Daily Archives: January 5, 2010

Is he being lazy or sweet?

Squiggy came home first today. ChatterBox is usually home first, but has gym today so won’t be home until 6. I need laundry tokens in order to do laundry. That means shlepping down to the super’s apartment. I didn’t feel like getting dressed to go there. So I asked Squiglet to go do it for me. “But Ima”, he said, “you know that ChatterBox loves to go get the tokens for you, it makes him feel so grown up.”

Thing is, he IS right. ChatterBox does love to go, and I can manage with the couple of tokens I have left until he gets home….but I wonder if Suiggy’s motives are pure. Then I am chastising myself for judging him unfairly.

Kids. Sigh.

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Rabbis are guides not dictators!!

I respect my rabbi. I respect the KoD’s rabbi. Until we move, we have two separate rabbis. My rabbi has been my spiritual leader for most of the past 13 years. If I have questions he is the competent local orthodox rabbi that I consult. I don’t believe in rabbi shopping. I ask all my questions to one rabbi. I don’t seek out the rabbi that will be the laxest.  I don’t believe in that. However, when it is KoD that will be doing the asking, he will ask his own rabbi. When we move, the KoD’s rav will be mine.

What I really don’t believe in is running to the rabbi or spiritual leader to ask about every single thing in your life. I live a religious life. I keep as many mitzvoth as I can. I know what it means to live as an Orthodox Jew. Occasionally questions come up – and when I am not sure about halacha I will consult the rabbi. I will not ask him whether the time is right for me to buy a new house, or if my son should be allowed to check his email, or if I should blog about how my husband loves my hair. I will not ask him when I am sick if I should take the medication or pray instead to get better. I won’t ask him if I can go to the movies Saturday night or if it’s ok for me to talk to my friend’s husband on the phone.

Why not? Firstly – because I don’t need rabbinical approval for every single thing I do in this life. I have my own moral compass. I have a brain. I can think things through, discuss with others, and am ok with the majority of my decisions. Not everything we do in life has to have the seal of rabbinical authority. Secondly, do I really think the rabbi wants to be bothered with the minutiae of all of his congregants’ lives? Does he care what brand of Kleenex you use, or whether your laundry detergent sat in a shopping cart where ham sat before? So much of what I hear people have asked their rabbi is narishkeit – nothingness, silliness.

A rabbi is there to teach us, to help us learn and grow. He is not there to control our lives. He is there to celebrate and commemorate with us – hatches, matches and dispatches (births, marriages and deaths); to visit the sick; to pay shiva visits; to help lift us up when we need it; to provide advice and counsel when warranted; to inspire us to be better servants of God. As far as I know, when a man is studying for his smicha, there isn’t a class on “how to control your congregants 101”. Being a rabbi is about encouraging the community to be better people, to be better Jews and to help them get there.

We can think for ourselves. I don’t need a rabbi thinking for me. And I highly doubt he wants to be the one to decide on everything in a congregant’s life.

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Who are YOU to censor ME?

The other day I had an interesting exchange on twitter. I had just posted about whether I should cut my hair or not, and how much the KoD loves my hair. This gentleman took exception to it. I tweeted about an email I had received telling me it was not modest for me to blog about my hair – and that I was ticked off. This guy responded. I amalgamated his tweets into the following: (spelling mistakes all his)

I don’t know I kind of felt uncomfortable reading it & don’t think I’d like it if my wife shared that about me. I think it is ok as a woman-to-woman discussion but not in public posted for all to see IMHO. obviously I’m not poskining [making a legal ruling] here. Just telling you how I feel as a guy who loves his wife’s hair. I felt like you shared an intimate part of your relationship. Afterall why do u cover your hair? I could be oversensative. I really like long hair & am sensative to my wife repeating what I say to her in private. Quest bcomes is it enough if ur hub gives permission. It may still not b approp if ur audience is uncomfortable & rav says no.

I asked the KoD if he felt that I was sharing something intimate about him, the fact that he loves my long hair. He said he could understand how this fellow might see it that way, but that it didn’t bother him at all. (and it isn’t like I asked him “permission” to blog about it. Whenever I blog about him I usually ask if it’s ok, but most of the time I know what he is comfortable with and what he isn’t. When in doubt I ask)

What bothered me most about the exchange was how offended he seemed to be, this twitter dude. If it offends you, don’t read it. Don’t presume to tell me what I can and cannot write about. And do not tell me to consult my rav before I blog. I do not consult my rav before everything I do. (and that’s another blog post in and of itself). The majority of my readers were so not offended – except for that email and this twitter dude himself.

This still doesn’t sit right with me. It isn’t like I was discussing intimate details of our married life in public, which is something so totally private that I would never share. I feel like other women could sympathize with my dilemma, and that other men could perhaps use this post to understand some things their wives go through.

What are your thoughts?

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Some More Hair Covering Thoughts

When I was first married more than 15 years ago, I did everything to avoid wearing a sheitel. I lived in berets and snoods and scarves. I worked in a Jewish school, so it was acceptable. The wigs were kept for Shabbat and special occasions. There was a point that when the kids were small and saw me put on my wig they started to cry because they knew I was going out without them. With little kids, wigs were not practical, and didn’t suit my wash and wear lifestyle. In those years I was all about comfort and practicality. Fashion and even shoes took a back seat.

When I got divorced I uncovered my hair. It was part of the grieving process. I eventually re-covered it and entered into the dating world. I had wanted to marry someone who understood the importance of this mitzvah for me. Dressing up for dates – somehow a snood or tichel just didn’t match the outfits. I felt better wearing a wig. More grown up, perhaps, in a very weird way. The KoD supports my decision to cover my hair – and if I chose not to, he would support that too, so long as it was a rational thought out decision.

In the last couple of years I have worn a sheitel more than not. When I go to shul or other functions I blend in (in some ways) with everyone else there. I don’t have a need anymore to make any kind of statement with my hair covering or lack thereof. In the summer I have a lot more fun with tichels, and they are cooler to wear. When I was working last year I wore a sheitel every day. It would not have been appropriate to wear a tichel in a work environment.

I also think that if I lived in Israel I probably would not wear a wig at all. It seems to be socially acceptable over there to be religious, cover your hair with whatever covering you want to, and not look out of place anywhere. Here, you could not effectively be a lawyer and argue a case in court, with a snood or a tichel on your head. Now, they are supposed to be tolerant of all races and religions, and you do see lawyers with hijabs etc. But any married Jewish woman lawyer who is a hair coverer will wear a sheitel so as to blend in. We have the option. In Israel, you can have any job and it doesn’t matter what you wear on your head. You are not singled out because of it. (If I am wrong please correct me).

I guess I cover with a wig because it helps me fit in better in our North American society. It is more accepted in my communities that women will wear wigs most of the time, as opposed to hats and scarves etc. It is a fact of life that women spend insane amounts of money of their wigs – just so they can look like they are wearing real hair. It makes absolutely no sense, yet I have bought into it like everyone else around me. Plus a well fitted wig doesn’t give me headaches like the others have done, or like a tichel sometimes does.

I do feel a bit like a hypocrite, but I justify it to myself. But then again, aren’t we all hypocrites to some extent with at least one thing in our life?

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