Being born into a frum world is an honor and a privelege. There are certain things that I take for granted in my world, which I will not benefit from if I were in a different sect. Such as women being valued for being a wife and a mother. I am very grateful that I am not objectified in my world. I am grateful that I can do the things that are in synch with my nature. Like taking care of my children and being the spiritual pulse of the home...
And yet, I feel like this whole concept of learning and earning is very confusing. Like, am I a bad woman if I say that I am not capable of making the money in the house so that my husband can learn? And what about if I decide to buy a few extra luxuries? Am I a person that is forfeiting my Olam Habah? After all, enjoyment is only for the next world.
I was really grappling with these issues, so I decided to call Rebbitzin Leah Kohn. She gave me some wonderful insights.
I think the biggest insight that she gave me was that "PEOPLE ARE NOT GROWING SPIRITUALLY TODAY NOT BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE HIGH ASCPIRATIONS. IT'S BECAUSE THEY SET THEIR SIGHTS TOO HIGH!"
I think that that's the Yetzer Horah of the frum world.
So how do I know what level I am at? How do I know if I am listening to my yetzer horah or not?
For me, this is my BIGGEST struggle!
How do I know if it's my yetzer horah's voice or my yetzer tov's? And even more than that-how do I know if I'm on the level of ascpiring to certain things? All of a sudden, things are a bit more hazy....
Like, having your husband sit and learn. How do I know if I am on that level?
So, I was told, it all depends on YOU. The whole package that Hashem has given you. Your past, your present, your talents and abilities, your husband, your children.... There is no one cookie cutter answer. There are SO many factors involved.
One way of determining the answer sometimes may be your HAPPINESS. (Now I'm talking to a woman here. Not a man. Men also have to be happy but they don't need to take care of small children and a husband...)
It is VERY important for a woman to be happy. Please do not take this out of context. It's MORE important for a woman to do the RIGHT thing. You can't just live life doing things that make you "happy."
On the other hand, you can't live your life constantly being a martyr. If you do this, you will be chasing your husband and children away from you. This is the opposite of what a woman is meant to be.
She is meant to be a beacon of light in her home. A source of serenity and warmth. She is the one everyone comes to when they need a lift. She has the soft touch in handling the people in her household.
And yet, when it comes to choosing between doing a Chesed or doing something to make you happy, it can be a bit tricky... I battle with this a lot. Of course I want to be a giver. Of course it's RIGHT to be a giver. Yet, sometimes I am neglecting myself in the process. And then I sacrifice my happiness. And then EVERYONE around me suffers!
So we have to come to some sort of balance.
Because we really are in this world to GROW and become GREATER people. And to GIVE. And to enjoy SPIRITUALITY. Like Torah and Tefillah and working on our bad moods. And yet , we have to take SMALL steps to get there.
As I quote from Rebbitzin Kaminetzky, "Tafasta Merubah, lo Tafasta!" If you grab too much, you haven't gotten anything at all!
So sometimes, we want our husbands to learn, because we want all the light we can get in this world. And that's so beautiful that the women in this generation want it so badly! Yet, we also have to be REALISTIC about our level. Not always are we on the LEVEL to handle all that. There are many women that are FALLING APART. Is that giving to their families?
Rebbitzin Kohn, told me something else, that comforted me a lot. I was asking her "what about all those stories about those women who had such mesirus nefesh for their husbands learning? Like the woman who gave up her diamond ring for an extra month of learning?"
Her answer was: " you don't know who is getting more sechar. (Reward) could be you are getting more reward. (Could be not.) You don't know who is working harder.
We need to hear these stories because we need to have a peak to work towards. Does this mean we are getting there. Not necessarily. But we need to know what level a human being being can actually attain.
Like eating healthy. We all know that eating healthy is the ultimate. Are we all holding there? No. Should we be striving towards that goal? Yes. But we still need to be honest about the level that we are actually on.
Nobody is perfect in a day. Nobody is born on level 10. Everyone needs to work. That's why we are in this world.
Let's be honest about the level we are actually on.
And don't be afraid to ask Hashem to help you in this decision.