Feb 4, 2006

looking out for yourself

A few days ago there was a letter to the editor in a religious newspaper. The writer complains about his daughter being in her last year of seminary. She has recently married and has to devote time to making her new home. On the other hand, he writes, she has mountains of schoolwork to keep up with. He goes on to complain about her schedule and the amount of assignements she has to complete and tests to prepare for. The writer asks, "Is this how a wife should spend the first months of her married life?"

Why do people think that their personal scheduling conflicts require a change in the system? What does this fellow want - that the school should give less assignements because his daughter got married? If they do not give assignements and exams, they will not retain the academic level they desire. His daughter chose the school because it met her needs and had the academic level and reputation she desired to be associated with for her future job prospects. if they change that, she will be losing out on the education and the potential she so desired.

I ask why did she get married then, knowing that she had so much schoolwork? She thought she could handle it? Great, so stick it out and finish your degree. If you think that marriage is a greater priority than school, drop out of school if you cannot handle both. Find a program that is less intense. What right do you have to request that the school lessen their expectations of you as a student just because you chose to get married?! Maybe she should have waited to get married until after she finished her schooling!!
What will this woman do when she finishes her degree and goes out to look for a job? Will she complain that she can't handle a job and the housework and then complain that her employer is not considerate to the needs of married women?

Why are people so selfish that they think everybody and everything else has to change, rather than recognizing that they have a specific problem they have to deal with?


  1. Rafi: I assume this story is taking place in Israel and not in the US.

    In Israel, everything is negotiable.

    (That doesn't mean I agree with it...but thats the way it is)

  2. True it is negotiable, but if the teachers give less work because this girl has a scheduling conflict, not only is that hurting her (she has to make that decision), but she is causing the unmarried girls to lose out as well.

  3. You say that the married woman's father wrote the letter. Perhaps this is just his opinion. I remember my grandmother expressing her dismay at the amount of work I had to do in high school and college. The amount was par for the course, but I guess in her day schools did not give so much homework. Either that, or it had been to long ago for her to remember he own workload. It could be that this man's daughter is handling everything fine - he is the one complaning!

    Regarding the issue of whether the girl should have waited to marry until she finished school - I am a firm believer in this option. If your husband is learning, and you are in seminary/college there is no stability - financial or otherwise. Why has it become ok for two kids to get married without any means of supporting themselves? They are still children being supported by parents - just now they get to shack up in their own place. That's not adulthood.

    Now, if the two have a plan for the future. I don't necessarily think that each one has to be done with their education when they marry. However, at least one should be finished. If a woman wants to support her husband in kollel - great! But that means taking her own steps to be able to do that prior to marriage. Not relying on her parents to foot the bill while she gets her act together.

    My husband learned when we married. My mother said there was no way that we were getting married until I finished school and could earn a parnassa. My folks were the stubborn type that would not adhere to being financially responsible for me and my chosson after the wedding (how exasperating!). I am so glad I finished school before marriage as I have seen the effects on my friends who did not. Most of their education plans got put on hold with moves to new communities, new babies, just busy married life. I can't imagine going through school with all I have to do now - making time for classes, homework, term papers, tests. It was doable when I was single, but not conducive to married life.

    Engaged couples need a plan on how they will support themselves. I think people enter into shidduchim too soon. Once you meet your beshert, of course you want to throw caution to the wind and marry right away. I think people should avoid the temptation and wait to date when they are ready to support each other independent of parents.

    Sorry - kind of got off topic a bit!

  4. Great post. And yet another jem of a letter to the editor in a religious paper.


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