SATIRE: Mishna Bruriah, The Never Written Teachings Of Bruriah

by Shainy Paison

Bruriah was a gifted and unusually knowledgeable woman in Talmudic times. Pity no one at the time saw fit to record her teachings. Had they done so, we might have had this: 

Mishna Bruriah- Tractate One

In order to celebrate the holidays with due enthusiasm, children are to receive new clothing.
How much is a parent obligated to spend per child?
Rivkah bas Leah says that the cap is $50 per child.
Esther bas Sarah says that it is $200.
Rochel bas Yocheved says that new tights or socks is sufficient.
B’mai K’mifligi? Regarding what is this dispute?

It was well known that Esther’s girls wore matching clothes on every day of the week, from elaborate hair bows down to shiny Venettini shoes. For their brother’s bar mitzvah, they wore gowns and had their hair and makeup done. “Yom Tov is surely as important as a bar mitzvah,” she said.

Rochel allowed her children to wear whatever clothing they liked, often hand-me-downs from the neighbors. It was said that one of her girls once went one week without brushing her hair. “Even a symbolic garment is enough for simchas yom tov.” She said. But even she made sure that the children were freshly washed and wearing clean clothing when visiting her in-laws.

It was attempted to uphold Rivkah’s decision of $50 per child with no success. “What is good in Chicago is not good for Boro Park.” K’muvan. Moreover, in communities with overpriced boutique stores, $50 may only cover the cost of a single pair of MeMoi tights and a large bow with the wrong initial.

In communities with Marshalls, the same budget can buy a new dress and matching shoes, plus a cute kitchen gadget.

It was agreed that no child should feel inferior to the other girls in her shul, and that a newborn girl does not need to be matching her older sisters down to the oversized bow on her bald head.

Regarding this it is said, “Greater is spending money on food for guests than 1,000 dresses which will be outgrown and stained.” And that Yom Tov, Rochel and Esther sat at the same table, and all of their girls abandoned their festive dresses in favor of Purim costumes from the dress-up box.

Mishna Bruriah – Tractate Two

When is a woman exempt from hosting guests due to children?
When a child is too young, too rowdy, or the presence of guests will interrupt their schedule.
When is a child too young?
Rabbanit Elisheva said six weeks.
Rabbanit Miriam said six months.
Rabbanit Rivka said six years.

A story. Once she was offered guests for a Yom Tov meal but she turned them down because of her baby. Her friend visited her in her home but found neither cradle nor swing. Where is your baby? She asked. She indicated a boy of about 5 [years old] and replied “behold.” And he was jumping from the furniture.

When is a child too rowdy? Devorah bas Cheftziva was known for her open table. Once, guests became reluctant to eat there. They investigated and found that her children were wont to tie shoelaces together, spill soup and scream unceasingly. Only mesivta bochurim were willing to sit at her table.

Such [a family] is exempt.
When is their schedule interrupted?Rus the Gatherer says from when guests will wake them from their sleep.
Rabbanis Elka said when their mother is uncomfortable to feed them in front of guests.
But could she not go out [to nurse in another room]? If this will cause her pain from feeling left out, she is exempt.
When does she feel left out? Upon hearing a burst of laughter or exclamation of delight.

Sarah bas Yocheved had guests on the condition that no one said anything interesting when she was not in the room.

Indeed, her chicken soup was so tasty, that for a while not one word was spoken at all. And she was praised both for her Hachnasas Orchim and chicken soup.

Pirkei Imahos

1) “Burp a baby, and you too shall be burped. Put a baby to sleep, and you too shall be put to sleep. Give love to a baby and you too shall be loved.” #pirkeiimahos

2) There are four character types: one who says “what is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine” is overtired. “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours” is a husband. “What is mine is yours, and what is yours is yours” is a mother. “What is yours is mine, and what is mine is mine” is a toddler. #pirkeiimahos

3) Do not look at the vessel, but rather at what it contains. For there may be an unidentified bag filled with treats or a box of ices in the freezer in which there is not even one. #pirkeiimahos

4) Do not engage in lengthy logical arguements with your children. [With regard to] your older children this is said; how much more so with overtired toddlers. #Pirkeiimahos

5) She used to say: Be cautious when following recipes; for an unwitting error may cause disastrous results. #pirkeiimahos

6) When a mother stays awake all night, travels alone with children or neglects her own needs, she is liable to lose her sanity. #pirkeiimahos

7) Who is wise? She who sets an early bedtime for her children. For the hours of peace and quiet at night will give strength for the day to come. #Pirkeiimahos

8) Shifra the Midwife assisted thousands of women in childbirth in her lifetime. She was known to say: adequate nutrition, a peaceful environment and the support of loving friends are the key to an easy labor and birth. #pirkeiimahos

Disclaimer: Shifra really was a great Jewish midwife and could conceivably have aided thousands of women and educated more. Unfortunately, we have no record of anything she said, but if we did, I imagine it would be something like this!

(Do you have your own #pirkeiimahos to add? Post it on Instagram and tag chinfo.official and Zeya Comedy with the hashtag #pirkeiimahos. Zeya will choose the best of the best to get a $100 gift card!)