Riddle me this – what’s the difference between this and this?
In both cases, the parties deal with a fixed legal disadvantage, yet one is decried (the get refusal) while the other (the pro-woman property and child custody laws) are lauded.
What makes a good baalabos?
In light of On the Main Line’s recent review, my answer would usually be an emphatic no. People trained in yeshiva and kollel generally have little to no understanding of male and female sexuality outside of relevant texts which they generally don’t really get. They lack any kind of training or education and obviously lack experience. To them, sex is at most a technical halachic obligation and at worst something disgusting to be tolerated.
This is exemplified in even in the RZ communities in Israel. Kallah classes focus almost exclusively on niddah and relevant prohibitions and only in a minor way on actual sexual contact. All sorts of crazy hanhagot and recommendations are taught as the letter of the law, with the result that the truly observant end up unsatisfied and deeply frustrated.
This is not simply a matter of not having enough fun. Sex is a critical component of physical and emotional intimacy in a marriage. Frustration or non-activity can help drive a marriage off the rails even if it’s not explicitly mentioned in the divorce papers. Even if this doesn’t lead to divorce, the subsequent distancing between the spouses can rub off in the household and radiating onto the children.
If anyone asked me, I would encourage couples to actively search and read up on the literature of mutual attraction and pleasuring in married life. It’s muttar now, enjoy things to the fullest. Get books like “Married Men Sex Life” and learn how to maintain attraction over time.
The problem with making my “no” an unqualified one is the fact that a substantial part of Orthodoxy, perhaps the majority, would not do so. Having been educated to avoid sexual material at all costs and ask a Rabbi on virtually everything. So they won’t do independent research even if it’s suggested.
The book reviewed by S. seems to meet a happy medium. Although I haven’t read it, it sounds like it might provide relief for thousands of couples who are suffering from a suffocating anti-sex culture that makes Puritanism look like Jersey Shore. I hope it is only the beginning, and that more such books are on the way.
Let’s ask the readers:
Should Rabbis and by extension halacha have a role in the bedroom outside of nidda restrictions?
A note to my Secular, Reform and Conservative Brethren across the sea:
Want to contribute to Jewish continuity? Have more than 1-2 children and raise them Jewish. That is all.
PS That generally involves getting married, which you’re also not doing.
Recently, my family and I had an interesting discussion with a Shabbat guest. She complained that Orthodox Jewish girls are given extensive amounts of shiurim about family and couples’ life (in her case from age 14 onward). On the other hand, boys are given nothing – no couples’ advice or advice on sex, no discussion on how to raise a family or run a household. It reaches a level that many don’t even know what a “girl” is outside the internet.
Worse still, Jewish boys have no real role models for manhood and fatherhood outside of learning (really, when’s the last time you heard parenting advice based on a gadol?). No encouragement to develop their masculinity – either physically or psychologically and no emphasis on development of personality from a shy boy to an assertive, confident man. No “ideal image” of a baalabos – which is after all the greatest insult one can give in yeshiva. Is it any wonder that all the religious boys on “Srugim” have about half a personality between them?
It is sad but true – “patriarchal” (Modern) Orthodox Judaism has abandoned its sons at the same time it is constantly trying to pry up its daughters.
So I’d like to ask my readers – any suggestions on how to remedy this situation?
I believe that the Jewish world – from the Orthodox to the secular – needs its own manosphere: a virtual community that emphasizes and strengthens Jewish male positive roles, prevents injustices against men by women and ensures better relations between the sexes. A community that would dispense red pill wisdom without the crassness and borderline pornography you see in the pick-up community. The Jewish equivalent of Dalrock, Haley’s Halo and the immortal grerp, if you will.
A recent blog post by a frum baal bayit may well be the start of such an online discussion. Like most starts, it is far from flawless. The essay about men’s problems in O Judaism is rambling and often incoherent. Still, the post does make the following important talking points:
1) The male baal bayit is a second class citizen in O Judaism. They are often considered less than talmidei chachamim. There are role models for talmidei chachamim, women, lay leaders – but none for baalei bayit. He can expect criticism and opprobrium from all corners but very little praise and exhaltation. The life of a baal bayit is often nothing more than lots of hard work and constant demands.
2) Shalom bayit classes often start from the assumption that women are wonderful and the men are layabouts. This is similar to the “man up” lectures in American churches of today.
3) The mass media coverage of sarvanut creates the impression that men are solely responsible for marriage problems and divorces. Yet frivolous divorce by O women is never discussed – even though it may be common (We don’t have any research on the subject to know for sure). And we haven’t even discussed the moral swamp of cuckoldry - regardless of how common it is.
I hope that discussion on these issues permeates the Jewish world. We should not let the desire to improve the woman’s lot in Judaism to result in leaving the men behind.
You know, we spend so much time worrying about the problems of the “shidduch crisis” in the Orthodox world. Solutions are proposed and people blamed, but I’ve yet to see anyone talk about what’s happening in other parts of the Jewish world. If they did, it’d put our problems in perspective.
According to this link, the Reform marriage rate is 61% and the Conservative rate is 53%. That means that 40% of Reform Jews and almost 50% of Conservative Jews aren’t getting married period, and don’t even talk to me about having children.
What is a “crisis” by us is thus a full-blown catastrophe by them. Even if every single Conservative/Reform Jew would stay within the fold, their numbers would shrink by sheer demographic inertia. I have to wonder whether this is one of those times where interdenominational dialogue is not only permitted but absolutely necessary…