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What’s Mine & Yours is Hers: A woman’s Role in her Husband’s Torah

Malka Forster

Women and Torah It’s an ancient, visceral relationship fused with love, sacrifice, and reverence. It’s also a relationship sometimes fraught with misunderstanding and frustration. In an exclusive interview with Family First, Rebbetzin Yitty Neustadt — daughter of Rabbi Ezriel Tauber; wife of a well-know posek and rav in Yerushalyim; and an ishah chashuvah in her own right — answers a wide range of questions exploring the relationship of women and Torah learning with candor and clarity.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

perlsShattered dreams. Acute disillusion. It sounds terrible, but these are the terms I feel best describe my marriage. In a gradual, painful development, “masmid of the yeshivah” somehow morphed into “businessman who barely opens a sefer.” I am deeply, unspeakably disappointed with him — and with the diluted Torah atmosphere of my home. Is there anything I can do?

 

I’d like to turn the question around to you: What kind of Torah learning do you do each day? Do you work daily on cultivating a deep connection with Hashem? Are you totally invested in the Torah your neshamah needs to survive?

What about the “Torah” of women: chesed and tzniyus? Do you toil in these core obligations day and night, as you’d like your husband to do with his?

If not, I ask, why should you expect a husband immersed in Torah? Is he a ruchniyus-producing machine, dutifully spouting divrei Torah and magically creating a glorious Torah atmosphere while you sit back and enjoy the ride?

A woman once lamented to me about the sorry state of her Shabbos table. “All my husband talks about is car models and politics,” she cried. I asked her: “And what do you do on Shabbos afternoon? Do you open a Chumash, or even The Midrash Says? Or is it an afternoon of magazine reading?

“You want him to be a masmid, but where is your love for Torah?”

Women are the roots of their homes. When they are truly invested in Torah learning — as expressed in their desire to learn and acquire Torah insights at every available opportunity — their husbands will follow suit.  When they make Torah the hub of their lives, the ripples spread naturally.

“But women are not supposed to learn,” you counter.

It is a feeble excuse.

We should not learn Gemara, but as educated, intelligent women of the 21st century, should we not be loading our minds with words of Torah, rather than Newsweek?

Yes — women are expected to learn halachah, mussar, and Yahadus. And if we really want to love Torah, we need to fill up on the real stuff. Keep to a diet of only shallow, enjoyable reading, and you’ll have lost your taste for hilchos Shabbos.

Love of Torah must stem from you — and it will only come when you soak up its words, devoting a few sacrosanct minutes each day. 

 

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