Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feminists for Negiah

I don't remember exactly when I learned what the term, "shomer negiah" meant, but I do know I was probably in middle school and that it was lobbed at me as an accusation:

"You're shomer negiah?" in a tone of, "Oh, you're one of those weirdos..."

"Negiah" is the concept in Jewish Law that forbids physical contact with members of the opposite sex, other than certain close relatives.

It's a hard concept for many people. After all, what's the big deal about shaking a guy's hand? It's not like a little hug is going to hurt anyone, right?

I'm not going to go into the "to shake or not to shake hands" argument now because it's long, tedious, and subject to many personal and halachic opinions. What I want to talk about right now is why women should be pro-negiah.

I know plenty of girls\women who are not shomer negiah (meaning, they do touch members of the opposite sex) and sometimes I just feel like yelling at them, "What the heck is wrong with you? You're giving him the milk when he should be buying the cow!" (Yeah, that's a bad analogy, visually, but I'm going to stick to it because it works.)

In Judaism, touch between a man and a woman is something sacred, to be preserved and cherished within a marriage. But what farmer is going to buy a cow when he can get milk for free, without the worries of all the expenses and maintenance that come with it? What guy is going to marry a girl if she'll give him that sacred touch without having to buy her a ring?

Honestly, girls, if he really loves and respects you, don't you think that he should value you enough to marry you? You can argue, "But we're too young," or, "We're saving up until we have enough money to get married," but when it all comes down to it, it's about commitment.

Tell him that he can only have that kiss after he's put that ring on your finger and signed the kesubah (Jewish pre-nuptial agreement) and I guarantee that if he really does love you, he'll be on his way out to buy that ring.

So have some respect for yourselves, ladies, and demand what you're worth. You're worth the price of the whole cow, not just the price of the milk.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quote Time, for a Time of Tragedy

"why is everybody always chasing We? ... ain't no one gonna break My stride; ain't no one gonna hold Me down. oh no. I got to keep on moving, stay Alive."
-Matisyahu, "Jerusalem"

In the aftermath of the recent horrifying tragedies in Mumbai, this song really struck a chord with me.

These lines kind of represent the Big Question that we all automatically ask when such a tragedy occurs:


Why does G-d allow such evil to be perpetrated?
Why were these wonderful, caring, incredible people killed?
Why is there so much brutality in the world?
And, ultimately:
Why hasn't G-d delivered us from this brutal Exile yet? Haven't we suffered enough?

There are no satisfactory answers out there and the second line in my quote is the only response that we can come up with:

We will go on. We will not allow those who hate us to hold us down. We will Live to fight another day, in spite of these tragedies.

And, ultimately, we will be the last ones standing.