Thursday, November 09, 2006

They should teach THIS at Stern!

From the Yalkut Me'am Loez on Parshat Chaya Sara (and I would have it in Hebrew except that the Beit Midrash in my dorm has an infuriating way of containing every book except the one I specifically need)

Click on this link for the full-size view (MUCH easier to read.)

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Disclaimer: NO, I don't meant to suggest that every Stern girl wants to get married/ is here for a husband/ cares more about the size of her engagement ring than the man she's marrying. However, I have observed the...well, nothing could describe it but avid interest expressed by many in the ring and its size. To be serious for a moment, I have actually heard of girls breaking up engagements because the diamond is too small and this proves the man doesn't really love her- which, if true, is pretty disturbing.

Apparently the Yalkut is quoting the Shevat Mussar 5 (that's where the footnote leads, in any case.)

See? I have a sense of humor. Really.


Lab Rab said...

If I may ... the situation you are describing is not particular to Stern College; just exacerbated due to the inordinate focus on finding one's bashert. Most people mature out of it eventually.

Lakewood Venter said...

Good post, though I agree with the previous commenter that this is applicable to all girls (and guys) not just those in Stern College!

Charlie Hall said...

Wow! My wife is going to love this. When we dating, she explained to me that just in case I had any thoughts of making a proposal, that she was not interested in any kind of diamond at all, that she did not want to support the violent warlords in Sierra Leone or the monopolistic cartel that keeps diamond prices high. Besides, she wasn't the kind of woman who would ever want to impress others with her fancy jewelry.

I was stunned. I had met someone with my own values. We were engaged -- sans rock -- within a week. We each wear plain gold wedding rings -- and that's it.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Chana: A friend of mine's wife didn't want an engagement ring at all...she really wanted a nice set of Kahati Mishnayot, which is what she recived!

(And they are still happily married :)

Sara said...

Chana, great post!

TI is very, er, similar in that way.

It was pretty funny, actually, but I brought my little brother to meet my roommates and a few weeks later he commented how all my friends wear these huge diamond rings. He didn't like it at all.

I laughed and explained that they're engagement rings, but the point was exactly right. We care about these things too much.

Anonymous said...

I have worked in the frum community with the poplulation you are describing for over 20 years. Never did I see a young woman return an engagement ring because it was not big enough, but the legend certainly makes for a great story. I see girls steeped in emunah and desiring to do right by herself and our mesorah. The belittling (and yes it is belittling) of young women who are seeking to move on to the next stage of life speaks volumes about you not your subjects. To all your commentors who pat themselves on the back for not going the engagement ring route- I am unimpressed- Warlords and Kahati included. The sense of righteousness and need to pass judgement found on this blog is a bit much.

Chana said...

All right, anonymous-

Certain people I know PERSONALLY know people who have broken off engagements because of engagement rings. And I myself have heard discussions that focus- quite without embarrasment- on the wealth of a prospective suitor rather than anything else.

Because you have had the good fortune never to meet such people does not mean they do not exist.

In fact, if the only Jewish girls you've interacted with are those who are "steeped in emunah," you have missed quite a LOT of people. Or you've been interacting with only one side of the spectrum, because God knows there are a whole lot of different types of people over here, and that description doesn't fit all of us at all.

Lastly, if you are not happy with my blog, feel free to read a different one in its stead. I won't mind.

David said...

Sometimes it's helpful to realize that these kind of problems aren't new (or at least it helps me).

My guess is that there were plenty of people who needed to hear this at the time the midrash was first said.