After thousands of years of male dominance, we now stand
at the beginning of the feminine era, when women will rise
to their appropriate prominence, and the entire world will
recognize the harmony between man and woman
-- The Rebbe
A couple who was having communication problems came to
see the Rebbe. The woman said that her husband was consumed
with his work, and that when he finally found time to speak
with her, he criticized her and ordered her around. The husband
said that his wife had no respect for him and didnt
listen to any of his suggestions.
Why do you think your wife should listen to you?
the Rebbe asked. Because a woman must listen
to her husband, he replied.
But why should a woman listen to her husband?
the Rebbe asked. Because the man is the master
of the house.
No, said the Rebbe. The first thing
that you as a man must follow is the edict that a man
should honor his wife more than he does himself. And
then the righteous woman will have a husband she can respect
and love. If the man does not fulfill his role, then it is
the woman who must respectfully bring it to his attention.
Contemporary society is just beginning to delve into the true
distinctions between men and women. Besides the obvious physiological
differences, there are also differences in the way men and
women think, speak, and behave.
In order to understand the essential nature of man and woman,
we must do away with human subjectivity and look through G-ds
eyes. Every human being, man and woman, was created for the
same purpose -- to fuse body and soul in order to make themselves
and their world a better and holier place. In their service
of G-d, there is absolutely no difference between a man and
a woman; the only difference is in the way that service manifests
What are the differences between men and women?
Man and woman represent two forms of divine energy; they
are the male and female elements of a single soul.
G-d is neither masculine nor feminine, but has two forms
of emanation: the masculine form, which is more aggressive,
and the feminine form, which is more subtle. For a human being
to lead a total life, he or she must have both forms of energy:
the power of strength and the power of subtlety; the power
of giving and the power of receiving. Ideally, these energies
are merged seamlessly.
Men are physically stronger. By nature, they are usually
more aggressive and externally oriented. In contrast, a woman
usually embodies the ideal of inner dignity. Some people confuse
such subtlety with weakness; in truth, it is stronger than
the most aggressive physical force imaginable. True human
dignity does not shout; it is a strong, steady voice that
speaks from within. The nature of a woman, while subtle, is
not weak. And the nature of a man, while aggressive, is not
brutish. For man and woman to be complete, they must each
possess both energies.
The answer is not for men and women to try to be alike. All
men and women must be themselves, realizing that G-d
has given each of us unique abilities with which to pursue
our goals, and that our primary responsibility is to take
full advantage of those abilities.
What is true liberation for both sexes?
Though feminism rightfully calls for the end of male domination
and abuse, and for equal rights for women, it is vital to
get to the root of the distortion -- that our focus in life,
as man or woman, must not be simply to satisfy our
own ego or needs, but to serve G-d. True womens liberation
does not mean merely seeking equality within a masculine world,
but liberating the divine feminine aspects of a womans
personality and using them for the benefit of humankind.
After so many years of male dominance, we are standing at
the threshold of a true feminine era. It is time now for the
woman to rise to her true prominence, when the subtle power
of the feminine energy is truly allowed to nourish the overt
power of the masculine energy. We have already proven that
we can use our strength to slay the demons around us; let
us now learn to nurture the G-dliness within.
Men and women must realize their respective equal roles and
strive to complement each other in their shared struggle to
improve life. In order to correct the abuse of male dominance,
men must concentrate on using their dominant qualities for
the good. They must use their strength to protect and preserve
the feminine character, helping women realize their true potential
in revealing G-dliness, which the world so desperately needs
Learn about what it means to be a man or a woman, about masculine
and feminine energy. Learn to live up to your potential, to
balance these energies to lead a productive and meaningful
life -- a G-dly life. And finally, learn to appreciate and
respect your male or female counterpart.
This is an excerpt from Toward a Meaningful Life
The Wisdom of the Rebbe by Rabbi Simon Jacobson.
Now available at our Online