United Jerusalem

United Jerusalem
United Jerusalem Party for City Council

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rebbetzin

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ וילך/שבת שובה תשע"ו

From Dictionary.com...

reb·betz·in

[reb-i-tsin]
noun Yiddish.
the wife of a rabbi.
Also, reb·bitz·in.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013.
And as cliché as including a Wikipedia entry may seem, it makes sense to do so here, especially as it includes a contribution by those who have been mis-educated to misuse this title,...English-speaking "sem" (religious women's school) students. (I have added the red highlighting.)

From Wikipedia...
Rebbitzin (Yiddish: רביצין) or Rabbanit (Hebrew: רַבָּנִית)
The Yiddish word has a trilingual etymology: Hebrew rebbə "master", plus the Slavic feminine suffix -itsa and the German feminine suffix -in.
In many Chassidic courts, Rebbetzins are considered to be spiritual counselors, and give blessings. In circles such as the Chassidic dynasty of Belz, the girls schools are run by the rebbetzin. There are also several recorded instances of female rebbes, who while technically rebbetzins, were full-fledged rebbes in their own right. One such famous case is the Maiden of Ludmir.
The rabbi's wife plays an important community role, especially in small communities. In many ways, she is called on to be as knowledgeable as the rabbi in the realm of woman's observances: in this manner, for something that does not require a psak (ruling), she can be approached when a woman does not feel comfortable approaching the rabbi, or where the rabbi maybe should not be approached. For instance, the rebbetzin may often be the "mikvah lady" and help with more mundane questions regarding the laws of niddah. Part of it, certainly, is that she always has the rabbi's ear, and that she would know if the question needs to be asked, in order to get a psak.
When a rabbi is a "pulpit rabbi," (versus a teacher or a "lay rabbi") his wife becomes something of a first lady of the community and performs social tasks and "outreach" roles, freeing her husband to attend to rabbinical duties.
With the growth of independent scholarship among Orthodox women, some women have informally received the title on their own merit, irrespective of their husbands.
Reviewing the history of the page, I find that the category of "rabbis" was removed in April 2008.
(delete sentence that fails to clarify how this issue relates to the use of the English word rabbi (as against rav)) (undo)

added chassidic rebbitzens- rebbes wifes, July, 2007
 Same day as dreation
(Category:Judaism and women is better)
Created December, 2005 
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
The misapplication of the term "rebbetzin," mostly by English speakers, is a relatively recent phenomenon.

The movement of so-called "modern orthodoxy" in this direction is no surprise.

However, within many English-speaking, Litvak communities, these "rebbetzins" being treated more and more as defacto rabbis, in this is nothing less than the result of feminism and other galuth (exilic) influences, sneaking into these quasi-Haredi communities.

The instruction of men in achieving shalom bayis (peace in the home), directly or indirectly, by "giving his wife whatever she wants," and "told to stick his nose back in a sefer where it belongs" is a major contributing factor to this completely Western and anti-Torah attitude toward women.

Furthermore, simply placating ones wife in this manner, instead of discussing issues of her concern with her, is not in the least bit respectful.

At least in the liberal modern orthodox world, they are straightforward about their Western, "do what they want" attitude about Torah. Find an obscure, if not completely irrelevant, source to support your views, then you're good to go!

Wait a minute. Isn't that the "Conservative" movement?

But, I digress...

I do not blame whoever added this statement of revisionist history to the Wikipedia page. I blame those who educated them, allowing them to believe the feminist notion that "rebbetzin" means defacto female rabbi, instead of "wife of a rabbi."

A "rebbetzin," in addition to being a term of respect and endearment, signifies a women who is not only married to a rabbi, but one who makes it possible for her husband to be involved with Torah, as much as possible.

There are plenty of women who I would and do call "Rebbetzin," and they are all women who do not allow themselves to be called "Rebbetzin" in public.

All of these so-called rebbetzins need to take a lesson in anavah (humility) from these other women.

I do not care how much of their physical bodies are covered up, some of these women also need a serious lesson in tz'ni'uth (modesty), the more important mitzvah (Torah commandment) a woman has.

The Toldos Aharon Rebbetzin is a rebbetzin.

The Belzer Rebbetzin is a rebbetzin.

Shaina Hayah (nee Levine) Eliashiv ztz"l was a rebbetzin.

Brakha Qapah ztz"l, the late widow of Rabbi Yosef Qapah ztz"l, the Yemenite Gadol HaDor was a rabbanith.

A teacher as a "sem" is to be compared to these women?? I have no doubt that their are some righteous and wise women at some of these institutions. But, why are their students being led down this path?

Many of the women who have had this misnomer of a title thrust upon them need to make more of an effort to dissuade their students followers from applying this word inappropriately.

Avi Weiss
Who needs "female rabbi-maker" Avi Weiss, and his egalitarian crap, when this weed's seed was sown ages ago, deep within Western/assimilationist galuth (exile)? 

"some women have informally received the title on their own merit, irrespective of their husbands"

Seriously??

(eyes rolling)

When you think about it, the only difference between some of these so-called "rebbetzins" and the Women of the Wall or Kolech or other such organizations, is that the latter groups of women are open about their feminism.

We should all take this to heart, during these 10 Days of Teshuvah

8 comments:

Neshama said...

Oh, gosh ....

Esser Agaroth said...

I was expecting either bravos or venom, not something vague.

Care to elaborate??

Shimshon said...

"...giving his wife whatever she wants..."

I heard a very prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi give pretty much this "drosh," referring famously, and wrongly, to the posuk where Hashem tells Avraham to listen to Sarah regarding Yishmael.

It was rather revolting to hear. I hope the chasan was not mekabel.

Before this matter, Rashi comments that Avraham listened to Sarah about Hagar because he heard the navua in her words. Hashem didn't tell him to listen then, even though he didn't really have much enthusiasm for it. It was l'Shem Shamayaim that he did it.

Hashem telling Avraham now to "listen" (or hear) Sarah now is just a gentle reminder to Avraham of the navua he heard last time she said something about Hagar. Nothing about just doing whatever his wife demanded. Notice that Avraham carries out her demand, but with the same lack of enthusiasm as before. (This rabbi practices what he preaches and overtly favors women in marital disputes in which his counsel is sought.)

Anyway, when I venture forth from my comfortable enclave b'harei Yehuda to the big city (Jerusalem), I have had opportunities to mingle with people who share this false mindset. They are fellow Jews, but boy are their ideas and extreme concern with sex issues, especially as they are so clearly contrary to simple reality, even if they choose to ignore the Torah's wisdom on the matter.

Esser Agaroth said...

Shimshon,

Thank you very much very commenting, and taking the time to write an extensive comment!

Shimshon said...

Thank you. I realize my final sentence was confusing.

Their ideas are dangerous, with long-term consequences perhaps even more severe (to humanity in general) than those wrought by Communism or even Nazism, because their dogma is even more counter to observable reality than either of them.

Esser Agaroth said...

In Parashath Bereishith, we see what happens when Adam listens to Havah. No one ever mentions that one, huh?

;-)

Rivka Leiner said...

I teach in a sem and am called Mrs. The head of the sem is also called Mrs. despite the fact that her husband is the rav of the sem and they run it together and she herself is learned in areas like Tanach, Navi, basic dinim, etc. Rebetzin is a title given to the wives of the rabbonim of the community and city, not the wife of anyone with smicha. Bachurim who come to us for meals often call me rebbetzin out of respect even though my husband is in business. There are rebetzins who take a leadership role among women only but not in psak halacha. At most they will teach basic dinim.

There were, in the past, those who wanted to do away with the title of rebetzin due to confusion. Hopefully, the rebetzin has yirat shamayi but there is no rule that she be as learned as her husband.One must remember that it is a title of respect, not accomplishment in Torah.

Esser Agaroth said...

Rivka,

Thank you for writing.

I agree with you completely. I think my post reflects 99% of what you mention.

I certainly do the same, regarding the showing of respect to certain ladies.

I certainly do not call any man with a piece of paper "rav," either, if I can avoid it.

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