When I was in seminary and then out of it, and after marriage, many people told me to go get myself a Rabbi. Their intentions were good and I had a couple who I really thought were great. The problems began though, when I realized in Orthodox Judaism, there are shall we say ‘womanly issues’ that are frankly embarrassing to address to a male, even a Rabbi well versed in Torah knowledge
Now issues like Mikvah and Family Purity are broad but when you get down to the dirty details it becomes quite shocking that these are questions you should address to each individual rabbi.
I get that there are three opinions for every two Jews and that some people live in communities in the US or other places where there is one lonely Chabad that they must trek to and maybe they don’t have a lot of options other than that if they want Orthodox advice. So they might choose to become Chabad themselves.
For someone like me, however, I find it greatly challenging to even ‘get’ a Rabbi on the phone because most of them are so busy like, saving the planet. So my solution is my cousin who happens to be a Rebbetzin and the greatest advice giver on the planet. Not only does she counsel thousands of people all over the world (she might as well be a therapist) but she could be a Rabbi herself if she wasn’t Orthodox. This doesn’t bother me at all…that she isn’t ‘qualified as a Rabbi’. Instead I count her advice as equal if not greater. She is one of the wisest people I know and isn’t Binah a quality given to women?
Given there are so many scandals involving Rabbis, it concerns me that these good advice givers may have chosen to take the wrong path themselves. We are lucky to have so many Rabbis and people who want that job but in my Orthodox shul for example, there is no ‘official rabbi’ and has been that way for years. It works well and there are great people like rabbis who go there but there just never has been an ‘official’ one. And this works well at least for now.
If you have one great, if you don’t I would even be one of those who tell you it would help your Judaism tremendously to have one. But I don’t think it’s a life or death matter and I feel blessed to have my Rebbetzin as the person I can text or call at a moment’s notice and know that she has my back.
When Moshiach comes, the feminine is supposed to become as strong as the masculine and I believe Moshiach might be a woman but I also believe in this day and age as femininity becomes stronger and stronger that female Orthodox rabbis might start popping up.
I’m not here to diss Rabbis; if you have one great, in fact I’m proud of you. But because there are so many opinions in Judaism and each person is so unique, why not take into account what your soul needs and not rely on any one person? And if you don’t great, it is still good to get advice from someone more learned then you. In fact, why not learn from everyone like the Torah teaches?