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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/30/10

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Dear Rachel,

 

Over the last several weeks readers in this column have expressed their outrage over the man who had written of his extra-marital flings. Most were upset about his behavior and attitude, but some readers were more disturbed about the fact that his letter received exposure in the column.

 

Everyone’s reaction is understandable, but those who were offended by having to read about it altogether should consider that to survive in these times one must be prepared to fight the demons. In other words, to be forewarned is to be forearmed – by knowing about the dangers that lurk, we can be more prepared to guard ourselves against contamination.

 

There is a true story I’d like to share especially with the readers who seem to have a hard time confronting these issues. This occurred almost a decade ago in one of our prominent Orthodox circles.

 

“Jacob” (name disguised) was one of many young chassidic men who came to work for a large firm in the city. He was bright and a quick learner and he climbed the corporate ladder in no time. Inevitably his higher standing required mingling with “outsiders” which included non-Jewish members of the opposite gender.

 

Jacob was a married man with a growing family, but that did not stop him from his insatiable desire to get to know how “the other side” lives. His interaction with attractive gentile women whet his appetite all the more, and it didn’t take long for Jacob to become entangled in an illicit relationship with one.

 

No amount of begging and pleading from friends, family and coworkers could convince Jacob to abandon his dangerous flirtation. In fact, he rebuffed everyone’s pleas by claiming to have “fallen in love” and he made it obvious that his religion and family took a back seat to his new found passion. In fact, he moved out of his home to live with the woman who had “captured his heart.” She eventually converted to “embrace G-d and Judaism” and following his divorce they married.

 

Jacob and his new wife could not understand how others could not see how much “in love” they were and they seemed genuinely baffled as to why they were not accepted with open and loving arms by everyone.

 

All this was common knowledge at the time. What transpired between them behind closed doors as they began their life together in marriage is another story and is anyone’s guess. But what is widely known is that Jacob and his wife (the geyores) have recently gone their separate ways.

 

Word has it that the woman whom Jacob swore to love for the rest of his life took up with another man. When Jacob confronted her about her liaison, she let him know that she had enough of him and wanted out of their marriage. In short, she was dumping the man whom she had professed to love and for whom she had converted to become a supposedly true bas Yisroel. The end sadly follows the birth of some innocent children from the union.

 

You would be the first to agree, Rachel, that there is much to be learned from this story. I await your opinion.

 

It can happen anywhere .

 

Dear Happen,

 

Perhaps the most glaring lesson of this pathetic true story is that the grass on the other side is in reality not greener at all. Unfortunately, sheltered young people are more often susceptible to curiosity and may wander onto strange turf only to experience tragedy before discovering the truth.

 

The second lesson (Unfaithful, take note) is that one cannot profess to be G-d-fearing while transgressing His laws. The Torah leaves no wiggle room for “enlightenment” – one cannot make adjustments to “the times.” The Torah and its laws are eternal and binding and cannot be rewritten or revised to suit anyone’s agenda. Adultery is adultery, no matter how it is window-dressed.

 

Another red flag that has been waved in this column before: Infatuation makes for a very poor foundation – a relationship built on physical attraction and lust has little chance of enduring. Add to the mix two people with drastically different upbringings and you basically are left with zero likelihood for lasting bliss.

 

The story (which I am familiar with) is indeed a tragedy. A bright young man who had a promising future ahead of him callously threw his life away and is left today with basically nothing. He abandoned his first wife and family to chase a fleeting fantasy, only to have his pie in the sky disintegrate.

 

One must wonder whether the young geyores can be held completely culpable for her latest act of infidelity – considering that her model of Yiddishkeit thought nothing of trampling our Torah laws to start with.

 

As for Jacob’s downfall, the midah keneged midah factor can hardly escape us. Like they say, what goes around comes around.

 

May all of our children be blessed with their true zivugim and the yishuv hada’as to exercise sound judgment in trying times.

* * * * *

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, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. 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.

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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