Monday, July 17, 2017

A Woman's Role - The Trilogy

The gemara in Shabbos [67] talks about forbidden idolatrous practices [דרכי אמורי]. One of them is calling a man by a woman's name or vice versa. [Keep in mind that this piece is being written by a man whose family and friends call him "Ally". So I am not really one to talk:-). I was once teaching in a Seminary and there were three "Ally's" in the room. I was the only male of the three. So PLEASE call me by my male name "Elchonon"!].

What's the big deal? So you call a boy "Joyce" [think of how the famous writer "James" felt when he realized what his last name was] and a girl "Dwayne"??

It's a HUUUUUGEEEEEE deal. A name represents the person's essence. When a person denies their gender identity it is a catastrophe for the person, for families and for society. For the person it is a catastrophe because if he is a man and defines himself as a woman then he is neither this nor that. Because he remains a man but denies it and on the other side never becomes a woman [no amount of surgery can change that. No straight guy would marry a man who had a gender altering surgery]. It is bad for families because when a man isn't being a masculine man and chooses femininity he loses his attraction to his wife and denies his children the strong father they need [among other problems]. When a woman becomes manly, she becomes far less attractive to her husband. What is attractive about a woman is her femininity. It is HORRIBLE for her children because they need a motherly mother and not a fatherly mother. It is bad for all of society because it creates a world without definitions and automatically without boundaries. [Note: I thank G-d for having growing up in a home where my mother was very much a mother and my father very much a father. No confusion there]. 

That is in a nutshell. 

This shtikel that we will copy is more current events than the latest headlines. The Rav teaches that our lives are based on obligations and not whatever we feel like doing or being. The classic sefer Mesilas Yesharim begins 

יסוד החסידות ושורש העבודה היא שיתברר ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו בעולמו. 

Life is about finding out what your OBLIGATIONS are and fulfilling them. Western society talks a lot about RIGHTS. The Chumash is all about obligations. Once you are defined as a
"Jewish male" or "Jewish female" that entails certain obligations that you must fulfill. The ancient [and contemporary] idolaters didn't believe in that. I am whatever I feel like I am. Today I am a man so I will use the men's bathroom. Tomorrow I will be a woman and use the women's bathroom. Next week I will be "undecided" and maybe not go to the bathroom at all [until they make a bathroom for "undecideds"].  

If you are married and don't feel like fulfilling your marital duties [be they emotional, material, sexual or otherwise] - well, nobody asked you. One can't change his or her "name" i.e. purpose. 

Take our President, and, frankly, many other of our Presidents [who are elected because they represent in many ways the current attitudes and behaviors of their times. BTW - Why is JFK considered such a hero, knowing how he acted in his personal life?? Ahhhh - America!!:-)]. He was married. That was who he was. But he changed his name to "unmarried" - while he was still married. That enabled him to relate to other women as if he was married to them [he has actually bragged about his sexual exploits with otherwise seemingly happily married woman]. That is דרכי אמורי - the idolatrous practice of changing your name. What my desires are NOW is what I am. The Torah wages a battle against such an attitude. You are who you are and must never shirk your responsibilities. When the pasuk says שם רשעים ירקב - The name of the rasha should rot, it means that this philosophy of changing your name to please whatever whims you have - is a rotten philosophy.  

"הוא בשמה והיא בשמו, יש משום דרכי האמורי".

יסוד דרך ד' הסלולה בישראל הוא מילוי החובה. התעודה האלהית היא מקפת את האדם למלאות את תכונתה. נוצר האדם על פי גולו להיות איש או אשה - היינו למלא תפקיד ידוע בהוויה. השם המייחד את העצמיות של הנקרא, כולל בקרבו את הצד היותר יסודי שבהוויה. כיון שהוויה היא חובה, עבודה ומשמרת, אי אפשר להעלות על הלב כי אם להתפשט בשכלול החיים שבתוך החוג, המצוייר מהגורל העליון. דרכי האמורי נוסדו על ההנחה המגושמה שהחיים הם 'מילוי-החפץ', לא 'מילוי-חובה'. את החפצים אפשר להחליף על פי השפעת חפץ יותר מלבב. חיי המשפחה המוטבעים על פי מילוי החובה, מכוונים את התפקיד לכל צד, עד אשר עם כל ההשפעות שכל אחד מקבל מזולתו לא יומר היסוד של ההויה ותכונת החיים - שהוא יסוד השם. מה שאין כן דרכי האמורי התרים רק אחרי מילוי הרצון, ועם עדנת הרצון והרמת ערכו על פי החובה, אין להם כל עסק. הם מורים גם להחליף את עצם החיים שלהם כשהרוח יעלה להיות נוטה לזה. וכל האורחות היותר נלוזים, יכולים הם להיות מתפשטים על פי שילוח רסן מעל החיים, מאין לו (להם) תעודה וחובה, כי אם חפץ ומילוי שרירות לב. תכונת חיים כאלה מתעתקת מנפש לנפש באין מעמד, הולכים "כגלגל לפני סופה" "ושם רשעים ירקב".