"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food." - Genesis 3:19It is easy to understand the curse of Adam as a prediction. But painful and dangerous physical labor, for men, is not a good thing.
Neither is the subjugation of Eve and the women that descended from her. ("Your husband...will rule over you." - Genesis 3:16)
Rather, Jewish people understand that a life of toil (Adam) and dominion (Eve) was the price they paid for interfering with G-d's plans for the world.
Before they ate of the Tree of Knowledge, man did not have to "work" to provide for his wife; woman did not have to worry that engagement with family would hurt her.
The task of humanity is to overcome these two curses.
Feminism, therefore, is a spiritual quest. What was ours to begin with now has to be won: Restore the balance of power between the genders.
But very few talk about the quest for male empowerment. It sounds paradoxical; don't men already have the die cast on their side?
The Bible would say, not so. By virtue of being "slaves to the workplace," whether that workplace be a farm or a factory or a cube farm, men have historically lived within the conditions of that ancient curse.
It is in this context that we can understand modern technology and the quest for more and more automation.
This, too, is a spiritual quest. It is a quest that can ultimately set men free from their historical chains. So that one day they can take care of their families, without ever having to set foot in a place of work.
Doing things that don't matter to them.
Earning pennies on the dollar they return to their employers in value.
There is only one way that we can screw this up. By once again interfering in G-d's plans for the future of humanity. By thinking we know more, and can take more of the world's blessings than the next guy.
As women gain the equality to which we are rightfully entitled, it goes without saying that we cannot use that power for harm - i.e. if we act to subjugate others then we risk losing all the ground we've gained. We are at risk of retaining or even worsening our curse.
Similarly, as men are gifted with the knowledge to understand the scientific laws of the Universe, it is incumbent on them to act with generosity to the rest of human kind. Freedom thus means finding a way to release all people from the toil of slave-like, dangerous, unnecessary work, so that there is nothing standing in the way of prosperity and freedom.
We can work together, men and women, to lift the curse of Adam and of Eve. We already have the know-how. We already have the will.
What we lack is the commitment to each other that is needed. Once we have that and choose to act in unity, G-d will rain down an eternity of blessing on the people. And we will not know human suffering any more.
Photo by Rob via Flickr Creative Commons. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the Federal government as a whole.