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Weekly Newsletter Message

The Goal of Feminism

What is the goal of feminism?

Is it equality alone?  Or is there also a greater goal?

The Zohar on this weeks Parsha states, regarding the Song of Miriam,  that it is the unique song of the Jewish woman that will bring healing and redemption to the world. (see www.chabadrt.org/2744)

To elucidate, I’d like to share with you Hinda’s speech from Spa for the Soul this past Sunday.

"The future is female!

No, we’re not getting rid of all the men, sorry ladies :)

Maybe I should say, the future is femininity (rather than the future is female) It’s a little more PC :)

Judaism, since its inception, has championed femininity.

There are feminine values and masculine values, and while each has its time and place, and men and women each have the capacity for both, Judaism has always placed feminine values above masculine values.  

Examples of feminine values are empathy, nurturing and patience, whereas assertiveness, courage and competitiveness are examples of masculine values.

Before the Torah was given masculine values were respected, while feminine values rejected.

Great men were those who vanquished their enemy. Forgiveness was seen a weakness and competitiveness and ruthlessness were the hallmarks of society.

But the Torah came along and said “love the stranger, care for the orphan and protect the weak”.

Judaism teaches that peace is greater than war, forgiveness the master of vengeance.

Judaism champions the nurturing, as opposed to the competitive, spirit within us. Essentially, Judaism started a feminine revolution.

And who better positioned to carry out this revolution than the Jewish woman.

Yes, we can be masculine when we need to (we have proven that we can be assertive, independent and courageous) but that’s not our unique message and contribution to the world. The world has had plenty of masculinity, it is time for the feminine voice to be heard!

Expressing our G-d given gift of femininity we can teach the world to be more compassionate and nurturing.

We can teach the world that peace is greater than war, that bravery is found in acts of kindness, that how much our children admire us is far more important than how much our business associates do, that our rank in the Forbes 400 is secondary to where we stand in our relationships, and that to empower others is the greatest form of power.

The future is femininity! It is time for our nurturing feminine spirit to bring healing and redemption to a fractured world. "

Of course the above applies for men as well as women. While there is a time and place for courage, assertiveness, competitiveness and other "masculine values",  we must cultivate our "feminine values" such as empathy, patience and our ability to nurture and love.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 

 

Greatness is a Habit

Wouldn’t you love to be a more positive, optimistic and joyful person?

Well you can and all it takes is practice.  

In this week’s Parsha, we read about the first seven plagues. Despite the harshness of these plagues, Pharaoh refuses to let the Jews go because “G-d had hardened his heart”.

But what happened to Pharaoh’s free choice? How could Pharaoh be punished for refusing to comply with G‑d’s demands to grant freedom to the Israelites, if G‑d Himself “hardened his heart”?

Nachmanadies explains that G-d’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart during the last five plagues was a result of Pharoh stubbornly hardening his own heart during the first five plagues.

In other words, Pharaoh had habituated himself to be stubborn and hardhearted. At this point, after years of a hardened heart, it had become his natural disposition, it was no longer his choice.

With today’s understanding of neuroplasticity, this is even easier to understand. Repeated behaviors create new neural pathways that then become natural and automatic. Due to Pharaoh’s decisions and habits he was now hardwired to be hardhearted.

Just as this is the case with bad habits such as stubbornness, so too it is with good habits.

Push yourself to act joyfully or think optimistically often enough and it will become second nature. You literally rewire your brain.

You will be good at what you practice. Practice worrying and you will be the best worrier, practice kindness and you will be the kindest person.

Greatness isn’t a gift, it’s habit 

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Benjy Silverman 

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