Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CONTROVERSY AHEAD: who should work in a family?

I'm very strict with my Judaism and most of my friends are Yeshivish. However, I don't think I could be considered yeshivish because I'm anti-kollel. I think to have the wife work so that the man can learn and then get this super low-end child care is selfish. The children should come first.

One income is ok, when it's the woman's, so that the man can LEARN. However, when it's the man's, I'm a villain for thinking I should be home with the children. A friend of mine, kollel wife, told me, "well men are obligated to learn Torah and women aren't."

The reality is no one is obligated to learn. All of this comes from the Shema's obligation to teach your children and that really ends up being the woman more than the man, anyhow.... So, the obligation should actually fall more on the woman than the man. However, DUH, that's what we have rabbis for. We learn the basics and go to them when we need something.

The solution is not for the woman to learn, either.

One needs to be knowledgeable enough to raise children and teach them, live observantly themselves, not memorize and digest the whole Talmud. I mean if you can read the whole Talmud one half hour-one page a day in seven years. Plus, the average Jewish IQ is supposed be 115, not the 105 or so average for the reg population which should make it even easier for people to grasp those necessary basics without extended study.... daf yomi and a class here and there should be acceptable for everyday Jewish life. One can consult with rabbis and take refresher classes for the other things that come up. Don'tcha think?

When people in their 60's and 70's were my age this is how it was. Masses were not told to learn full time at the expense of the kids. People worked. If they studied Gemara once a week regularly, that was a lot. They went to rabbis with their questions. Also, they didn't have all this "chumrah of the week" schtus. That's the real reason for so much learning, "keeping up with the Cohens" is about being frummer than the next guy and adding on chumrah after chumrah to "outfrum" your neighbor.

Learning full time should be for those who become rabbis. For others, perhaps they could learn full time during the summers when they are in college. If there was demand for this, the programs would sprout up. I can understand learning full time for a year or two after high school. However, I think the current situation is more than less idealic. The first obligation of the Torah is to be fruitful and multiply. We should be using more resources towards the next generation. Donations should be focused on day schools and kiruv schools that take in former public school kids. Learning full time should be recognized for what it is, a luxury that poor people should not feel pressured to attain when it's not realistically feasible.

Furthermore, when the mothers are working full time but the father's are not, the day care options are not so great. At least if both father and mother work full time, they can afford a higher quality substitute for a mother's love.

Now, should Hashem be so kind as to send me that special someone, it's not that I want spend my hours bathing a baby and changing poopy diapers, attempting to cook supper while constantly interrupted by some crisis with the kids. It's more like, I have seen the nannies up close and personally and it's not pretty.


  1. I admire you for the tough and courageous road you've taken in life.
    I've learned to just refer to myself simply as a 'Sinai Jew'.

  2. Learning is something which never ends. It would be nice to "discuss the holy books with the learned men seven hours every day". But our first responsibility is towards our families. That means making sure they are secure, self-sufficient mensches, capable of being good and doing well in an increasingly unpredictable world.