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This week, Tablet Magazine published the first freelance piece I’ve published since my child’s birth nearly four years ago. Why a Conservative Female Rabbi Decided To Pull Away From Her Male Friends has been a relatively big hit this week, if “big hit” is measured by comments. There have been over 50 so far. And the discussion has been lively. To say the least. My sister, who’s also a freelance writer, warned me to expect “the trolls.” In fact, I am now up past midnight because I’m mad at one of comment authors. I’m not even going to dignify that person by telling you which comment is making me upset.

The comment I am going to single out is another one. One of the respondents was upset that I–in my response to his initial comment–suggested that it was a Jewish value to put greater value and investment in one’s relationship with one’s partner than in other friendships. He suggests that his relationship with his partner is different from but “not hierarchically above” his other friendships.

Really?

I asked a couple of my friends about this. They were a bit shocked by the commentor’s idea. In fact, the general wisdom shared with me was that a person  should probably not get married if they are not willing to put their spouse first in their heart, actions, and priorities. Not only is putting one’s spouse first important from a Jewish perspective, but it is also generally considered good marital advice from professionals. I quickly Googled “putting your spouse first” and was told that there were (I exaggerate not) over 36 million results. And the general gist of the several links I looked at pretty much agreed–life is a hierarchy of priorities. If you choose to be in a long-term, monogamous relationship, then your partner and your relationship with him/her better be at the top of that list, even above your child/ren (once that child’s basic needs are met).

So, today’s big idea–if you have a partner, put his/her needs before any other person’s.

In my case, that may mean not ever writing about my marriage again. (Damn, trolls!!)

 

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