If God wanted us to have holes in our ears, we would have been born that way!
In the Bible, ear piercing is a sign of slavery! (See Devarim (Deuteronomy) 15:16-17)
When I discovered that my father was against piercing your ears, that was OK with me. I did not really want anyone putting unnecessary holes in my body. (Little did I know....)
Over time, I acquired a pretty nice collection of clip-on earings.
I was proud to have unpierced ears.
And then.... betrayal!
My daughter wanted pierced ears.
"You can make that decision for yourself, when you are eighteen," I declared, just as my parents told my sister, repeatedly, every time she asked for pierced ears.
My daughter persisted.
In an effort to placate her, I lent her (and her sister), my clip-on earings.
For a while, I thought I had succeeded.
I was pleased that they were using my earings. Even though they lost several pair, I thought it was worth it if they would lose interest in piercing their ears.
Much to my chagrin, my daughter continued to beg for permission to pierce her ears. (This made me quite sorry that I lent them my earings, since it is IMPOSSIBLE to find clip-on earings anymore, and I cannot replace the ones they lost!)
This summer, I discovered that my daughter had a powerful ally.
One bright, sunny day, my sister pulled me aside. I thought she was about to share with me some super secret. With the greatest air of sharing confidences, she quietly suggested that... I let Y pierce her ears before school starts. Woah! Y is only 14!! She is not even close to turning 18!
My sister, ever so gently, suggested that I do not really want to make my daughter wait that long.
"No way!" I told my sister.
My sister was not so easily deterred.
Over the next several weeks, my sister cajoled me, little by little, wearing down my resistance.
She assured me that my daughter would not "grow out" of her interest in pierced ears. She explained just how much she resented not having pierced ears when she was a kid. And she described how appreciative my daughter would be, if I relented.
I stuck to my guns, and school started with no bodily mutilations.
But my sister did not let it go.
"OK, we missed the beginning of school. But think how nice it would be if she got her ears pierced before Rosh HaShannah...."
"I don't want her to pierce her ears," I repeated, but my arguments were beginning to sound weak, even to me.
I love my daughter. In some ways, she is a lot like me. But not in all ways.
Unlike me, my daughter really is a "girly girl." She is like my sister. She is "into" clothes; she likes shopping, she likes nail polish, she wants to use make up. (My other daughter is the same way, btw).
What can I say? I was never interested in those things. Neither was my mother. But my sister was.
I do not really understand that facet of my daughter's personality. But my sister does.
So, despite my strong facade, I listened when my sister explained how important earings can be to a teenager, and how the desire for pierced ears will only grow stronger, and she will get them anyway, and quite possibly resent me for preventing her from piercing her ears earlier.
I recognized the truth of her words.
I wished things were different.
I started noticing who did not have pierced ears.
A lot of my friends and acquantances do not have pierced ears. (As a group, we are a statistical anomaly)
I started asking these unpierced women, "Did you want pierced ears in high school?"
They all answered the same.
I could not ignore the evidence.
I had to ask myself, 'if my daughter is going to pierce her ears anyway, what advantage is there to making her wait until 18?'
I had no good answer.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
Dan Groover paints in Jerusalem (video)
21 minutes ago