Though substantial space in this column over the last several months was devoted to the unsettling issue of disloyalty in a marriage, the tumult has hardly abated. The letter from a married man (back in February) painting himself as a self-seeking and gloating philanderer provoked a wide range of reactions.
Needless to say, not every letter to this column makes it into print. In this instance, however, we deem it necessary to highlight excerpts from some of the unpublished letters on this subject – in order to reveal the shocking mindsets of individuals who cheat on their spouses, as well as to highlight the viewpoints of concerned readers.
To be perfectly candid, some readers were fit to be tied over the exposure of Unfaithful‘s letter altogether, whereas countless other readers continue to express their castigation of the promiscuous writer and/or relief at having this delicate but pertinent-to-our-times issue finally brought to the fore.
The latter argue that this problem has become pandemic and, if met with indifference and left to fester, can chas v’sholom lead to devastating consequences for generations to come.
One reader wrote to say that “such disgusting articles” do not belong in an orthodox venue for “we are not to put ourselves in situations where we witness the street gutter just so we should know how to react to it when it knocks on our door we must distance ourselves from wickedness and cocoon ourselves within the framework of a life of Torah and good deeds.”
Equally adamant about preserving the sacredness of our heritage, a widely respected community elder has a different outlook: “It is very important that these problems not be swept under the carpet the general public needs to be informed of the critical dangers of these extra-marital flings.”
This prominent octogenarian expresses his fears for the future of his great-grandchildren and eloquently but forcefully speaks his mind. “Though only a miniscule number of our people are involved in this unfortunate way of life, we can nevertheless not keep silent about it. Let us learn from the few thousand of our brethren who circled the golden calf in the desert to the disregard of the many on the way to the Holy Land. The latter did not counter-demonstrate against the idol worshippers, and we have suffered through the ages as a result.”
Sadly, correspondence received by this column corroborates this gentleman’s view.
A woman claiming to be happily married, while at the same time lamenting her dissatisfaction with her husband, wrote: “I cheat on my spouse because I need to feel attractive and I want someone attractive.” In the same matter-of-fact tone used throughout her neatly handwritten letter, she went on to say, “I am a devoted parent just have an extracurricular activity going on in my free time. I am not even looking to get divorced just some well-deserved TLC.”
This woman also let it slip that her husband “is not around much.” (Could that be the secret to her “happy” marriage?)
A certified psychiatrist weighed in with his professional take. “Some people are more needy and/or more greedy than others. In other words, the problem may be with one person, not both if a person is ‘giving’ elsewhere, there will most likely be ‘less’ to ‘give’ at home.”
From another less-than-honorable spouse: “Midot aside and good providing aside, two people must connect physically when getting married or down the road someone is going to stray, or want to stray if they don’t have the guts. I have the guts.”
As if in assent, still another defiant reader declares: “I don’t cheat with many people, just one special someone who has the same issues as me This goes on under everyone’s nose. Don’t bother going on about it being under Hashem’s nose. The words are wasted on me.”
From a worried grandmother’s painfully revealing email: “The whole subject makes me uncomfortable, but I know it happens. I myself know of a case where there is a little girl who everyone thinks is the child of the parents. Can you imagine when she grows up ? No one will know her status.
Yes, dear readers, we can look the other way and hide our heads in the sand. Or, we can face reality about a subject that “makes us uncomfortable.” This column bills itself as “Chronicles of Crisis” – this concern not only qualifies as a crisis but can also lead to tragedy of epic proportions.
We are quickly approaching the 17th day of Tammuz that signals the start of the Three Weeks which culminates in Tisha B’Av. What better time to be reminded that G-d distanced Himself from His people when they failed to heed His directives
What better time to remember that we are all responsible for one another – Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Ba’zeh – and that to rebuke a fellow Jew is a mitzvah, whereas to act as though the clandestine carryings-on are non-existent is to wantonly allow them to gnaw away at the framework of our holy sanctuaries, G-d help us!
In this age of entitlement and greed, I would rather presume that some of our young people naïvely believe that “love conquers all” while foolishly justifying their illicit behavior with the misguided sentiment that “what s/he doesn’t know won’t hurt him/her.”
Regardless of reason or rationale, it is high time to indoctrinate all of our young adults with the “real rules and etiquette” for preserving the wholesomeness of our future generations. A good forum for this type of educational awareness: Chossen and Kallah classes, for starters.
The final redemption is in the hands of Hashem; the Torah is in ours. G-d gave us His word that He will redeem us and we gave Him our word that we will abide by the Torah. As we anxiously await the rebuilding of the holy Bais Hamikdash, should we not do our utmost to prove that we are worthy of the Geulah?
May that glorious day be upon us very soon!
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