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May 23, 2010 1:41 pm

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments

avatar by Mimi Hecht

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You Are The Master, The One Master, There Shall Be No Other:

A legion of rebels will try to test this first commandment, but you must hold firm. If you are not the Lord of your family, no one (I repeat, no one) will rise in your place. You have been chosen to singlehandedly take your home out of exile.

Seven Days You Shall Labor; There Shall Be No Rest:

Shabbos, a day of rest? Ha! As the “Divine Day” approached, you lived in an apron, commandeered the kids baths and wardrobes, cleaned up after three tornadoes in the kitchen and, on top of it all, said “yes, my pleeeaassure!” to an additional five guests (see the 8th commandment). So if you’re doing less on the seventh day, it’s not because you’re resting. It’s because, in the light of the “peaceful glow” of your Shabbos candles, you’ve officially entered a comatose state.

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The Diet Shall Commence Tomorrow:

You can’t tackle the battle of the bulge when there’s always a reason – or commandment – to eat. The diet is a real thing for the Jewish woman. But it always starts after Chanukah. No, after Purim.  Errr, after Pesach? There’s no hope. So you’re better off just abiding by this intuitive commandment and always start your diet tomorrow. Except, wait, tomorrow’s Shavuos. And we all know what that means.

Thou Shall Have a Multitude Of Number One Priorities:

Your husband should always come first. Your kids are of primary importance. You must take care of yourself before anything! Only the Jewish woman can manage making a million things her number one priority. Consider this one of those superpowers that makes you thy home’s infallible master.

Thou Shall Honor…Thyself!

If you didn’t have this commandment, you’d evaporate into thin air (and then who would feed the kids?!). So do yourself a favor: go get a manicure. Read a book. Run. Far. Away. By honoring yourself, that’s the best thing you can do for your family (hmm, I see a pattern forming).

Thou Shall Not Covet Another Mother:

This commandment is essential to navigating the terrain of Jewish motherhood. If you’re busy looking at all the other “YiddisheMamas” out there, you’re never going to be good enough. There’s always someone else with a bigger dining room table, better behaved children and a much more futuristic stroller (yes, even though yours looks like the spaceship your toddler always wanted).

Thou Shall Not Commit Idolatry:

Do not place all your cards on your “goya.” Maria will not save you.  Don’t worship or bow to her esteemed maid service. She will drop you in a heartbeat when the Goldbergs down the block offer her few more bucks and a renovated basement to live in.

Thou Shall Never Say “No” In Vain:

Every Jewish woman has about three “no”s to use in her lifetime. When you get called to host a simcha, cook for a friend who just gave birth, or spearhead the PTA group, you better say “yes” or risk being banished to eternal guilt. Oh, and not just any good ‘ol “yes” – you have to say “my pleeeaaaassure!” If you’re going to use one of your “no”s, it better be because your lying listless in bed. And if this person is calling because someone else is sick and needs a refuah sheleima (complete recovery), even that excuse won’t do.

Thou Shall Not Take For Granted:

Want to get stoned by your fellow Woman of Valor? Take everything for granted. If you want to survive as a Jewish woman, you’re going to have to add some grateful jargon to your current mix of obscenities and gossip. When you talk about your kids turning your hair white at the ripe age of thirty three, say “Thank G-d.” When you speak of that upcoming simcha (celebration) in the family that’s costing you the price of Pesach shopping times a hundred, say “G-d willing.” And, for the love of G-d, when you’re kvetching about your super-imposing and overbearing mother-in-law, don’t forget to say “Keyn AynHoreh!”

Thou Shall Not Break The Rules:

If you think you’re entitled to ignore or bend the rules of motherhood every now and then, let this final commandment be a reminder. The second you stop living up to your statutes, someone will call you out. Your husband will say, “Well, that’s the wife’s job” and your kids will yell, “But you’re my mommy!” So before you get ahead of yourself, just know – these reminders are a specially-made version of bolts of lightening.

Thou Shall Never Be Fully Prepared:

If you’re a Jewish mother, you’re used to surprises – so you can certainly throw one more commandment into the juggle (if not to just prove yourself than anything else). Your life is full, action-packed and bustling with energy. Always expect the unexpected and realize you’ll never be completely ready. If you think you are, you’re lying – and there’s a whole other set of commandments that deals with that!

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