... as a frum regular (top) graduate from a regular (top) Beis Yaakov with absolutely no "progressive" feminist agenda, [why does she need to say she was a top graduate from a top Beis Yaakov, sounds very defensive] I"d like to make a suggestion ... to anyone who found this piece confounding.
Realize that not all of us in the Ezras Nashim have been blessed with the ability to so easily "feel real" in our "positions in yiddishkeit". [because their position is as second class citizens and in the modern world that is hard to swallow, where women can basically do anything]. Thank Hashem everday for granting you this gift of serenity and joy, [which really means you are either clueless or completely brainwashed]which many sincere ovdei hashem sturggle to achieve, epsecially on Yomim Tovim.
I am thrilled for my husband and son on Simchas Torah, and love watching the joy on their faces as they dance with the Sefer Torah. But there is a small part of me that yearns to actually express my deep joy, too. instead of sitting squished over, under, and in between the masses -- quite literally unable to move [this is a completely legitimate feeling, why shouldn't women have the opportunity to express their joy just like the men]. During Aseres Yemei Teshuva I of course aspire to reach the level of "the specter of din being so imposing so that I honestly do not notice where I am" [and yet the men are in shul and clearly do notice where they are, only the women are supposed to have this great sense].
But until I get there, I think that it's actually pretty normal to occassionally have some thoughts like I wish I were able to daven a full shacharis and mussaf in shul with a tzibbur, and hear all the tekios clearly instead of an abridged 19 minute shacharis on my couch and 30 tekios that are losing a competition with crying babies. Or, it would be nice to actually watch the paroches being pulled aside and see teh aron kodesh opened to reveal the sfirei torah, instead of reading Artscroll's "The ark is opened" in the machzor.
Megillas Esther is leined in an early morning slot at my house so that I can take car of all my, kein ayin hara, beautiful children as well as prepare for the other mitzvos hayom [that is a big ppart of the problem, when you have 8-10 kids it i really a full time job for many many years]. I am so happy to be busy wth that, but I still do feel that pang when I think about how beautiful it would be to hear leining with a tzibbur (and at a time of day when I"m not half asleep [this is very sad. Her husband can't help her out? Why can't her husband get up ear;y daven vasikin and then watch the kids so that she can go to a later minyan?].
And Rabbi Besser didn't mention this part, but the singing .... Whether at a regular Yom Tov seuda (with my brothers-in-law) or at thevery load and hartzig Purim version, or the personal highlght of my year, at the very end of the seder.... The singing is so beautiful that it physically hurts to keep my mouth closed and not to join as the men express their thanks to Hakodosh Baruch Hu for al of his blessings [This is so sad. I know that their is a halacha of kol isha but to apply it in this case seems ridiculous]. I know, I know, that's not what He wants from me -- that's why I am not doing it! But, it's hard.
To clarify, I am a regular,frum, (usually happy!) woman -- not remotely "religiously marginalized " or even bitter or resentful of teh position Hashem has chosen to put me in [but clearly you are, you just can't admit it because that would make you a feminist]. And yes, I do work hard on being truly content and deeply content with my role. But until allo f us who feel that way reach that madreigah it is refreshing and validating to hear some acknowledgment of our struggle from the other side of the mechitza
Name Withheld [this says it all]
IMHO what this letter shows best is the great brainwashing that Beis Yakkov's do.