The Rabbi and the Second Shift
When I talk to people of my generation, doesn't matter if they're Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish, German, or Japanese (I could go on with that but I think you get the idea), they talk about their parents and their traditional roles.
Sure, they complain about old school parenting, whipping out the belt for effect, silent but deadly looks. But at least the food was on the table, the laundry clean, and the kids got to bed by 10:00. (Yes, I'm way over-generalizing, I know, I know).
But when I talk to people a generation or two younger, they talk about their role confusion, and how between the two of them working, nothing gets done since nobody particularly wants to claim this job, or that job. Sometimes one of the two will try ALL the second shift jobs, burn out, and need me to fill out forms for family leave. So burnt out.
The kids are on the Internet until the next morning, don't understand about alarm clocks, think that gang-banging could be a concept (so bored).
What to do, what to do.
Don't ask me, I just thought I'd rant a little.
I'll pass this one along, a story I've repeated about 2 zillion times, maybe even on this blog.
The story goes about a young man who sat in Kollel and learned Torah (the Holy Books) for a living. Orthodox Jews respect Torah learning so much, that they set up groups of men to learn professionally just to make sure the world continues to spin properly. The ones who are paid to do this are married, and it's generally expected that wives will earn a living somehow, too, as well as bear children and see to it that they're well-groomed.So you see, friends, at some point you just have to figure it out.
So this young fellow, Yankel, was expected to be on time for morning prayers at the synagogue; that's one of the expectations if you take a place in the Kollel, you make it to the meetings for prayer 3 times a day on time. And he was forever late for the morning prayers, in fact he often didn't make it to them at all.
One day the head of the Kollel took him aside and said to him, "Yankel, what's going on? You never make it to shacharit (morning prayers). What is your excuse, anyway? It's not right, you know."
Yankel looked embarrassed, but he answered the rabbi.
"Rebbe," he said, "I have this problem. I want to go, I really do. But there's this woman, and she has many children, and the mornings are impossible for her. She has to feed them all and get them dressed and off to school, and they go to different schools. It's very hard. So I feel it's important that I help her."
The rabbi, incredulous, raised his hands to Heaven and shouted, "Yankel! Who is this woman? We can help her! I can find someone who will come to her house in the morning to help her!"
Yankel shrugged his shoulders. "That woman, Rebbe, is my wife."