Friday, July 06, 2007

Don't You Know I'm Perfect?

At a recent Simcha, I made acquaintance with some interesting young women.

The conversation inevitably led to dating, and something a girl said led me to ask, "Do you think people are flawed?"

"Well, not everyone is flawed," she declared. Did I hear right?

I certainly don't think it's my negativity and cynicism that made her repeat her senseless statement. It's called reality. Nobody's perfect. If we were, we'd be G-d.

I mentioned the banned "Making of a Gadol," which she had never heard of. I delicately explained the ideas discussed in my piece "Rabbanim are NOT G-d," which wasn't very well received. "I don't know Gedolim, so I can't tell you if they're flawed or not," she tells me. Wouldn't that mean she's putting her flawless friend above the Gedolim? I would think someone under the illusion there are perfect people would undoubtedly place Gedolim in that category.

She said she knows someone whom she'd consider flawless. I don't. I asked how often she saw this person, how much time she has spent with the person, etc. I didn't want to put her on the spot and ask who it was, and how she knew this person, but she made it sound like it was someone she was close with.

"You mean to tell me, this person has never gotten anrgy, has never lied, has never spoken Lashon Hora, has never hurt anyone, let anyone down, shown up late to anything, skipped a Tefillah..." I asked. Now, obviously, the things I listed are not general character flaws. They can simply be mistakes. Stuff happens.

"No," she repeated after each suggestion.

I just wonder if I am being cynical, or simply acknowledging reality.

The kid's engaged. She obviously saw flaws in the guys she turned down. Since she has this impression of potential flawlessness, does this mean she considers her Chosson flawless? Is she in for it big, or will she continue to delude herself into thinking he's perfect?


A little tangent: I think that anyone who thinks the Chosson or Kallah is perfect, or flawless, is delusional and in big trouble. I think it's important to know the flaws of the other person and decide whether they're tolerable and acceptable. It's one thing to have human flaws, which according to me, we all have. But to have bad characteristics (like dishonesty), should be unacceptable. And in Shidduchim, everyone seeks perfection, and that is a huge part of the "crisis..." but now I'm on two tangents.

32 Comments:

At 7/06/2007 2:28 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

I think she was referring to me. ;-)

And don't you know that the "Making of a Gadol" series was put in cherem by the gedolim?

 
At 7/06/2007 3:14 PM, Anonymous big bro said...

More important than knowing your potential mate's imperfections is knowing yourself. You may think you can tolerate a specific flaw only to realize later on that you cannot, and vice versa. Without self-awareness, knowing the other's flaws won't matter. That means being in touch with your emotions.

As far as your second tangent of singles seeking perfection, R' Avigdor Miller gave the 10 commandments of marriage, and #1 is Be Realistic.

 
At 7/07/2007 8:39 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

ortho--I said it was banned.

bb- On another tangent, why does R' Miller not get the half the recognition he deserves in this community?? That bugs me

 
At 7/08/2007 12:33 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Ah, sorry. But if you've read the book in defiance of the ban then I guess that supposes that you think the gedolim were wrong about the ban and therefore not perfect, hmm?

 
At 7/08/2007 7:33 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Ortho- to be honest, that book looks waaay too long. However, I don't disagree with the concept of a book that casts a realistic light on the lives of Gedolim. I think banning that is another way of trying to keep people's heads in the sand.
I think showing a Gadol's journey to what made him what he is today should be considered inspirational.
All we hear is how they knew all of Mishna by 4, and we immediately feel [amazed, yet] disconnected.

 
At 7/08/2007 12:54 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

"I think banning that is another way of trying to keep people's heads in the sand."

Well...duh. :)

How do you feel about the whole Slifkin affair?

"I think showing a Gadol's journey to what made him what he is today should be considered inspirational."

Frankly, most of today's Gedolim aren't that great, so I don't think their stories would be that inspirational.

 
At 7/08/2007 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ortho-

how do you know they're not that great? do you know them personally?

michelle-

rather than criticizing banning, a tool which could serve a good purpose, why don't you suggest a solution? you'll notice that the books that have been banned have letters from prominent rabanim in the front. this, in effect, is the same as giving one's hashgacha to say certain food is kosher. unfortunately, there are no standard guidelines for how thoroughly a book must be checked for kashrus. i propose guidelines be instituted. this way, if some people want to ban a book, they can object to specific content rather than say the book or the author is in cherem. some of these books can have problems corrected. slifkin's reference to the age of the world would have been more acceptable to the general population had he given the actual source from the rambam. no reason to put a man in cherem when he does so much good just because his readers have never learned certain sources.

i like your blog, michelle, and i appreciate some of the topics you bring up for discussion. however, rather than just bringing a topic, i would love to see more solutions from you. offering solutions to problems will not halt discussion.

so what is your solution to dealing with naive people who believe that there are other humans with no flaws?

 
At 7/08/2007 6:17 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"how do you know they're not that great? do you know them personally?"

The same way I know President Bush is not that great. I know what policies they make (or not make) and the messages they send out.

"rather than criticizing banning, a tool which could serve a good purpose, why don't you suggest a solution?"

What possible good purpose is there in banning books? Unless you have something to hide...

The whole concept should had been left in the Middle Ages and never survived to see modern day and the deomcratic state.

 
At 7/08/2007 7:10 PM, Anonymous Gavi said...

Koheles 7:20

 
At 7/09/2007 11:08 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

Big bro, what were R' Miller's other 9 commandments of marriage?

 
At 7/09/2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ortho-

banning polygamy was helpful in many ways. it would seem by your posts that you are a guy, but try to think of the way a woman would feel if her husband suddenly decided to take another wife. (this is not a question of feminism, btw, i'm anti feminist.) women need to feel loved, and having another woman in one's husband's life is a sure way to make the woman feel unloved. now, some polygamous marriages are fine and work nicely, but it is my belief that most polygamous marriages, especially in this day and age, would be rocky, unsuccessful, or just unaffordable. do you think banning is so middle ages?

in terms of books, i do feel that the manuscript should be thoroughly read before putting one's name on it. then there would be no banning of books. anyone who had endorsed the book would be called on to back his decision rather than say he didn't notice three words.

there are circumstances in which a publication should be banned. playboy magazine should be banned. the only reason it has not been banned is because no one will tell you that it is halachically ok to go buy a copy of playboy. there are things that should be hidden, in answer to your comment. the books that have been banned have been banned because of the sensitivity and juvenile tendencies of the modern population. unfortunately, people are extreme. the publications are not wrong (for the most part) but the public's reactions certainly can be.

 
At 7/09/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"banning polygamy was helpful in many ways."

Wow, that's a non sequitur. I specifically referred to banning books, not banning anything. I'm 100% ok with banning, say, murder.

Though, ironically, polygamy is no longer under any ban in Judaism! R' Gershom's 1000 years ended in 1987.

"there are circumstances in which a publication should be banned. playboy magazine should be banned."

Why should it be? If you don't want to read it then don't read it. But, of course, that's also a bit of a non-sequitur since that's an issue of pornography, not intellectual work.

"there are things that should be hidden, in answer to your comment."

Why? Like what? Why should they be? These books were banned because they pose a threat to the status quo that the "Gedolim" favor. If people read them then they might change minds and that's why they were banned.


For the record, though, you're am anti-feminist, eh? Do you think women should have the right to vote? Should women be able to own property? Just curious...

 
At 7/09/2007 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ortho-

whether or not you were referring to banning of thi9ngs other than books, i was, and i started the conversation between the two of us. so hah.

as for feminism, i'm pro women's rights to be treated as human beings. voting, woning land, fine. i am against the feminist movement as it is today that not only asks the world to view women as men, but imposes the "importance" of being like men to women everywhere. why should a woman establish a career before having children? why should she be viewed as a "baby machine" should she choose to have more than one child at a young age, and why is she seen as a freeloader if she stays at home with her child rather than pay a stranger to educate him/her?

feminists should be called masculinists. did you know that because of the feminist movement, a stay at home mother can no longer be automatically exempt from jury duty? after all, men and women should have equal treatment in everything.

 
At 7/09/2007 2:15 PM, Anonymous big bro said...

Don't know the other 9 commandments offhand, but they're in one of his books, and he has a taped speech by the same name.

 
At 7/09/2007 8:34 PM, Anonymous xvi said...

"whether... you were referring to banning of thi9ngs (sic) other than books, i was... so hah."

I know this isnt my battle, but that just seems foolish. he was challenging you on the issue of book burning. polygamy plays no role in the conversation. I could say to you that banning equal-rights would be bad, so thats clearly an argument AGAINST banning. so hah.

And Im not really sure what your argument for banning playboy is. Other than that you happen to be against it. But thats hardly a reason for Hef to stop his publication.

 
At 7/09/2007 9:16 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"whether or not you were referring to banning of thi9ngs other than books, i was, and i started the conversation between the two of us. so hah."

How old are you?

"as for feminism, i'm pro women's rights to be treated as human beings. voting, woning land, fine. i am against the feminist movement as it is today that not only asks the world to view women as men, but imposes the "importance" of being like men to women everywhere."

Oh, so pro-women's rights. Sounds like a pretty feminist thing to be behind. Do you believe it's wrong for women to have the _option_ to be whatever they want to be (assuming they have the ability to do so, naturally)?

"did you know that because of the feminist movement, a stay at home mother can no longer be automatically exempt from jury duty? after all, men and women should have equal treatment in everything."

So you're ok with women getting paid 70 cents for every dollar a man earns at the same position?

You're just against an attitude, not what feminism, as a political movement, wants.

 
At 7/09/2007 9:48 PM, Blogger Dofan Akuma said...

i'm so sorry to interrupt with my ridiculous spam, but i would like to tag you. you may place the blame squarely upon jacob da jew. the 'rules' are on his blog or mine

 
At 7/10/2007 2:44 PM, Blogger Lost said...

Back on topic,
Michelle, I think you hold some great points. But let's be realistic about the whole dating experience? Take a poll of how many of your friends have written out their good points, their flaws, what they're looking for in another person, etc.

Dating might be about finding a match for oneself, but how many pp have truly evaluated themselves? @ 18 - doesn't happen. Even @ 25, pp aren't quite there yet.

As for this girl, she is a naive fool.

 
At 7/10/2007 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ortho,
The 70 cents for every dollar claim has repeatedly been debunked. The radical feminists keep repeating it though, so that tells you something about what role truth plays in radical feminist ideology.

Ichabod Chrain

 
At 7/11/2007 6:14 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I had a lot to catch up on.

Orthoprax--once again, I agree with what you're saying. Certainly, the only motivation in banning books is hiding something from us.

Anon--what you say about banning Playboy is based solely upon your existence as a frum Jew. While I certainly don't approve of Playboy, nor do I respect any of the models in it, I disagree that it should banned. Like Orthoprax said, you don't have to read it. I understand it poses a nisayon to frum people, but this is America. This is galus. Deal with it.

My solution about people who think there are people with no flaws? I'd say she's beyond help, but is there really a solution? I can show her flawed people repeatedly, yet she'll maintain that this person she mentioned has no flaws. I can try to change her opinion of the person, but I don't know him/her.

As far as feminism goes, calling it "Masculinism" or whatever, sounds like something a rebbe would tell his students in a discussion of how we've become too "Americanized," which I have repeatedly been accused of. However, your (Anon) thoughts on feminism seem to reflect a select few nutballs, who tend to take things too far. there are some in every group, be it political, religious, social, etc.
I think feminism is a necessary movement in America, if not taken too far. Do you think I'm a feminist because I am in college? And I don't plan to be a "____therapist" so I make my own hours, but do something I don't like? I don't want to be like some of my former classmates who kill their days in shopping malls and take their kids to the park on the maid's days off, since they quit college they day they got engaged. I like school. I like learning. I want a career. I also want a family of happy, healthy, confident children. So I'm a feminist?? I don't care anyway, because feminists aren't bad.

 
At 7/11/2007 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, comment on the playboy issue:

michelle,

playboy is not just a problem for us as frum jews. it encourages people to go against the sheva mitzvos bnai noach, which is problematic for everyone. galus, nothing. we live in a fairly religious country.

as for feminism, did you know that it is legal in new york for women to go topless in public? feminism strikes again. the idea is that it is unfair that men can go completely topless but women can't. somehow this was deemed unequal. does it not occur to these feminists that men and women are anatomically different? sheesh. extra sheesh: a woman won a lawsuit against new york this year for arresting her for indecent exposure when walking completely topless in a park this year.

 
At 7/11/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

If a woman wants to walk around topless, chances are, she'll do it whether it's legal or not. You say it has been legalized, but thus far the only place I've seen that is the Loehmann's dressing room, at least 7 years ago. So let's chill out on that one.

 
At 7/12/2007 5:31 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Ichabod,

"The 70 cents for every dollar claim has repeatedly been debunked."

Debunked by whom? Show me.

 
At 7/12/2007 5:41 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"playboy is not just a problem for us as frum jews. it encourages people to go against the sheva mitzvos bnai noach, which is problematic for everyone."

Free speech goes both ways. How'd you like it if the government started restricting Jewish literature? Y'know, because it encourages people to turn away from Jesus.

"as for feminism, did you know that it is legal in new york for women to go topless in public? feminism strikes again. the idea is that it is unfair that men can go completely topless but women can't. somehow this was deemed unequal. does it not occur to these feminists that men and women are anatomically different?"

And? This is a different issue, but since I'm pretty libertarian, I question why people feel the need for the government to make a law against everything they don't like. Are the hordes of topless women thundering the streets bothering you?

I fail to see why this is such a terrible thing.

 
At 7/12/2007 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ortho,

The so called pay gap doesn't control for such things as education, experience, hours, worked and job choice. See, for example,
www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/08/10/the_gender_income_gap_are_women_really_making_less_than_men_for_the_same_job.htm
When you compare the same job with same education, hours, etc. the difference is insignifcant, and in some fields women outearn men.

Here's another example:
MR. WATTENBERG: The -- what about the argument -- you hear less about it now, and perhaps the data has changed, but that women only make 59 cents for every dollar that --

MS. PAGLIA: First of all, what was omitted from that is what kind of jobs are women gravitating toward? I mean, Warren Farrell, in his book, "The Myth of Male Power," has a lot of statistics that show men are taking the dangerous, dirty jobs like roofing, okay, the kind of gritty things that pay more -- commissioned sales that are very unstable. Okay?

It appears that a lot of women -- where the real biases occur, okay, those barriers must be removed. But this is an inadequate kind of a figure. It doesn't allow for the fact that most women, in fact, in my experience, too, like nice clean, safe offices, nice predictable hours and so on, and they don't want to, like, knock themselves out in that kind of way. I mean, every time I pass -- after reading Warren Farrell's book, every time I pass men doing that roofing tar, okay, breathing those toxic fumes and so on, okay, I have a renewed respect for the kind of sacrifices that men have made.

MR. WATTENBERG: That 59-cent number --

MS. SOMMERS: It hasn't been for --

MR. WATTENBERG: -- is now 71, but even that was --

MR. SOMMERS: It's now 71 cents, and that is not correct because you have to control for age, length of time in the work place. And if you look at younger women now, the age -- the wage gap is closed. It's now -- when they have children, it's 90 cents. But if they don't have children, it's now closer to what --

MS. PAGLIA: It would be outrageous if people were doing exactly the same thing and being paid a different wage. Okay? But that is not at all the basis for this figure.

That was from http://menweb.org/paglsomm.htm

If you think feminism as it is now practiced on the left (gender feminism) is a positive thing, I would suggest you read Mary Daly, Valerie Solanis,and Linda Hirschorn, just to name a few. They are totalitarians and the only choice they want to give women is to follow their agendas.

Equity feminism is something else entirely. The problem is that feminism is a very flexible concept, so that its advocates can say, "I don't mean totalitarianism, I just mean fairness" But that's not what feminism is about these days.

Rational feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, Camille Paglia, Christine (Stolba) Rosen, are very critical of what's happened to the feminist movement, and they've been marginalized.

So if that's the type of feminism you support, then realize that your view of feminism is based on what they tell the men, not on what they tell each other.

Ichabod Chrain

 
At 7/12/2007 11:32 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Ichabod,

"Women make only 80% of the salaries their male peers do one year after college; after 10 years in the workforce, the gap between men's and women's pay widens, according to a study released Monday.

The study, by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, found that 10 years after college, women earn only 69% of what men earn.

Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said part of the gap is "likely due to sex discrimination.""

http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2007-04-23-pay-gender_N.htm

It does seem like they took much into consideration when controlling for variables. It may not be as bad as 70 cents to the dollar, but it is there.

 
At 7/12/2007 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ortho--

i wish to point out that within the same profession there is often a wide range in salary for the same position depending on the company that employs the worker. it's like colleges-- you can get the same degree from a city college or from an ivy league college, but ivy league costs significantly more. higher ranking companies pay people more to do the exact same thing that lower ranking companies pay significantly less for. it's very hard to take this into account. in statistics, one extraordinary high or low number changes the entire curve.

 
At 7/12/2007 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle, Sorry for taking this on a tangent, but hopefully it's all in a good cause.

Orthoprax, 92 cents to the dollar is a lot different than 70 cents to the dollar. But before you accept the study's conclusions you might want to look at this from www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/leo031405.asp

"Women are 15 times as likely as men to become top executives in major corporations before the age of 40. Never-married, college-educated males who work full time make only 85 percent of what comparable women earn. Female pay exceeds male pay in more than 80 different fields, 39 of them large fields that offer good jobs, like financial analyst, engineering manager, sales engineer, statistician, surveying and mapping technicians, agricultural and food scientists, and aerospace engineer. A female investment banker's starting salary is 116 percent of a male's. Part-time female workers make $1.10 for every $1 earned by part-time males."


Also it looks like USA Today didn't get it quite right:

"Buried in the report is a startling admission: "After accounting for all factors known to affect wages, about one-quarter of the gap remains unexplained and may be attributed to discrimination" (my emphasis). Another way to put it is that three-quarters of the gap clearly has innocent causes -- and that we actually don't know whether discrimination accounts for the rest.

I asked Harvard economist Claudia Goldin if there is sufficient evidence to conclude that women experience systematic pay discrimination. "No," she replied. There are certainly instances of discrimination, she says, but most of the gap is the result of different choices. Other hard-to-measure factors, Goldin thinks, largely account for the remaining gap -- "probably not all, but most of it.""

www.reason.com/news/show/119920.html

"If profit-seeking corporations can hire women with one year experience for 20% less than equally-qualified males, or a women with ten years experience for 31% less than equally-qualified men, they would have to be blinded by sex discrimination to pass up the opportunity to save 20-30% on their labor costs. They would hire ONLY women, and NO men. The wages of women would then get bid up. Corporations are often condemned for being greedy and motivated solely by profits, so how could they pass up an easy opportunity to save 20-30% on their costs of doing business? And how could men command a 20-30% wage premium that is unjustified by their productivity in a competitive labor market"

mjperry.blogspot.com/2007/04/what-pay-gap.html



Ichabod Chrain

 
At 7/13/2007 12:19 PM, Anonymous a senior said...

i have a friend whose like really perfectish, but i still know shes not ACTUALLY perfect...

 
At 7/14/2007 7:19 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"i wish to point out that within the same profession there is often a wide range in salary for the same position depending on the company that employs the worker."

And? That should have a negligible effect on the gender pay gap if there is no sex discrimination.


Ichabod,

Fair enough. I'm not yet convinced that there is no real gap based on discrimination, in fact I do believe there is, but it is probably far less statistically severe than I originally thought.

 
At 7/15/2007 10:46 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Ichabod-- no apologies necessary. Thanks for your contribution

 
At 7/20/2007 8:24 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

Wow. That sort of attitude is disturbing on so many levels. This girl is going to be in for some big disappointments in her life...

 

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