[Avodah] tfilat haderech and birchat hagomel

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Wed Jan 30 22:32:01 PST 2013

On 30/01/2013 7:52 PM, Micha Berger wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 02:17:55PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
>> Where does the gemara relate tan-du to the nachash?  Surely that's RYBS's
>> own chidush; so relying on it to distinguish the two chazakot would be
>> begging the question.
> Is it an actual logical step to identify "ve'el isheikh teshuqaseikh"
> with tav lemeisiv tan du? I am unable to imagine a way in which they
> could be unrelated. Is there a definition of "teshuqah" that would not
> imply that there will always be SOME ELEMENT OF HER DRAWN even to an
> inferior husband over being alone?

Actually I don't see a connection at all.  "El isheich teshukaseich" means
that she is (at least on some level) drawn to her husband.  She actually
wants to be with *him*.   Tav lemeitav tan-du doesn't imply any sort of
attraction; she just wants to be married, to be one of a couple.  If she
had someone else waiting in the wings she'd happily dump this guy and marry
the other one, but since she doesn't she'll stay with the one she has
despite not having a teshukah, because any husband is better than none.
As one woman put it, "you don't throw out dirty water until you've got clean".

If "tav lemeisav" *is* an existential statement, it would be not derive
from "el isheich teshukosheich" but from Chazal's observation of female
nature, that they relate to others more than men do, and therefore feel
loneliness more keenly.  This would be just as true today as it ever was.

But really it's easier to understand it as not being an existential
statement, but rather a statement of the economic reality in Chazal's time
and through most of history.   A woman is better off with any man than
with none, because most women find it difficult or impossible to support
themselves.  A typical woman produces less than she consumes.  That's why
Chazal assumed that it was in most women's interest to give up their
incomes in return for being supported, but provided that the unusual woman
for whom it was not a good deal could reject it.  Nowadays this doesn't
hold true any more, but even in Chazal's day it might not hold true of
a rich woman.  So one might say that this is a proof against this view;
if it were really about economics then Chazal should have qualified it
by excluding rich women.  OTOH how many rich women were there?  Did they
really have to qualify every general rule by excluding unusual exceptions?

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
zev at sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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