Sunday, May 31, 2009

Facts are stubborn. Hasids are stubborner.

You always gotta respect other people and their opinions. But when you're in your own bedroom, lying in your underwear, I think you can voice all your nasty thoughts about others. If some nut wants to listen in on your private conversation with yourself, that doesn't make you rude. I'm now talking to myself. If you folks want to listen in, that's your issue.

Every morning, we bless G-d for not making us a Goy, a slave, or a woman. Straightforward blessing. Yay God: He didn't make me a woman.

I have an issue with the phenomenon of clearly defined halachos getting pushed aside by minhagim which we do because "azoy firt men" ("that's how we do it") or because that's how the Rebbe did it. The prime example
is was davening shacharis right before sundown, after waking up at noon and kratzing around until six.

But yesterday I heard one the really took the cake. Get this: in beis harav the women say "shelo asani isha." I suppose I wouldn't want to posit that I know better than the ladies of beis harav. But this certainly looks like one of those beis-harav-only minhagim. Whatever.

Anyhow, this chassidisheh maidel who was telling me this, explained to me the reason: the beracha is for the extra mitzvos we get. That's why an eved ivri says "shelo asani eved." He's not free, but he has all the mitzvos of a freeman. (The "eved" mentioned in the beracha is an eved Kena'ani.) Now a woman could do all the man's mitzvos. Therefore she can thank G-d for giving her the opportunity to do said mitzvos, by reciting said beracha.

My first reaction was "PUUUUUULLLEEEEEEZZ." But I understand that that does not an intelligent response make. So I'll try to support and defend my initial gag.

1. A woman--even in beis harav--does not do all the mitzvos a man does. Did you, aidel maidel, ever put on tefillin? wear tzitizis? Do you say krias shema b'zmana? Do you eat in the sukkah religiously? Do you have your own seder plate at the seder? Do you light your own Chanukah menorah and make kiddush for yourself? Technically you could do all these things. But you don't. When Rashi's daughters want to say "shelo asani isha," then we'll talk.

2. Actually, we won't talk even then. Doing everything a man does will not make you obligated to do everything a man does. Sorry daughters of Rashi. It's "she'asani kirtzono" for you.

3. Suppose you'll say, "forget about obligations. Look at what the lady is actually doing." To this I say, the blessing is for G-d
making you the way you are. Even a ger, who is a full-fledged Jew, does not say "shelo asani goy" (according to the non-kabbalistic opinions mentioned in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch 46:4) because he was indeed created a Goy. Certainly a woman, who was created a woman and always will be a woman (to quote the Alter Rebbe, "A woman cannot become obligated in all the mitzvows like a Goy who can convert and a slave whose master can free him" [ibid. 5]) can't thank G-d for not making her a woman.

By the way, in case you folks are wondering what "she'asani kirtzono" means, the Alter Rebbe says it is "k'mo shematzdik alav es hadin al hara'ah" (loosly translated as "like one who declares the justice of G-d's seemingly evil judgement.") The expression "tzidduk hadin" ("declaring the justice of God's judgement") is usually used in connection with someone's death. So you know what kind of "evil judgement" being a woman is.

46 comments:

  1. The last few posts were too short. So I made this one too long.

    ReplyDelete
  2. great way to win the feminist vote..(however correct you may be)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Who said i'm trying to win any votes?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just putting this out there: There is no source in the gemara for Sheasani Kirtzono. That one is feminist BS. OK, maybe a little more valid that feminist BS, but still no source.

    I hope you feel better now that you've got it all out of your system.

    ReplyDelete
  5. P.S: This post made me smile many times, and chuckle one or twice.

    ReplyDelete
  6. C: Glad you liked the post, even though it violated your rule of respecting others. so have you seen the light and will you repent from your wayward ways?

    ReplyDelete
  7. No, but neither will you, so we're equal :).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Agav, why do I feel like you're mocking my rule about respect?

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's meta-disrespect! i'm disrespecting the rule against disrespect.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's your blog... you make the rules here.

    ReplyDelete
  11. regarding your previous comment: Why do you persist in your wayward ways?

    ReplyDelete
  12. The super holy ones--no names--say it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Not I, until last night.

    ReplyDelete
  14. hmmm, talking to a chassidish maidel...
    seems a bit unchassidish, if u know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, you changed the title of the post :P.

    Altie-and you clam to be nonjudgmental.

    ReplyDelete
  16. altie: "chassidish" and "eidel" is a matter of degree.

    C: first I needed to warn the readership. Once they were duly warned had displayed their Hasidic stubbornness, the title could be changed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "meidel" is also a matter of degree.

    ReplyDelete
  18. nope. the way G-d, in His Infinite wisdom created you, that is what you are.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My first thought was there goes the neighborhood, but it would seem I jumped too soon to a conclusion:
    Eliezer, in Beis Harav there was all kinds of a crazy shtick, uber m'fregt nisht kin kashas auf di tzariskaya mishpocho.

    You're midas ha'emes on crack-cocaine. As in most cases, your complaint may be more or less correct, maybe even too close to home (auf a ganiv brent a hitel v'dal) - but you leave no room for the human condition.
    E, we all struggle. We all have our ideas, and try to stick to them . . . and we falter. cut us some slack or it'll end up like the midrash quoted in the beginning of RaNaT!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cheerio: Great to hear that you're on the non-"Shelo asanai isha"-saying side.

    Mottel: the post isn't about people violating halacha because of their human failings. It's about people serlf-righteously violating halacha because of extra-halachic sources, such as "azoy firt men."

    I didn't say whether beis harav was right or wrong. I only said that the regular aidel maidels out there shouldn't say it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can tell you that as bochur, if I were an aidel meidal, I'd say it . . . (then again B"H I'm not . . . )

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have seen some women who keep this ridiculous minhag of saying shelo asan isha.
    however I dont believe it has any source in minhag beis horav,
    zalman jaffe spoke to the rebbetzin about this and while she reffered him to reb zaman shimon, it was quite clear the question was whether to say she'asani kirtzono or not (there are conflicting reports about minhag beis horav in that) but no one even thought of such a ridiculous notion at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  23. jewnonymous open idJune 2, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    ps this is te same anonymous as above. can anyone post any help, i have an open id accoutn but when i try using it i am told my open id credentials cannot be verified?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Gerim say shelo asani goy,

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anon: You may be interested in the letter from the Rebbe about this, published in Sha'arei Halacha U'minhag, and translated by yours truly, visible at
    http://crowndepths.blogspot.com/2009/05/and-also.html?showComment=1243748535049#c7640163155849490819

    le7: as I noted in the post, there's a machlokes about gerim.

    ReplyDelete
  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  27. There once was a little maidel
    Who was always sheltered and cradled

    But one day she met Baruch
    Who taught her the shulchan aruch

    She was quite shocked to find
    How she had been so blind

    What she thought was humanistic
    Was actually quite misogynistic

    With tears in her eyes she walked away and ran
    Now she thanks God, for not making her a man

    ReplyDelete
  28. Aha! Yeshivish Atheist! I know you're real name!

    On a serious note, I'm honored that a "big-name" blogger commented on my humble blog. And the poem was really good!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hate to break it to you E, but my name is not a big secret. You definitely wouldn't be the first blogger. But yeah enjoy :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Are you sure your last name isn't made up?

    ReplyDelete
  31. LE7 Are you sure yours isn't?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Not because it sounds funny, just because it's a very convenient last name to have when you call yourself the "Yeshivish Athiest."

    Yeah I'm sure. Do a quick google search of it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "Are you sure your last name isn't made up?"

    Of course it's made up. All names are. Sure some have been around longer than others, but they are still the products of humanity non the less.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Not made up but hand selected for blogging purposes...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Stop picking on the kallah!

    (Do I sound like Bridezilla yet?)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Just clicked on a random post. Azoy firt min goes back to the times of the gemara as a way of deciding what to do when you have nothing else to go on. THe practice of using it in the face of halach dates to c. 200 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I used to wonder the source of this principle that "azoy firt men" trumps halacha. Then I realized, the source is "va'il azoy firt men." It's beautifully circular.

    ReplyDelete
  38. -e: the makor is ma'aseh rav. If we see a minhag amongst klal yisroel, that gedolei yisroel never protested, then we can be somech on it . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  39. No, it's the gemara "puk chazi". The idea that they never protested proves anything presupposes that every hair a person twitches is under dinei mamonus baalus of the "gedoylim" a concept that is lo haya vlo nivrah

    ReplyDelete

Forth shall ye all hold.