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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

More About Men and Women and Eicha

I wrote last year about the stark contrast between men's and women's expressions on Tisha B'Av in formal readings of Eicha and Kinnot.

This year I found textual proof to back up my impressions. In this morning's Haftorah it says:
…summon the dirge-women and let them come, and send for the wise women and let them come…. Hearken, O women to the word of Hashem and let your ears absorb the word of his mouth, and teach a lament to your daughters, and each woman a dirge to her friend. For death has ascended through our windows, it has come into our palaces to cut down infants from the marketplace, young men from the streets.
And later the text ends:
'Let not the wise man laud himself with his wisdom, and let not the strong man laud himself with his strength, and let not the rich man laud himself with his wealth. Only with this may one laud himself -- discerning in knowing Me, for I am Hashem Who does kindness, justice, and righteousness in the land, for in these is my desire,' the words of Hashem.
 In the shul in which I listened to Kinnot this morning, the rabbi went on to explain that even though this year with concerns in Israel we feel the emotions of Tisha B'Av more acutely, we still need help. He went on to say that even in the time of Yirmiyahu they needed help and that women had the job of leading people towards that says of mourning.

So my simple question is, why don't we do that now? Why was a male rabbi explaining this instead of a woman singing it?

The women's eicha that I attended was by women and for women, but what if all Tisha B'Av prayer was led by women, and was done so for women and men? What if those closest to life and death and those who some claim "are more spiritual" were the ones taking us on that path? Wouldn't it evoke a very real connection to the day, to mourning, to Hashem even? Not the wise man, the strong man, not the rich man, but the dirges of the women be the transmitter of knowledge that we must know Hashem.

Further, what if every culture opened up the voices of women? If all women around the world had a day to dirge and drown out all other sound with mourning for loss of life, for kidnappings, for rapes, for murders, for slavery, for injustice, for pain and for war?

What if authentic women's voices speaking for humanity were the clearest voices all year round? Not the kinds of women's voices that try to sound like men in order to be accepted, but the kinds of voices that come from true binah? What if?

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