contribute to the household in many different ways. Flowers can be appreciated by everyone. Chocolate, liquor, candies etc – for the whole family. the kids should be encouraged to do something that thanks both parents for the hard work put in to making the holidays so enjoyable. A hand made card, being quiet for an hour so the folks can rest, watching younger siblings at the park, clearing the table without being asked. Or they can do what my boys sometimes treat me to – they make me sit at the Shabbat table and don’t allow me to lift a finger and insist on serving.

We don’t need to spend money on saying thank you. We all need to know that we are appreciated.

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3 responses to “Fair’s fair

  1. This halacha goes back to Talmudic times.

    There is a halachic requirement to be “Happy” on Yom Tov.

    Presents from the one’s we love expressing their appreciation can help us achieve that requisite happiness.

    The men fulfill this requirement of happiness by drinking wine and enjoying their delicious Yom Tov meal. (Perhaps it is hard to enjoy what one worked hard to prepare so women will need a different stimulus to generate their state of happiness ie clothes.)

    But all of this is advice on how to fulfill your requirement for happiness. Any way you get there will satisfy most halachic authorities.

  2. I think it is nice to have some guidance in this area. Not everyone is so strongly opinionated about what does help to make them happy and some need a little direction. Often, men do not think of the recognition their wives deserve and this is one more area where we can say -HEAR HEAR!!! Judaism is THANKFUL for their women. They ARE NOT property and MUST be SHOWN respect!
    I think, when this minhag is done tastefully and not blown out of proportion or demanded of by the women, this is a very good learning experience for children to see their parents share and give gifts.

  3. Sadly, for all the wonderful traits he has, thinking of actions to show me that I am appreciated are not always a foremost thought in his mind…I would love weekly shabbos flowers but that ‘aint happening…I would love a treat here or there…also not happening…I guess for someone whose hubby-to-be shows me he appreciates me in other indirect ways (allowing me to quit my full time job and go back to school, bearing the financial load of the house) it can be nice to have a built in reminder of a concrete way to say thanks, you’re awesome! Bc as much as he does for me, in some ways I do triple by running the home, managing the home, keeping the kitchen & cooking & cleaning and dealing with all the appts, errands family issues etc even after putting in a FULL day at work or school…a little push is helpful, at least in my case…you’re so blessed to have the KOD that never seems to take you for granted — perhaps a function of age, wisdom & life experience!

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