web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



When Religion Comes Between Husband And Wife


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

Last year, I read your book, “The Committed Life,” and ever since, nothing has been quite the same for me. I don’t even know where to begin… everything is so convoluted and confused in my mind. I will try to be as brief as possible. I really don’t want to burden you with my problems, but I need guidance, so I guess I should start at the beginning.

My husband and I were married six years ago, and we have one child, a four year old little boy who is the joy of our lives. We both come from Reform backgrounds, although I think that my parents are even more secular than my husband’s parents. We had X-mas trees and Easter eggs, but, to be fair, we also had a seder and went to Temple on the High Holidays.

Bobby and I met in graduate school. We both studied at Wharton, and after two years of keeping company, we were married and settled in Dallas, Texas. Religion and G-d were never a part of the equation of our lives and although, as I said, our families went to synagogue on the holidays, we even gave that up, because we saw it as pointless and hypocritical. But then, two years ago, from nowhere, I was hit by a major trauma. At a routine examination, my doctor found a lump which he told me looked suspicious, and as you can imagine, I became somewhat hysterical. Among the people I called in my time of trouble was an old school friend who lives in New York and attends your Tuesday night classes at Kehillath Jeshurun. To give me strength and hope, she sent me your book, “The Committed Life?” as a gift.

At first, I resisted reading it and put it aside. I couldn’t imagine that it would have a message for me. But then, on the night before I was scheduled for surgery, I had difficulty sleeping and I picked it up. From the moment I started to read, I couldn’t put it down. I cried, I laughed, I identified with your stories – but most important, I felt an awakening in my heart, a yearning for G-d, a desire to connect with the Jewish people. The next morning, on my way to the hospital, I shared my feelings with my husband, and he attributed them to my condition.

“It’s not the book,” he insisted. “You’re just very vulnerable right now. Anything will get to you.”

In vain did I try to convince him that, while it was true that I was vulnerable, the truths that emerged from your book were unrelated to my vulnerability. But there was no talking to him, so I gave up. For the first time in my life, I prayed to G-d. I didn’t know any Hebrew prayers, but your chapter on prayer had such an impact on me that I just cried and beseeched G-d to help me, and I just know that He was listening.

The procedure was successful – the growth was removed and it was not malignant! I know that this was an open miracle. Prior to surgery, I had consulted three physicians who all seemed to feel that the tumor was cause for concern. My husband however, feels that we were just lucky, and all this talk about G-d and miracles is a lot of poppycock, without substance.

When I came home from the hospital, I knew that I could not go back to my old way of life. I asked the friend who gave me your book to get me some literature on Judaism, and she did, and she also sent me your Torah tapes, as well as your articles from The Jewish Press which, by the way, I love. They keep me going from week to week. And thus began my journey back to G-d. But I am in a very lonely and painful predicament. As my relationship with G-d intensifies, my relationship with my husband is dissolving. My husband refuses to join me on this journey, and what is worse, he has the support of my parents and in-laws as well. I feel like the ‘odd man out.’ I would like to keep Shabbos, but how? For my husband, Friday night is a time to play cards, watch TV, or go out for dinner and a movie.

To make things even more complicated, he loves seafood and mockingly told me that if G-d measures people by whether they eat shrimp or salmon, it’s pretty sad.

Our little boy is four years old. I would love to enroll him in some sort of Jewish program, but again, Bobby refuses to hear of it. He wants him to go to a private, but secular school. I am truly tormented, Rebbetzin. I know that G-d saved me. I feel it with such intensity, yet I cannot make my husband understand. I have tried to get him to read your book, but he categorically refuses to as much as look at it. “I wouldn’t waste my time reading that stuff,” he says.

Our marriage is definitely in jeopardy. We are fighting more than ever before. My husband says if that’s what religion does to a marriage, who needs it. I have tried to reason with him in a cool logical manner, but that hasn’t worked either. His favorite argument is that when we were married, we were not religious, and I have no right to change horses mid-stream. “I didn’t bargain for a religious woman, and I’ll be damned if I will agree to all this craziness,” he argues.

When he goes on one of these harangues, I don’t quite know how to answer him. I sense that he is wrong, but what do I say? In all honesty, I sometimes think there is some validity to his argument. After all, it is true that I wasn’t religious when we were married, and it’s understandable that he resents being pushed into a different life style. So you see, Rebbetzin, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Should I get a divorce and break up my home, or should I stay married and abandon my commitment to Judaism? In either case, it’s a no-win situation. I know how very busy you are, but I hope that you will be able to answer this letter through your column. Perhaps if my husband sees the story in print, it will make an impression on him.

Many thanks for having taken the time to read my letter.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “When Religion Comes Between Husband And Wife”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to the UNGA, Sept. 29, 2014.
State Dept Press Corps Shapes US Response to Netanyahu’s UN Speech
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/when-religion-comes-between-husband-and-wife/2001/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: