Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A selection from Strictly Kosher Reading by Yoel Finkelman


The Seforim Blog is happy to present this selection from Yoel Finkelman’s recent book, Strictly Kosher Reading: Popular Literature and the Condition of Contemporary Orthodoxy.
Coalescence
The first function of Haredi popular literature involves the “coalescence” of the Jewish and the non-Jewish. In defining coalescence, Sylvia Barack Fishman distinguishes it from two other common ways of describing relationships between Judaism and general culture. First, “compartmentalization” involves a situation in which the Jewish tradition holds sway in its own spheres, such as the synagogue or Shabbat table, while non-Jewish culture dominates in other areas of life, such as the workplace or the theater. Despite its conceptual clarity, Fishman claims that “compartmentalization” does not accurately describe actual American Jewish practice, since contemporary American Jews are too Americanized and America is too welcoming of Judaism for such neat divisions to have much explanatory power. Second, “adaptation” involves a situation in which the Jewish and the non-Jewish exist side by side. Tension between the two remains, and the individual or community “privileges one or the other as the situation seems to demand.”[1] Adaptation, she explains, “implies a continuing awareness of difference” between Jewish and general values and an attempt to negotiate these differences.

Yet, claims Fishman, many American Jews have lost an awareness of differences between Jewish and American values.

During the process of coalescence… the ‘texts’ of two cultures, American and Jewish, are accessed simultaneously…. These values seem to coalesce or merge, and the resulting merged message or texts are perceived not as being American and Jewish values side by side, but as being a unified text, which is identified as authoritative Judaism…. Many American Jews – including some who are very knowledgeable and actively involved in Jewish life – no longer separate or are even conscious of the separation between the origins of these two texts.[2]

Haredi popular literature, like much of Haredi popular culture, seamlessly merges aspects of the Jewish tradition with contemporary American cultural norms and styles. In coalescence, normative Judaism becomes a hybrid or syncretic combination of the Jewish and the American, the traditional and the modern, the past and the present. For example, Haredi music takes its lyrics from traditional Jewish texts, but its musical style imitates contemporary pop music.[3] Haredi self-help books, as we shall discuss, present contemporary values of individualism, personal happiness, self-expression, and (according to some critics) self-absorption as Jewish values, supposedly in the self-improvement tradition of musar.[4] Haredi novels borrow literary genres and formulas from the general best-sellers and fill them with Haredi characters and values. [5]

Given Haredi commitment to isolationism and rejection of non-Haredi culture, Haredi coalescence seems surprising. Still, Haredi Jews are genuinely acculturated, and the same cultural forces that make a genre or idea popular among the general public make it popular among Haredi Jews as well. Community members may prefer a Haredi version of a literary genre, such that it will more precisely match their values and style. In addition, imitating the most contemporary styles helps make the tradition seem sophisticated and up-to-date. This allows Haredi Judaism to respond to modernity and its perceived anti-Orthodox biases on modernity's own terms.[6]

Take the example of Yaakov Levinson’s book, The Jewish Guide to Natural Nutrition. According to Levinson, there are “Jewish roots to natural nutrition.” Holistic health and natural foods are presented as traditional Jewish values. Levinson works to “combine a system for healthy living and eating with a strong connection to our important Jewish heritage.” He rhetorically grounds his work in traditional Judaism, explaining that “Rambam’s [Maimonides’] medical writings contain the Jewish roots of today’s system of natural nutrition. Our modern approach is basically an extension of his main principles and teachings.” [7]

Yet, the author says little about Maimonides’ specific nutritional advice or his medieval biology, and Levinson quotes from Maimonides’ medical writings only very rarely. Instead, Levinson focuses on contemporary scientific concepts such as cholesterol, vitamins, and the USDA food pyramid. Maimonides does not serve as an authority on the workings of the body. Rather, he is an authoritative precedent for the borrowing of contemporary medical advice. Levinson is, to a great degree, aware of and articulate about the fact that the medical and nutritional advice he suggests does not come from Torah, but from modern science. He dances a cautious dance between the new and the old, the modern and the traditional. Maimonides’ “medical writings were based on Jewish Talmudic sources as well as on secular, non-Jewish teachings.”[8] In other words, Levinson argues that it is authentically and traditionally Jewish for today’s Haredi Jews to self-consciously adapt contemporary scientific theories, just as Maimonides did in his day. Maimonides is important to Levinson not as a source of information about eating and health, but as a figure whose very name and reputation can help make the book seem authentically Jewish and grounded in the tradition, even if the book’s content is not actually derived from his writings.

The dust jacket of The Jewish Guide to Natural Nutrition clearly articulates coalescence. The author’s biography on the dust jacket celebrates his extensive Torah studies as well as his accomplishments in the field of medicine. Photographs visually reinforce this. The front cover shows a professional studio photograph of a bearded man – presumably the author – carrying a large, attractive basket of fresh green apples and dressed in a clean white lab coat. The apples signify the value of natural and healthy eating, while the lab coat symbolizes the scientific validity and authority of the book’s nutritional suggestions. The back cover includes a parallel photo of the same man dressed in Hasidic garb carrying a stack of Maimonides’ halakhic writings. Science and Jewish religion, including both its mystical-Hasidic and its rationalistic-legal-Maimonidean strands, are not only compatible with one another, but mutually enforcing. The authority of science is backed, symbolically and visually, by Torah, and Torah leads to an appreciation of contemporary nutritional science. Not accidentally, the book opens with three almost identical approbations: two by well-known yeshiva deans and one by a professor at a Jerusalem medical school. The approbation from the medical doctor praises coalescence, in that the book “melds an expert’s view of nutrition and disease with its special implication and application to religious Jewish tradition.”[9]

Levinson’s coalescence goes further. He not only provides standard American nutritional advice for Haredi readers, but also claims that following that advice is fundamentally a spiritual experience and religious obligation. Here Levinson goes beyond his Maimonidean precedent. For Maimonides, maintaining one's health is a means to an end, a requirement so that illness or weakness would not distract the individual from the higher values of study and religious self-development. “It is impossible to understand or know anything of the knowledge of the Creator when one is ill. Therefore a person must distance himself from things which damage the body and a person should become accustomed to things which make one healthy.” For Levinson, in contrast, health is not merely a means toward a higher end; rather, there is an inherent “spirituality in eating.”[10] Combining kabbalistic language and basic biology of the digestive system, Levinson explains that healthy eating exemplifies a central religious goal of separating the “good” from the “evil” in creation. The “nutrients” are good and therefore associated with the holy “sparks” of the Kabbalah, while the “waste” is the evil, associated with the evil kabbalistic “husks.” “The separation of nutrients from waste in the act of eating has its spiritual counterpart in the extraction of the sparks of holiness which are contained in food. And is not the physical and spiritual separation of good from evil the very meaning of human existence?”[11]

Levinson also hints that the foods people eat and how they eat them are not value free, but exemplify their cultural identity. “Foods are much more than just a collection of nutrients; they are a wealth of influences and connotations…. The various religions use foods to connote their special approach to life.” Levinson’s health advice exemplifies this point, perhaps more clearly than he intended. While he intends to underscore the inherent spirituality, according to Judaism, in eating, he also implies that eating like an American means having absorbed American mores and sensibilities. He advocates a “healthier, lighter style of eating,” which became a virtual American infatuation in the nutrition discourse of late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries (even as Americans grew fatter).[12] Levinson’s concern with calorie counting, weight-loss, and balanced consumption of nutrients reflects the biological knowledge and cultural aesthetics of contemporary America, a community of plenty with an almost infinite variety of foods to choose from, with a deep concern with the long-term health impact of overeating, and an aesthetic that celebrates thinness. For almost all of human history, the central culinary dilemma facing humans involved procuring enough food to fend off starvation or at least chronic hunger. In contrast, Levinson and his American Haredi readership share with other middle-class Americans a challenge of negotiating an almost unlimited quantity and variety of food.[13] The late twentieth-century American infatuation with light, healthy eating, which Levinson exemplifies, supports values that Haredim and the general population share and which are reflected in their culinary culture and popular literature. Levinson’s book suggests that religious people, even those profoundly committed to a given canon, read and interpret their scripture and tradition not only in their own terms, but “in order to make sense of their lived experiences.”[14]

That Haredi Jews share a culinary culture with their neighbors, and that they follow the best medical and health advice available, are relatively unproblematic notions from a Haredi perspective. After all, the Jewish tradition for the most part supports the idea that Jews should seek quality medical treatment,[15] and Maimonides indeed advocated learning from the best available science. However, other examples of coalescence raise significant ideological and religious challenges.

For example, Haredi popular literature, like its devout Christian counterparts, adopts the modern notion of the “companionate marriage.” Here the coalescence appears in a matter of profound ideological and religious significance, since, as Helen Hardcare explains about Protestant Fundamentalists, the family is a “primary unit for ritual observance as well as an influential site of religious education and the transmission of religious knowledge from one generation to the next.”[16] Or, as one Haredi author puts it, “The Jewish family [is] a vital force in insuring our people’s continued existence.”[17] Popular Haredi works identify the Torah’s “timeless formula for marriage,” and contrast that with the “non-Jewish system” that is “floundering in its own confusion” and therefore “has nothing to offer the Jew.”[18] Yet, a brief historical comparison reveals how acculturated Haredi families have become, and how the Haredi popular literature coalesces by presenting the modern, monogamous, suburban nuclear family as part and parcel of the tradition.

Both the contemporary Haredi family and the pre-modern Ashkanazic one share a commitment to strict monogamy, as opposed to the polygamy of ancient Judaism and at least some of historical Sephardic culture. Yet, in pre-modern Ashkenaz, parents contracted marriages for their children, often with the help of professional matchmakers. When choosing a partner for their child, parents paid less attention to emotional or romantic compatibility and more to finding a spouse who could offer the greatest socio-economic advantage. Often, marriages were arranged, if not always consummated, when the children were in their mid-teens. This marriage was more of an economic agreement than a romantic one, certainly at the outset. The couple might continue to live with the bride’s family for some time, until they became financially and socially independent. In this constellation, “personal compatibility not to speak of romantic attachment [between the couple] were not taken into account at all.” [19] On occasion, feelings of love and mutual attraction would push a young couple to choose one another as marriage partners, but rabbis and community members saw this as a rebellion against communal values rather than a fulfillment of them.[20]

Today, Haredi couples, usually in their early 20s, care deeply about emotional compatibility and therefore search for marriage partners through dating. This period of courtship allows the young couple to determine if they are emotionally compatible and romantically suited. Under these circumstances, when courtship and emotional compatibility have become central to Haredi images of marriage, Haredi authors write dating guidebooks for such young people, providing “guidelines for dating and courtship,” so that the dating couple can most effectively determine if they share the same values, if they have the same expectations from married life, and if their “personalities” will enable “the couple to get along with each other.”[21]

Furthermore, for medieval Ashkenazic Jews the home was a center of economic life, because merchandise and services were produced in the home for the use of its residents as well as for trade with others. Women, though also mothers, played central roles in the medieval Jewish marketplace, at a time and place when parenthood was not considered a full-time endeavor and where raising children was perceived as requiring less moment-to-moment vigilance than it does today.

For contemporary Haredi rhetoric, in contrast, the “Jewish home” rather than being a locus of economic production, serves as a “haven in a heartless world,” a domestic shelter from the dangers of the marketplace and the outside culture.[22] It is a modern, middle-class, child-centered, nuclear family. In these families, rearing offspring, who require full-time attention and continuous nurturing, requires parents primarily and educators secondarily to be sensitive, vigilant, and loving toward children more or less on a constant basis. Women are, therefore, encouraged by Haredi literature to dedicate themselves first and foremost to being mothers and wives, and to go to work only if the family’s financial situation requires it.[23]

As numerous historians of both the Jewish and non-Jewish family have noted, these modern family patterns, in broad terms, developed with the rise of the middle class, under conditions of urbanization and industrialization.[24] In their popular literature, acculturated contemporary Haredim describe, analyze, and celebrate this modern family. In particular, Haredi popular literature celebrates one particular aspect of this modern family: what historians and sociologists have come to refer to as the “companionate marriage.” In this modern family, marriage ought to lead to self-fulfillment, happiness, and the satisfaction of the psychological need for friendship and emotional closeness.

The ideal of companionate marriage came to dominate discussions of marriage in twentieth-century America…. It elevated anticipation of achieving emotional, sexual, and interpersonal fulfillment in marriage. The goal of marriage was no longer financial security or a nice home but emotional and sexual fulfillment and compatibility. Though marriages were not expected to be conflict and tension free, it was hoped that disagreements could be overcome if husbands and wives talked about their feelings, recognized the existence of conflicts, and worked out their problems through close “communication.”[25]

The norm of the companionate marriage has penetrated Haredi circles, and Haredi books which guide couples to achieving that kind of relationship serve as prime examples of coalescence. For medieval Ashkenazic Jews, there was “an absence of any philosophy promising happiness in marriage.”[26] Today’s Haredi books on marriage view happiness and self-fulfillment as the central goals of married life. These works focus particularly on communication skills between couples, in order to assure that the couple will remain emotionally responsive to one another. “A healthy relationship is built on clear and honest communication. Listening, understanding and conversing all contribute to the empathy so vital to a marriage.”[27] Furthermore, “Marriage… creates the possibility of the closest emotional relationship that can exist between living beings, the love between husband and wife.” “Happiness in marriage” can be achieved by “building trust,… maintaining affection,… [and] creating intimacy.” Ultimately, “Marriage is a primary catalyst for the development of each partner’s individual potential to the utmost.”[28]

The adoption of the model of the companionate marriage relates closely to another very popular genre of Haredi popular literature, namely the parenting guide. Here, too, coalescence prevails, with these parenting guides presenting images of child rearing as part and parcel of the Jewish tradition. And here too the coalescence appears in discussions of central religious values: how to raise children to become Torah-observant and God-fearing Jews. Hence, one might expect a greater reliance on traditional sources and a more suspicious stance toward contemporary norms. Still, Haredi parenting guides, even those that claim to reject so-called “modern” approaches to parenting, adopt the strategy of coalescence and share much of their style and content with their non-Haredi counterparts.

Lawrence Kelemen’s parenting guide, To Kindle a Soul, for example, claims in the subtitle to contain "ancient wisdom." "At the foot of a mountain in the Sinai desert, the Creator of the universe directly revealed His profound wisdom to approximately three million people…. Those present received… a comprehensive guide for raising great human beings." The book attempts to describe "this ancient, Torah approach to education" which is "more comprehensive and effective… than any of the schools of child psychology I studied at university." Kelemen describes the "significant” differences between these supposedly "ancient traditions" and the practices of contemporary parents.[29]

Yet Kelemen's parenting approach fits neatly within late twentieth-century American parenting discourse, and it differs significantly from that of pre-modern Jewish sources. Kelemen combines an American religious-right critique of supposedly decadent American family life with a child-centered parenting approach advocated by endless American mass-market parenting guides in the 1990s. Criticism of American materialism and permissiveness; advocacy of limiting the mother's time at work; polemics against spanking; emphasis on good nutrition, proper sleep time, and bedtime routine; concerns about the adverse impact of television viewing; claims to provide a "system" for raising moral children; and advocacy of "quality-time" for empathy and close communication between parents and children, all characterized American experts’ suggestions to worried middle-class parents at the end of the twentieth century. Even Kelemen’s claim that his approach derives from the Bible follows the pattern of American religious parenting guides. Indeed, the book’s unstated assumptions – that parenting is a full-time endeavor, and that parents should actively monitor their children’s moment-by-moment lives – typify experts’ advice and popular assumptions in America during the so-called "century of the child." [30]

Not only does Kelemen’s approach match that of contemporary parenting experts, but it differs from traditional Jewish sources on the topic. While a complete history of Jewish approaches to children and family has yet to be written, it is enough in this context to note that traditional Jewish literature speaks of childhood and parenting in spotty and unsystematic ways, scattered in works focused on other topics.[31] This reflects a historical past in which families were considerably less child-centered than they are today, and parents learned how to parent more by imitation, instinct, face-to-face conversation, and osmosis than from the written word of experts. Pre-modern Jews did not write parenting manuals since they assumed that knowing how to parent was an intuitive or natural thing.[32]

Take the example of Kelemen’s approach to corporal punishment and spanking. This is a particularly important example because traditional sources do say quite a bit on the topic, and what do they say clashes rather dramatically with the approach of contemporary Haredi parenting literature. Kelemen polemicizes against corporal punishment of children, and even harsh verbal reprimands. Instead – reflecting both contemporary notions of individual autonomy and the voluntary nature of modern religious commitments, which make it difficult to coerce people into religious conformity – he insists that parents should calmly explain to their children what is proper and improper. Parents should then serve as living role models of the proper, hoping thereby to help children come to their own appreciation of and identification with the parents’ values. While Kelemen advocates setting clear and consistent boundaries on children’s behavior, he claims that enforcing those boundaries with violence and verbal harshness undermines the child’s respect for the parents and prevents children from being receptive to higher values. “Yelling and hitting usually flips [sic] children out of the learning mode… which is characterized by a relaxed and happy state that facilitates accepting the educator's values… and into the obedience mode… which is characterized by a nervous, distrusting or rebellious state.” Spanking is part of an "authoritarian" approach typical of "dictatorships," which leads to uninspired obedience in which youth do not come to identify with the values of the parents. Ultimately, "harshness” leads to “rebellion." Kelemen also argues for the importance of parental affection. "Affection is more than just attention. Attention just requires being responsive to a child's needs. Affection is the next step. It is warm and it is the most powerful medium we possess for communicating love." Kelemen teaches that, "If we want to produce people with integrity, internally driven by a specific value system, we must utilize gentle means."[33]

This advice stands in stark contrast to traditional Jewish sources on child rearing, which explain that spanking does not promote rebellion but prevents it. In a typical passage, the ancient Jewish text, Midrash Rabbah, quoting the book of Proverbs, relates that, "'He who spares his rod hates his child.' This teaches that preventing physical punishment (mardut) leads [the child] to bad culture.”[34] R. David Altschuler, the seventeenth century Galician author of the Biblical commentary Metzudat David, goes further in commenting on the same verse: "Do not refrain from making [your son] suffer even if you see that this is not effective, because there is hope that much reproof will be effective."[35] Sources, particularly from early-modern Ashkenazi culture but from other contexts as well, openly polemicize against fatherly affection. For example, R. Alexander Ziskind of Grodno, the eighteenth century mystic, explained that, "Even though I had many sons, I never kissed even one of them, and never held them in my arms, and never spoke with them of frivolous things, God forbid."[36] The seventeenth century rabbi, Yeshayahu Horowitz (the Shlah), states: "If the father rebukes his son early in his life with the staff… and uses fear while he is young… then he [the son] will be accustomed to fear his father always.… If in childhood the father displays great affection… then later when he matures he will not listen.… Mothers are… not to spare the rod but to strike their sons even if they scream.… Women who are compassionate with their children… murder them."[37]

In the next chapter we will examine the complex ways in which Kelemen defends the idea that his approach derives from the ancient tradition. Here it is enough to note the way in which his book reflects the strategy of coalescence: identifying contemporary American values as being authentically Jewish. To Kindle a Soul, like other contemporary Haredi books on parenting, shares more with contemporary American mass-market parenting guides than it does with pre-modern Jewish sources on parenting. However, a close examination of other aspects of these works on families reveals that coalescence is not the whole story. Haredi works may borrow the companionate marriage and child-centered parenting from contemporary culture, but they borrow selectively. This leads to a second function of Haredi popular literature in mediating the tension between isolation and acculturation: filtering.





[1] Ibid.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Haym Soloveitchik, “Rupture and Reconstruction,” 75. For internal Haredi discussion regarding this issue, see Mordechai Schiller, "Chasidus in Song – Not for the Record," The Jewish Observer 10:8 (March, 1975), 21; Breindy Leizerson, "Set the Record Straight," The Jewish Observer 20:4 (May, 1987), 40-41; Dovid Sears, "Who Took the 'Jewish' Out of Jewish Music?," The Jewish Observer 29:10 (January, 1997), 12-16; Yosef C. Golding, “How to Get the Entire Jewish Music World Angry at Me… Or a Parent’s Guide to What Your Children Listen To,” The Jewish Observer 40:4 (May, 2007), 36-37.
[4] Stolow, Orthodox by Design, 132-142; Andrew R. Heinze, “The Americanization of ‘Mussar’: Abraham Twerski’s Twelve Steps,” Judaism 48:4 (1999), 450-469. On the self-absorption of this therapeutic self-help literature, see Wendy Kaminer, I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions (New York: Vintage Books, 1993).
[5] See below and Yoel Finkelman, “Medium and Message in Contemporary Haredi Adventure Fiction,” The Torah U-Madda Journal 13 (2005), 50-87.
[6] The academic literature has focused on this trend primarily regarding the development of Orthodox historiography. See below, Chapter Four, n. 4.
[7] Yaakov Levinson, The Jewish Guide to Natural Nutrition (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1995), 4-5. Much of the following analysis could be duplicated for the issue of The Jewish Observer entitled “A Healthy and Productive Life as a Torah Jew,” 40:8 (November, 2007) and for David J. Zulberg, The Life-Transforming Diet: Based on the Health and Psychological Principles of Maimonides and Other Classical Sources (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 2007).
[8] Levinson, Natural Nutrition, 5. Zulberg, The Life-Transforming Diet, quotes more extensively from selected passages from Maimonides’ medical writings, those in line with contemporary sensibilities.
[9] Unpaginated approbation of Prof. Leon Epstein.
[10] Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot De’ot, 4:1; Levinson, Natural Nutrition, 128.
[11] Levinson, Natural Nutrition, 136.
[12] Ibid., 4. Maimonides did advocate eating until not fully satiated, though Levinson’s language, as noted, derives from modern, not Maimonidean categories. See Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot De’ot, 4:2.
[13] Harvey Levenstein, Paradoxes of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), Chap. 16. For further reflections on the contemporary Orthodox diet, see Brill, “Judaism in Culture,” 3 and Stolow, “Aesthetics/Ascetics: Visual Piety and Pleasure in a Stricly Kosher Cookbook,” Postscripts 2:1 (2006), 5-28 (some of which also appears in his Orthodox by Design). Levinson does not put as much emphasis as American general culture on the aesthetic aspects of weight loss, perhaps because he does not perceive looking attractive as a religious goal. In this, Zulberg’s The Life-Transforming Diet comes closer to the general American concern with body-image and aesthetics.
[14] Molly Worthen, “Housewives of God,” The New York Times Magazine, November 12, 2010, available here  viewed November, 2010.
[15] See, for example, Shulhan ‘Arukh, Yoreh De’ah, 336:1. The ambivalence about seeking doctors, on the theory that divine providence governs illness and heath, was generally of theoretical import only, and usually did not have practical implications. See the commentary of the Taz, ibid.
[16] Helen Hardcare, “The Impact of Fundamentalism on Women, the Family, and Interpersonal Relations,” in Fundamentalisms and Society, Eds. Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 129. On similar Christian conflation of modern notions of marriage with traditional ones, see James Davison Hunter, Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 76-93.
[17] Avraham Pam and Tzvi Baruch Hollander, “The Jewish Family – In Its Glory and in Crisis,” The Jewish Observer 29:4 (May, 1996), 6.
[18] Yirmiyohu Abramov and Tehilla Abramov, Two Halves of a Whole: Torah Guidelines for Marriage (Southfield, MI: Targum/Feldheim, 1994), 158.
[19] Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages (New York: Schocken, 1971), 141-142. Unfortunately, a systematic history of the Jewish family has yet to be written. But see, Elisheva Baumgarten, Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); ChaeRan Freeze, Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia (Hanover, NH: Brandies University Press, 2004); David Kraemer, Ed., The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Avraham Grossman, Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe, Trans. Jonathan Chipman (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2004), Chaps. 2-4.
[20] David Biale, Eros and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1992), Chap. 3.
[21] Meir Winkler, Bayis Ne’eman b’Yisrael: Practical Steps to Success in Marriage (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1988), 53, 57.
[22] The expression comes from Christopher Lasch, Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged (New York: Basic Books, 1977).
[23] Ironically, in the early modern period, the Haskalah, rather than the tradition, called for marriages based on love and compatibility rather than socio-economic advantage, and called to protect women from the marketplace by carving out for them a domestic role in which they could spend more of their time and energy on child-rearing. The central Jewish polemic against marriage as a financial arrangement and against women’s role in the workplace came from Haredi popular literature’s rhetorical enemies, the maskilim. See Biale, Eros and the Jews, 159-161.
[24] Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (New York: Harper and Row, 1977); Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life (New York: Free Press, 1988).
[25] Mintz and Kellogg, Domestic Revoluations, 115, describing the particular model of companionate marriage advocated by early twentieth century progressives in America. Also see 186. Haredim, like these progressives, advocate “divorce by mutual consent… on the grounds of incompatibility,” at least as an unfortunate consequence of the failure of the companionate marriage (ibid.). Yet, Haredim are less likely than these progressive to support free use of contraception and open sex-education. Haredim also remain attached to Victorian sensibilities that distinguish between the feminine/domestic/secure sphere and the masculine/public/dangerous sphere, a distinction against which progressives polemicized.
[26] Katz, Tradition and Crisis, 141-142.
[27] Abramov and Abramov, Two Halves, 65.
[28] Aharon Feldman, The River, the Kettle and the Bird: A Torah Guide to Successful Marriage (Israel: CSB Publications, 1987), 11; Radcliff, Aizer K’negdo: The Jewish Woman’s Guide to Happiness in Marriage (Southfield, MI: Targum/Feldheim, 1988), 11. Abramov and Abramov, Two Halves, 19. Also see Malka Kaganoff, Dear Kallah: A Practical Guide for the New Bride (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1993); Winkler, Bayis Ne’eman.
[29] Lawrence Kelemen, To Kindle a Soul: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and Teachers (Southfield, MI: Targum Press and Leviathan Press, 2001), 19-21. Some of Kelemen’s formulations, as well as one of the book’s central metaphors – that parenting consists of “building” and “planting” – come from the parenting guide of the twentieth-century Israeli Haredi rabbi, Shlomo Wolbe, which Kelemen had been involved in translating into English. Wolbe’s ideas themselves are influenced by modern psychological and cultural categories, though the influence of modern psychology on contemporary musaristis like Wolbe has yet to be studied, to the best of my knowledge. See R. Shlomo Wolbe, Zeri’ah U’Vinyan BeHinnukh (Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1995), 23-24, and his Planting and Building: Raising a Jewish Child, Trans. Leib [Lawrence] Kelmen (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 2000).
[30] See Peter N. Stearns, Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America (New York and London: New York University Press, 2003), and Ann Hulbert, Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), Chap. 11.
[31] On the difficulties in determining ancient Jewish attitudes toward child rearing, see David Kraemer, “Images of Childhood and Adolescence in Talmudic Literature,” in his Ed., The Jewish Family, 65-68.
[32] Baumgarten, Mothers and Children, 155.
[33] Kelemen, To Kindle a Soul, 129-152. Quotes from 109, 130, 132-133.
[34] Shemot Rabbah, 1 s.v. Ve’eleh Shemot, quoting Proverbs 13:24
[35] Also see B.T. Makkot, 8a, Bava Batra 21a; Midrash Tehillim, Buber, 6; Midrash Tenaim, Devarim 25:3; Rashi on Mishlei 13:24 and on 19:18; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Talmud Torah, 2:2; Shulhan ‘Arukh, Yoreh De’ah, 240:20 and Rama, 245:10; Sefer Hasidim, 302, cited in Baumgarten, Mothers and Children, 162; R. Yeshayahu Horowitz, Shenei Luhot HaBerit (Jerusalem: n.p., 1975), Letter Daled, paragraph 23-32; The Gaon of Vilna, Even Shelemah (n.p.: n.d., n.d.), 6:4. When Shulhan ‘Arukh, Yoreh De’ah, 240:20 insists that one not beat his older children (according to Rama, 22-24 years old), this is not due to any opposition to corporal punishment per se, but, following his source (BT Mo’ed Qatan 17a), because the son might retaliate and violate the more serious prohibition of injuring one’s parent.
[36] R. Alexander Ziskind of Horodno in his ethical will, quoted in Simhah Asaf, Meqorot LeToldot HaHinnukh BeYisrael (New York and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2002), Vol. 1, 688. Also see Yitzchak ben Eliakim, author of Sefer Lev Tov (published in Prague in 1620), who insists that parents “not reveal their love [of their children] in their presence because then the children would not fear them and would not obey them." Cited in Gerson David Hundert, "Jewish Children and Childhood in Early Modern East Central Europe," in Kraemer, Ed. The Jewish Family, 82. Also see the related sources quoted in Hundert, 83, and Ephraim Kanarfogel, "Attitudes Toward Childhood in Medieval Jewish Society," in Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times, Ed. David R. Blumenthal (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1985), Vol. 2, 1-34.
[37] Horowitz, Shnei Luhot HaBerit, Letter Daled, para. 23-25. 

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