It was on this day in 1913 that the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods was formed. This was an American organization for Jewish women which departed, very dramatically, from the old ways of Judaism as had been practiced in Europe. At that time in history, American women began to play greater roles in policy-making and fundraising when compared to their Old-World counterparts. This came about because of the social and economic emancipation of American women during that time. Consequently, this led to women having a greater role in their synagogues or their churches.
There was also a downside to this development. As American women became more involved in these issues, American husbands became more inclined to leave the oversight of spiritual matters and educational affairs to their wives. More and more, husbands began delegating roles and responsibilities they once held to their wives. As a result, today many western families are led by women, particularly when it comes to spiritual matters, and that is not the model established by the Creator.
Men are ordained to be the priests in their homes. They are commissioned by the Creator to lead their families, not lord over them. With this responsibility to lead is the challenge to do so in a loving, caring and, yet, strong manner. Paul addressed this issue to the Ephesians 5:23-25 when he said:
“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Messiah is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Messiah, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
Though the head of the home is the role of the husband, it is to be done in a sacrificial manner, not as “Lord of the manor.” He is not to oppress his family as the head of the house and rule with an iron fist. He is, in a very sacrificial way, to exemplify the virtues of humility and servanthood before his family. In turn, the wife is to submit to the leadership of such a husband and not usurp his role. To the contrary, Genesis chapter 2 clearly states that one of the primary purposes of the wife is to be the man’s helpmate or help opposite. She is to help and aid the man – not his doormat of his lord. However, helping him will occasionally mean opposing him. This opposition should not be construed as usurping his authority and assuming his role. Opposing him is to say that, in those times when he is not being true to his responsibility as the head of the home, her opposition is to provoke him to get back on track and assume the role of priest, as God intends.
When each party is functioning in their respective roles according to God’s model, the family is in better position to attain harmony and blessing. Obviously, that doesn’t eliminate all of life’s challenges and difficulties, but it does mean couples who are functioning as “one flesh” will be better suited to overcome those difficulties. Today it is my prayer for my family and your family, to find proper balance in our relationships so that we can offer the world a proper and prosperous example of what a family should be.