Articles by Miriam Kosman

Singing a Different Tune


How are men and women really different?

With all the talk about “woman’s role” in Judaism, most people would be hard put to answer that question. For lack of alternatives, our community often uses societal roles to pinpoint the differences: She takes care of the children/cooks chicken soup/ sings lullabies. He earns a living/learns Torah/puts oil in the car.

But societal roles, particularly in our rapidly changing society, are a weak and fickle reed on which to hang an entire philosophy about gender. In fact, different periods in history had paradigms for gender roles that look quite different from ours. For example, aristocratic Jewish families throughout the ages often had nannies who took care of their children. It would have been completely not in consonance with the mother’s stature to have her flipping pancakes or giving baths. And while today we tend to assign great significance to nursing one’s baby – seeing it as the ultimate in mother-baby bonding – there were periods in history when Jewish mothers would not have dreamt of nursing their own babies; they hired wet nurses.

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How Cleaning the Refrigerator Helps Us Come Closer to Hashem

cleaning lady

You’re beautiful, but you’re empty...One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you hundreds of other roses; because it is she that I have watered… she that I have sheltered behind the screen…Because she is my rose.” (The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

I couldn’t help thinking of this passage from the beautiful classic, The Little Prince, as I stood in my kitchen a week before Pesach, a toothpick in my hand and a bucket of one-third bleach and two-thirds cleanser at my feet.

Life is so interesting, so full of adventures waiting to happen, and here I am, aching and tired, racing towards the deadline of bedikas chametz night. Hashem, is this really what You want me to be doing? Is my destiny really meant to be about obsessing over a breadcrumb that has escaped under the vegetable bin?

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