Only Jewish men can say a thing like that, as if our slavery would have been merely past perfect, in a time and place far from now and here.
If a man commands “his” children but leaves no space for them commanding him, he treats them like slaves. They have no property, they are no boss over their own time, and he wants them to obey, rather than cooperate.
I’m not saying that children should command their parents, but if the parental mode is one of commands, and that’s what certain parents take as communication, then their children should also be able to give their educators commands.
Better would be if parents and children would respect each other and would learn from each other. That both parties feel: your request is my demand.
When parents feel free to tell their children off and “no” twenty times per hour and a compliment and “yes” once a month, they act like slave owners.
Even if in an emergency or an outburst of anger we demand of our kids, we may later say sorry. A well-meant sorry is so powerful! It may rewrite history. (Especially if it means “I feel for you” – not if it just expresses “You should understand and forgive me.”) Or if we had no time to answer or listen to them, we can later ask: Sorry, I couldn’t pay attention – what did you want to say?
We need to tell our children: I would like you to do as I tell you because I want you to learn from me, but I also want to learn from you and be close to you, so please tell me too what you want to teach me. Please don’t give up on me – I really want to be your student and friend too.
If a man doesn’t kiss the ground on which “his” wife walked and doesn’t tell her all the time how grateful he is for being her husband, he probably treats her as a slave. And if she stays with him, she probably lives like his slave.
When men and women treat each other “equally,” most likely she works twice as hard and gets less attention than he gets. Remember feminism saying that women could also work for money outside the home and earn their own money? They often do now, AND do most or all of the household on top of that – for no pay. That is slavery.
Yes, men need to be honored to flourish. But do they support their wives to feel like a queen? If not, his honor is one of slave owners.
Does he listen to and appreciate her pearls of wisdom, when she agrees with him and when she admonishes him? If not, he’s a slave driver.
If she doesn’t love him or he doesn’t love her, they should divorce, but if they do, he’s not entitled; but she is. She cleans, kooks, listens, comforts, plans, thinks, cooperates, compromises, forgives, raises the kids, provides sex and all that in exchange for “I work too”? That is partnership? That is equality? That can be taken for granted? Only by slave owners.
Why should he not ask her: what can we improve so that you get more of what you need, of what you want?
We were slaves to an evil king and escaped and now we are slaves to the King of kings of kings, Whom we can never again escape – that is progress? That’s a reason for joy? On top of that we must listen to our spouse, our kids, our boss – what freedom is there?
The evil king, when we complained, toughened on us (Exodus, Chapter 5). It’s not real slavery if the one we need to serve will listen to our complains and will then try to make our lives easier.
Slaves we were in Egypt. Moishele, that is if I would never ask you: how are you doing? That’s, my sweet wife, if I never asked: What can I do for you?
If the story of the Exodus comes to teach us the core of Judaism, gratefulness, we’d better show our gratefulness first. And then we can sing together: Dayenu.
Pesach kasher vesameiach!