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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Readers Sound Off…

Dear Readers,

Back in November a letter written by a woman who signed herself Lonely Heart appeared in this column space. The wife/mom said she was suffering loneliness due to her husband’s “closed in” persona. Married for eight years, LH wrote of how her husband comes home from work, “greets us briefly, then closes himself up in his study and works until late.”

On Shabbos he eats and sleeps, while Sundays he allegedly spends holed up in his study. The author wrote that she has accepted the situation all this time because in his own quiet way they do communicate and she loves him very much.

Based on the limited information the letter conveyed, I suggested that not everyone is cut out to be the life of the party and that perhaps he is simply the type who has difficulty expressing himself.

Though this column has since aired various other topics, a reader with an apparently delayed reaction recently submitted her own thought-provoking perspective, as follows below.

Dear Rachel,

The letter you published about the husband and father who shut himself away in his study every free moment he was home left me with an entirely different take on the matter. My first and strongest impression of what is going on is an addiction to computer shmutz. He displays so many classic signs.

One of the first questions you should have asked is does he own a computer. Even if she says “no” he could still be hiding a laptop somewhere in his study, with his wife none the wiser!

Unless he is totally incapable of connecting with another human being, which doesn’t add up since he works and had enough social skills to marry his wife, the most powerful and logical explanation is that he has something far more compelling and interesting going on in his study than outside…

Please contact her about this possibility so that she can get to the bottom of her heartache and loneliness. I am wondering if I am the only one who thought this way.

Logical Lori

Dear Logical,

Yes, you are the first and only to come up with this theory. In fact, your line of thinking so intrigued me that I went back to reread the woman’s letter to see why I hadn’t connected the dots in the same way you did.

The reason became clear as I was reading: For one, according to her, he has been this way all along, ever since they got married all these years ago. Second, he is “quiet” on Shabbos too, and I presume that he would not preoccupy himself with computers on Shabbos.

Somehow, I also cannot fathom that there would have been no telltale sign, no giveaway whatsoever to have aroused his wife’s suspicion in all this time, if he is indeed engaged in the manner you suggest.

Still, anything is possible, and therefore I found it worthwhile to publish your letter. Besides, it may help others in similar circumstances.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to express your opinion.

* * * * *

Dear Rachel,

Have you noticed that it’s a woman’s world out there? Lawsuits and court cases brought against males who supposedly “abuse” females in one way or another are so prevalent today — and yet women mostly get off scot-free. Left and right, we read about women accusing men of ogling them, harassing them, making lewd and suggestive comments, coming on to them in some form, etc.

Let me clarify that I am a female and happen to be employed in the corporate world where, let’s just say, things “go on.” What irks me to no end is seeing the way some girls or women dress and act, and then cry foul when they get the attention they seem to be begging for in the first place.

While some males are better than others at controlling their libidos, care to face it or not, men will be men. That’s been a part of life forever. Is it really fair that a female gets a free pass when it comes to teasing – via plunging necklines, rubber-band tight skirts and tops that ride high enough to reveal naked skin – while the male is held culpable for responding to these “open invitations?”

Is this world crazy or am I?

Seen it all!

Dear Seen,

Yes, I’ve noticed and have had the same thoughts many a time. Not for naught does our religion teach and stress the laws of tznius. That said, even the secular world is aware that females who seem to have the need to let it all hang out are either desperately lacking in self-respect or self-worth or both — not to mention that in today’s world too much emphasis is placed on the physical and too many people allow themselves to be swayed by outward appearances.

Speaking about looks and lawsuits and the strange times we live in, it doesn’t get much weirder than the lawsuit that was recently filed by a man in China against his wife for deceiving him.

True story: A handsome man and his pretty woman had a baby girl who, as it happened, was exceptionally unattractive. The husband was miffed and suspected his wife of cheating on him with another man, until she admitted that it was she who was probably to blame for their unsightly offspring.

Turned out she had been an ugly duckling herself before spending $100,000 for intricate plastic surgery to transform herself into a beautiful swan. Of course when she met her husband-to-be, she kept that bit of information to herself.

Hubby subsequently file for divorce and sued. The judge sided with him, citing that she had married him under false pretenses. The victimized husband was awarded $120,000 in damages.

Getting back to your issue, on-the-job dress codes might be one way to curb naughty behavior to some degree, and schools would be wise to institute rules that would keep scantily dressed girls from contaminating their hallways.

Thanks for sharing.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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