Shalom, Rav. I want to know more about a woman’s role in building the home, in a way that a gives happiness and tranquility to a woman. I heard the shiur of the Rav about “Spiritual Connection Between Spouses” (in the series ‘Getting To Know Your Family’) and I identified with the issues that the Rav described. My husband and I are baalei teshuvah, and my husband works. However, we both have a common attitude and desire to build a Torah home together. Before I married, I learned for 3 years in a seminary for baalei teshuvah, where a world of deep learning was opened up to me, which gave me an intense yearning to learn Torah and to become close to Hashem. Today, Baruch Hashem, I am a mother of three children. I am busy taking care of my children and I do my part in providing for the needs of the home. However, I don’t feel joyous in what I do, even though I know that I was created for this. Why? Any spare time I have, I learn Torah, and this helps me escape from the routine of life and gain some quiet. But what will be with my children, during that time I have to myself? Sometimes I feel empty because I am no longer spending all day in avodah of ruchniyus as I would like to. As a result, I am not happy in the home and I don’t feel complete. Instead of pursuing my Torah studies as I would like, I feel that am I becoming further away from a life of pnimiyus (innerness).
I seem to be experiencing a contradiction. If I was created to lead a spiritual kind of life and to feel closeness to Hashem, why is it that most hours of my day is spent on mundane, materialistic concerns? And if I was instead created for the physical side of life, why don’t I feel happy and fulfilled, and why do I sometimes feel that my life situation is intolerable? If the role of the woman begins from the heart, through developing the emotions [for holiness], what should I do, practically speaking, in order to reach this purpose?
Answer:Every person has an individuality of hisher own. As long as a person doesn’t uncover it, he will feel that something is missing in his soul. You state that you do not feel joyous even though you know that you were created for this [to take care of the home and the children]. That is a generalization, but if you reveal your individual power, you can then find true happiness. Also, it is one thing to know intellectually of your role, but that doesn’t mean that you have an experiential recognition of this role which you can feel.
The avodah (inner task) of a woman is to reveal an inner, deep layer of the soul that is “personal” to her, and to manifest this in her material side of life. That is where the purpose is, and that is where pleasure and satisfaction can be found.
The role of a woman in Torah is, firstly, to observe the mitzvos. Besides for this, a woman should learn about the depth of the human soul, to study it and to also practically actualize it in her life.