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Giving her the ketuba under the star-filled sky marries prose to poetry: Love starts with my obligation to you.

My responsibility will be the soil from which our love together will flourish.

When a man is obligated to her, when he is told that he is responsible to “gladden his wife’s heart,” she no longer has to be an undercover agent.

She – and he together – get to teach the world about love.

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Yet, requiring a man to take responsibility doesn’t have to mean that the woman can’t take care of herself.

The teacher had said: “We talked about strength, and we talked about self-control and being able to control your emotions and making sacrifices for others.

You know, we talked about how if you have a family and you only have enough money for two cheeseburgers, you’re not going to eat…you know you are going to feed your wife and your kids and you wait.” The researchers censured this teacher and castigated the tendency of other teachers to reinforce traditional gender stereotypes….

If we had to find one word to describe the difference between men and women in Jewish law it would be obligation.

Men have to pray three times a day, and go out to minyan no matter what the weather. They are supposed to learn Torah every spare minute.

For a man who takes his religious obligations seriously, life is a pretty obligating affair. Instead of casting him as a reluctant participant in a ceremony designed to rob him of his freedom – the unspoken message of wild bachelor parties held the night before a wedding – Jewish law casts him as the proactive initiator.

He commits to her, he promises to support her, he obligates himself to take care of her needs.

Generally, she is not the one schlepped screaming and kicking into commitment. But what does she do if wearing her heart on her sleeve is a great way to get it broken?

What does she do if her desire for exclusivity, commitment, and a deep relationship are considered inconvenient, quaint and naïve at best?

They were disappointed that boys “…were being told to be strong men and take care of their wives….

Traditional gender role stereotypes were reinforced and gender was portrayed in an essentialist manner” (Boys Adrift, 203–204).

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