Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Marital Roles

"The female is the נקבה שכרך אלי) נקבה) Genesis 30. 28)...that which receives a vocation. The man chooses a calling, creates a position for himself, the woman receives both by attaching herself to a man and entering into his calling and position. The girl blossoms into a woman, a Jewess, and only at the side of her husband does she at length acquire a separate existence, and the narrower sphere of activity in which, united with her husband, she is called upon to perform her task as woman and Jewess in a definite calling and definite position. But just because the woman has not to acquire a calling and position for herself, she remains the nurse of all that is purely human in man. The great words with which the Father of humanity, as He fosters and watches over its development, announces its ultimate salvation and ingathering after all the mistakes it has made in the course of history are:  כי ברא ה‘ חדשה בארץ נקבה תסובב גבר “God creates something new on earth, a woman encircles a man” (Jeremiah 31,21). The calling and position for which a man has to struggle are really nothing but the foundation on which he has to build his life’s work, and carry out his own share in the general task of humanity. And there is a danger that he may completely lose himself in this struggle, that in striving to acquire the means he will lose sight of his real vocation and completely forget the great goal and his own task as a man, nay, that he will sacrifice and subordinate to these efforts what is genuinely human in himself. This is an error which can almost be regarded as the key to all the mistakes made in history. It is then the woman who leads him back to what is truly human in him. The riddle of history is solved with the domination of woman, with the restriction of the man to the sphere of the genuinely human which has been placed under the care of the woman. It is the return of the citizen to the man." R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch, Judaism Eternal II (New York: Soncino, 1976) p. 51.

“This will-subordination of the wife to the husband is a necessary condition of the unity which man and wife should form together. The subordination cannot be the other way about, since the man as zachar has to carry forward the divine and human messages which through every marriage are to be a living force in the household, and to which the husband and wife are in union to devote their forces. Just as the first command of God though addressed to the man was given through him for the woman as well, just as in consequence Adam should not have thrown over the command of God for the sake of Eve but Eve ought to have subjected her desire to the will of God as expressed to her though Adam, so thenceforward the husband was to be responsible for the task imposed upon man by God and to carry it out in his marriage and household.” R' Hirsch, Judaism Eternal, vol. II, p 58.

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