The Tehillim Tipping Point

Q. How many Beis Yaakov girls does it take to change a light bulb?
A. 100. One and 99 to say Tehillim.

Women scuttle to each other’s homes during the week to huddle and recite Tehillim (Psalms) in an attempt to ward off illness or death or entreat God’s kindness for a good shidduch or income. Women are the corrections of a community: when disasters strike, the rabbis often blame the women for gossiping or immodest dress. (Gossiping while dressed immodestly is a double whammy and even worse)

As if women don’t have enough to do, now they are responsible for the spiritual well-being of a whole community and are instructed to say Tehillim as the remedy needed to avert further disaster. What was the Tehillim tipping point? How did these verses come to substitute serious learning and empowerment for women? Isn’t is strange that while women’s voices are accorded tremendous power to change the divinely ordained course of events, they have virtually no voice in the decision-making process of a religious community. Perhaps that is the real reason why communities start to go awry.