17 Sivan 5779 / Thursday, June 20, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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HomeJudaismHashkafaEmuna in a Woman’s World, Part 1
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Emuna in a Woman’s World, Part 1    

Emuna in a Woman’s World, Part 1

The young lady therefore felt that she was a dreadful Jew and a terrible sinner; without emuna, as she described it, she was not even worthy of being called a kosher Jew...


As I'm sure you all know, one of the functions of a Rebbetzen is to listen to people in distress and try to help them, and where I live there is no lack of people in need of a listening ear. So it was not unusual when a young lady phoned and made an appointment to come and see me.
This young lady is a housewife and mother and as soon as she walked in the door she burst into tears. What came out in a jumble was that after reading seforim on emuna and trying to put the concepts into practice, she was very upset that she was not able to reach the level of emuna described in the seforim. The young lady therefore felt that she was a dreadful Jew and a terrible sinner; without emuna, as she described it, she was not even worthy of being called a kosher Jew.
It had got to the stage where my visitor was having trouble carrying out her ordinary everyday tasks. She was tormented that she was failing in the very basics of yiddishkeit and was therefore not worthy of bringing up her children.
And it set me to thinking, is that true – if I don't have the level of emuna described in the seforim am I such a terrible person; am I really betraying Hashem and betraying His goodness? Am I really not worthy of being a Jewish wife and mother?
And my thoughts turned to my wonderful mother a"h. She was a "simple" woman who everyone knew had total emuna in Hashem and she had certainly never read any of those seforim. But she had totally internalized one thing – Hashem put me in this world to build my family in the way of the Torah. And that's how I remember my mother – the "only" thing she did was bring us up and she cared for us and about us to the end of her days. She did not need outside distractions because she was totally satisfied with her family and content to run her home. Even as a grandmother I knew I could go home to mummy and I'd find her drinking a cup of tea (we're English you know) and interested in my family and my life.
So let's take that apart a little and look at what emuna means from a woman's angle – and how should a woman deal with this issue?
Firstly, we must understand and know that most of the seforim written about emuna are for men; the kind of emuna described in these seforim is not meant for women, and in fact distracts a woman from her role in this world.
So what is a woman to do, must she be satisfied with a "shallower" level of emuna just because she's a woman and shouldn't read all those seforim? Are the loftiest levels of emuna only meant for men? The answer (of course) is no (did you think otherwise); a woman's level of emuna is just as all-encompassing as a man's, just achieved differently.
So let's start by finding out exactly what is Emuna.
Emuna at its simple but awesome core is the belief that there is an Almighty and Righteous G-d – in a nutshell - BELIEF IN HASHEM.
And if I believe in Hashem, I believe that He created the universe and this world, and that He runs this world perfectly.
Okay, that's easy enough to believe, isn't it?
Oh right! So that means I have emuna!
So we're in this world and we believe in Hashem, and the next step is to sort out what He wants of us as Jews.
And how, you might ask, do we do that – and the answer is:
By a man and woman uniting in marriage, and the woman bringing children into this world and raising them according to Torah.
Hashem created the world in such a way that in the optimal family there is both a husband and a wife. The husband's job is to set the level of yiddishkeit in the home and to work at bringing in parnosso, thus freeing the wife to carry out her role of bearing children and raising them. Both partners in the marriage therefore complement each other in order to fulfill Hashem's will, that Klal Yisroel may continue in its pure and untainted form.
But it is the woman on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of the continued existence of Hashem's world. She is the one who not only bears the children, she also raises them. Without the woman raising her children Hashem's will has not been fulfilled.
Look how crucial is the woman's role in this world. SHE is the one who is raising the next generation of Klal Yisroel. SHE is the one who ensures the ongoing existence of Hashem's world. Because of HER work, Hashem's will is fulfilled.
A Yiddishe mother is not "just" a housewife and mother – she is one of the pillars on which the world stands. And when she goes about her daily physical tasks, washing clothes and floors, cooking and cleaning – tasks that she might even feel are sometimes below her dignity - with all these physical actions she is proclaiming her emuna, her belief, in the righteousness of Hashem.
Before we continue, G-d willing next week, let me say that in the next part, we are not talking about working wives and mothers who must help support the family.
This essay has the full endorsement of the Melitzer Rebbe shlit’a.
* Rebbetzen Shaindel Moscowitz, is the Melitzer Rebbetzen    

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