Friday, March 26, 2010

Of Rabbi Blogs and Rebbetzin Blogs

Yesterday I spoke to several shul rabbis who were in varying stages of preparation for Shabbos haGadol and Pesach. All of them exuded stress in waves; I could feel sympathy tension in my back and neck, and a powerful, drummed-in Nisan reflex to check my To Do list and wonder what I was missing.

Among the things I did every Pesach for the last dozen years, and I did not do over the past two weeks:

• Answer questions about urns and coffeemakers and Lactaid and eggs and heirloom china and canola oil and peanut oil. (On the other hand, I did answer a lot of questions about quinoa - repeat after me: Ask. Your. Rabbi.)

• Kasher people’s kitchens

• Wonder when I was going to kasher our own kitchen

• Canvas supermarkets to determine what kosher for pesach products were available

• Pursue people to make sure they contracted with me to sell their chametz

Drive to New York to pick up Shatzer Matzah for the shul

• Arrange the communal chametz-burning and men’s mikvah times

• Write derashos for the first days of Yom Tov, for Shabbos Chol haMoed, for the last days of Yom Tov

• Check shul lockers for random chametz

Take care of other random shul pre-Pesach chores

• Arrange sedarim and yom tov meals for college students

To be honest: Yes, I miss a lot of it, and I suspect I will return to it one day.

But! That didn’t stop me from turning my eyes heavenward yesterday and saying with a full heart, “Baruch… SheLo Asani Rabbi!” [Thank You, Gd, for not making me a Rabbi.]

One thing I did do in the past week was canvas the blogs of rabbis and rebbetzins of various flavors, to see what they were saying as Pesach approached. Along the way, I picked up on a few differences between Rabbi Blogs and Rebbetzin Blogs.

Most noticeably, Rabbis tend to blog as an extension of their rabbinate and Rebbetzins tend to blog in spite of their rebbetzinate. In other words: Rabbis tend to write like rabbis, even when writing about personal matters; Rebbetzins tend to write like bloggers, even when writing about Torah matters.

There are a whole host of reasons for that difference, of course. Some of it is gender; the women rabbi blogs tend to read far more human than the male rabbi blogs. I think that more of it, though, is that Rebbetzins are human beings rather than clergy.

A few Rebbetzin blogs as Exhibit A:
Redefining Rebbetzin
Rebbetzin Man in Japan
The Rebbetzin Rocks

And a few Rabbi blogs as Exhibit B:
NY’s Funniest Rabbi
Velveteen Rabbi
Or am I?

The Rebbetzins sound like people. The Rabbis sound like, well, rabbis. As I suppose I do, for that matter.

But enough of this. I may not have Pesach to prepare, but I do have post-Pesach shiurim to work on… Chag kasher v’sameach, and may we merit to bring the korban pesach in a unified Yerushalayim!


  1. You forgot "And may we merit to bring the Korban Pesach together in Yerushalayim bimheira viyameinu. Amen!"

  2. I wonder if there's any significance in the fact that none of the rebbitzens are Orthodox, and thus come off more as people. Although RenReb came off very much as a person, wish she would come back.

  3. Anonymous 8:03 PM-
    Thanks for commenting. But none of the rabbis I cited are Orthodox either, I think. (Not sure about one of them.)
    Re: RenReb - You're the second or third commenter to mention her this week. Perhaps a petition is in order?

  4. NY's Funniest Rabbi is Orthodox, a musmach of YU and a rebbe at Frisch. But I see that your right about the others. So my point isnt so valid. Oh well.

  5. Anonymous 12:18 PM-
    Thanks for the correction on the Funny Rabbi; much appreciated. חכ"ו!

  6. it looks like RenReb came back, but for invited readers only :-(

  7. Anon 12:32 PM-
    Interesting. Sad day for the jblogosphere.

  8. Great to have read what you have just written! Nice thoughts! Thanks and hoping to read more from you. Keep the posts coming!

  9. I was just searching around to see what sort of stuff Redefining Rebbetzin was coming up for in searches and stumbled across this post. Thanks for including us =)
    I just wanted to comment to the statement that "none of the rebbetzins are Orthodox" that Jessica's husband is beginning his first year at Yeshiva Chovevi Torah next month and my husband and I are Ortho-prax. So while we are still in training (as we clearly state), our denominational affiliation is not why we write like people - it's just who we are.
    For a very interesting comparison you can look at Aliza and R. Yehuda Hausman's blogs. They are both bloggers and very much align with the point you have made here.

  10. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for stopping in, for correcting the Anonymous commenter and for the reference to those blogs. Much appreciated, and good luck.