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When silence is acquiesence
"I have often regretted having spoken, never having kept silent" -Publilius Syrus
I saw this quote in my Twitter stream today. Silence is a wonderful thing, and we do respect it in Jewish tradition. However, there are times when silence is cause for regret. That is the lesson of a Midrash about Pharoh’s 3 advisers.
This past Shabbos, we read the first parsha in the Book of Shemos [Exodus], which shares the same name. It tells the story of the enslavement of the descendants of the children of Israel. Not content with slavery, the Egyptians moved onto oppression and a form of genocide -- killing all the baby boys.
According to the Midrash, it was Bilaam (to be encountered again in the parsha of Balak) who gave the evil advice to kill all the newborn boys. Yithro opposed the idea. He had to flee for his life, but then got to the honor of becoming Moshe’s father-in-law. There was a third, who appeared to be neutral. That was Iyov [ Job] He didn’t promote the evil plan, but he also failed to oppose it.
Because he opted for neutrality when opposition was called for, Iyov had to endure the severe suffering recounted in his book. Iyov did not start out as a bad person. He thought his protest would be futile and didn't wish to be a hero. But there are times when the situation calls for heroism, and anything less puts one into the category of acquiescing to evil through one's silence.
As one of my teachers was fond of quoting, "Silence is acquiescence." He would add, "If you do not acquiesce, do not silence."
There is, indeed a perception that Jewish men are good husband material. It certainly seems to be assumed by nonJewish women who actually seek out romantic attachment to Jewish men. What do they have to say for themselves?
In her autobiography, Crossing Ocean Parkway, Marianna De Marco Torgovnick, an Italian-American who became an English professor identifies her selecting a Jewish husband as one of the keys out of the locked environment she found in her own ethnic group. That is not to say that she married for money or even status, but for someone from a culture that would foster her academic aspirations. I am not sure if a WASP would have been perceived as beyond reach, while the Jewish man -- still rooted in an ethnic group -- was considered more attainable. But she clearly found a Jewish husband to be more compatible with where she wanted to go than a fellow Italian-American.
But, on the flip side, my husband recently declared that his coworkers put him to shame (just don…
At the end of her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain puts in "A Note on the Dedication" that explains why she selected her grandfather for that honor because he "spoke so eloquently the language of quiet." She doesn't identify him by name but drops a number of hints, like "Brooklyn neighborhood where he served as a rabbi," "as a widower he'd lived alone for decades," "when she spoke the congregation swelled to standing- room-only," and "he died at the age of ninety-four, after sixty-two years at the pulpit."
She also gives a couple of clues to her family by identifying her father as "a dedicated physician" and the size of her family, which included one sister and one brother. So these were what I had to go on to make the connection. Well, actually my husband took over the Google search when he arrived at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/18/nyregion/rabbi-is…
If I were giving the advice, I''d keep it much simpler: Be a mensch. As Hillel told the prospective convert who wanted to know all of Torah on one foot -- what is hateful to you, don't do to another.(see http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/all-you-need-is.html) The rest is all commentary. The same holds true in this case. For example, isn't it obvious, if a guy gives you options, that he wants you to respond with what you would prefer?
Anyway here's the list of tips.
Preparing for the Date: If the male has called twice with no response and left a voicemail, then at that point the female should be courteous, and either return the call, or text the male to let them know when they will be available to speak. If th…