I ask myself this question a lot. Is her role to cook and clean? But she can still be a wife if she hires a maid. So that must not be her sole purpose.
Maybe her role is to just take care of the kids. That doesn’t either seem to fit, since there are circumstances that a woman is unable to even have children. And what about if her maid helps her take care of her children. Or she sends them out to playgroups and babysitters. Does she still fit into the category of a wife?
My neighbor just gave me another identity of a wife. She is the ENABLER. Sounds good but for some reason I don’t either see it fitting. Because she can technically hire someone else to ENABLE her husband and her children.
So what truly is her role?
I grappled with this a lot in my life and periodically I come up for air as I understand this concept anew each time. Meaning, sometimes this idea is so clear to me in my gut that I am so focused and driven to fulfill this role. And sometimes, I am so CONFUSED. I think to myself “I thought I understood this idea and now I’m in a deep dark see of confusion.” Until I gain an even deeper insight into this view.
So what is this answer that keeps coming and going in my head?
It is that I am an EZER KNEGDO!
You thought I was going to tell you something you didn’t know?
Well, you know it! It just gets so confusing as to how it applies!
An Ezer means that you HELP your husband fulfill his mission here in this earth. Whatever that may be.
Your husband is going to have strengths and inevitably weaknesses as well. You are here to capitalize on his strengths and HELP him overcome his weaknesses.
Sometimes this means that you will also be KNEGDO. Meaning, you will have no choice but to disagree with him. Or you may have to pull some strings from behind his back to prevent him from falling into holes. Like Eishes On Ben Peles. Who didn’t want her husband to be involved in the machlokes of Korach so she stood outside and combed her hair so that Korach and his men would not enter her home.
Being an Ezer Knegdo means taking the ENTIRE picture of your home into consideration. It’s not JUST about cooking and cleaning and taking care of the kids. ( although it does include this as well.) It’s not ONLY about creating discipline and structure in your home. ( Although it DOES include this as well.) It’s not JUST about keeping a happy atmosphere in the home through compliments and laughter. (Although it definitely is a big PART of the picture.)
It is about tapping into your husbands (and children’s) real essence and helping them get to where they need to go.
So it’s really all of the above. (Plus more:-) in case you thought your plate was full already.)
Now people may ask me, but HOW DO I KNOW?!?! (Most women will ask this question to me in a high pitched voice of hysteria.)
Telling me to cook and clean and bake and smile and teach…. Is easy. Because these are all concrete things that I can touch and measure. Either there’s supper on the table or there isn’t. Either my children are smiling or they aren’t.
But understanding my families tafkid? How am I supposed to know? These are all eeby jeeby stuff that don’t really really fit into my vocabulary. The next world? Sure, I believe in Olam Habah. But how this applies to me is for the intellectual minds. I am just a simple minded person.
Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.
(I think I’ll be a millionaire if I’d get a nickel for every time I hear that line.)
My dear, every person was put into this world for a purpose, a mission. And NOBODY can do what the next person was put into this world to do. EVERY PERON DEEP DOWN KNOWS THEIR PURPOSE.
I cannot tell you yours and you cannot tell me mine. There’s a certain feeling of contentment that comes from living your mission. And if you’ve ever experienced this in your life, you know EXACTLY what I mean.
There’s a famous story about R’Shachne Zone. It was a time in klal yisroel when it felt like moshiach was around the corner. (Similar to now.) People came to him to ask him what they should work on to be prepared for moshiach. To which R’ Shachne answered, “every person knows deep down what they need to do in their life. I cannot make a general statement for the public.”
And the same way a person knows themselves, they know their spouses and their children. And they know what it takes to help them get them there.
And if you feel the social fear getting in your way, just remember. Your friends may like you now, but later on, YOU have to live with your decision. In other words, if we live our lives for everyone else – or “to fit in” we end up suffering the consequences later on.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. If you choose this path, it is not an easy one! There will be a LOT of pits and rocks along the way. Believe me! Finding your true calling is NEVER easy. The yetzer horah is very aware of what will give us ultimate happiness. Which is the reason so few people take this route!
This is a hard undertaking. A VERY hard one’! Because all of a sudden a we face uncertainty. And when we face uncertainty we need to turn to Hashem. THIS is VERY hard!
We don’t want to be vulnerable to Hashem. We’d rather follow people’s advice. We’d rather do what was tried and true. Then we don’t have to make any mistakes AND if we happen to make some of those errors, we can always BLAME it on the person that advised us.
We therefore don’t have to take any RESPONSIBILITY for our lives! We don’t have to think, we don’t have to feel. We can just move like robots.
When we start to look inside ourselves and LISTEN to our inner voices, it may be uncomfortable! It may also start to look a little bit MESSY.
You know how they say, “to do a good cleanup job, you may first have to make a mess.”
But it’s worth it!
You are worth it! Your husband is worth it! Your family is worth it!
Invest the time and the energy into finding out what you and your husbands true role is here on this earth. AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT!