So a recent interest of mine (something I’ve always been curious about, but never actively searched an answer until recently reading an “answer” that really just made me wonder all the more): How do women fit into the Judaic Covenant symbol of Circumcision?
Now, just so you know, I have just barely begun to try to search out an answer to this question, so I know next to nothing. But I find it very interesting & in the 2 seconds of “spare time” a week I have, I try to figure out where to start looking. I mean…I want to know, but I’m not curious enough to stay up till midnight researching it.
The second “preface” i’d like to make: I realize the following quote has the potential to alienate unmarried women & those without children & even those unable to physically BEAR children. This is another side question I have, the whole, “what about women in those situations?” Because like the author of the following quote, I have found many a profound spiritual connection to God through child-bearing/rearing. But I do not believe childbearing to be (contrary to the way it seems some preach) the only way for a woman to fulfill her devotion to God. So, if it is a sensitive topic for you, I apologize…..
This is an excerpt from a blog post by a conservative Jewish woman (I believe a rabbi’s wife?). She is responding to the question (paraphrased): “Why do men (get to) have more religious traditions than women?”
Nonetheless, the home and family comprise the central institution of Judaism, and women ideally spend the majority of their lives devoted to them. Some people protest that women’s responsibility to the home is unfair and even demeaning, but I cannot understand their attitude. It seems that such people believe that the synagogue offers more opportunity to connect to G-d than raising a family does. I am sure that being wrapped in a pair of tefillin and a tallis while devoting one’s full attention to G-d is an inspiring experience, and I’ll never know what it feels like. But my husband will never know the intimacy of nursing a baby, and that is also a service to G-d.
Actually, the clearest insight I’ve ever had into the nature of G-d was while nursing a newborn. I looked down at that tiny baby clinging to me as if no separation existed between us, and I was overwhelmed with love. I then realized that G-d’s love for me is even deeper than my love for my baby. It was at that moment that I understood that a newborn’s relationship with its mother is a metaphor for humanity’s relationship with G-d.
An infant’s dependency on its mother is total. Because its mind is undeveloped, it has no concept of the person on whom it depends. Certainly it cannot fathom the depths of the love that person has for it. It just clings instinctively and takes what it needs, unaware of all the love, nurturance, and protection it is receiving.
Motherhood taught me that lesson, and I’m certain G-d created the physical attachment between a baby and its mother so that we could understand Him better. Men can be wonderfully loving parents, but their bodies can never carry an unborn or nourish a newborn. The depth of the connection is different. It is not an experience I would ever want to trade. Why would I want to do men’s mitzvohs when womanhood offers so much potential to connect to G-d?