The Lilith Blog 1 of 2

February 5, 2019 Suzanne Esterman

A Decalogue for Women

commandments-49012_960_720I have had a deep connection to last week’s Torah portion (Yitro, Exodus 18:1–20:23) for the past 14 years because it’s my older son’s bar mitzvah portion. Well, it is the Ten Commandments, so that connection truly began a lot longer ago. 
But one night, the year before his special day, we started to really delve into what these Big Ten were — and couldn’t. We were out to dinner and could rattle off five, maybe six rules, off the tops of our heads. That’s all. 
Since we couldn’t resort to the internet to fill in the gaps, our attention turned to other realms appealing to three guys — two of whom were preteen — that might require a set of rules, like… the Planet of the Apes. And so, the Monkey Commandments were born.
And, no, I don’t remember any of them…I just remember that, for a time, they were a symbolic stand-in suited to a particular group. So I thought that I would do the same for women.
Here are my Women’s Ten Commandments:
1. You shall love your body, whether it’s thicker here than you’d want or a little lacking there, it’s yours and it’s your temple. It makes you, You. And you are beautiful.
2. Honor the good in your parents—and try not to repeat the “Ugh, I sound just like my mother” moments.
3. Speak up and Speak out. And it’s OK if sometimes you do it softly.
4. Say YES only when you mean it, and not just because it’s easy.  Say NO when you want to…because it’s really what you mean.
5. You shall say, “I’m sorry” ONLY when you have done something wrong. Seriously, only when you are expressing extreme regret, like, “I stepped on your cat” or “I shrunk your sweater”—not for little things that are out of your control like, “I’m sorry but you’re out of bourbon.” Just have gin instead.
6. Keep Shabbat and let it guide your spirit throughout the week.
7. You will describe little girls by their character, not their looks. And remember: She is not a doll. Or an angel. Or, well … you get the picture.
8. You will not leave your seat when your partner or child yells to you from another room, “Do we have staples?” Or, “Where are my keys?” Or, “Is there toothpaste in the house”? If they can pronounce toothpaste, they can look under the vanity!
9. Persist. Period.
10. (And finally…) Respect yourself and believe in yourself. I believe in you!