Latest update: March 6th, 2012
Freedom At Last
Back in June of 2010 we published an article from Isaac Kohn, who has become known to readers of this column for his avid championing for the protection and rights of the abused chareidi wife. Below, we briefly refresh the reader’s memory with an excerpt of that letter which is followed by a recent update from Mr. Kohn.
Ad mosay – how long must this ugly situation continue?
Last week at the Miklat, I met another young woman (20-21 years-old!) with a beautiful one-year-old daughter, whose short twenty-something years are tightly compacted with more beatings, terror and over-all mental abuse than most adults can ever imagine!
Married to a hypocrite (he dresses as a chareidi but keeps absolutely none of the laws!), this girl became an immediate punching bag and the sponge for every imaginable abuse. Raised in a family where evil is considered a virtue, her pipsqueak husband enslaved his young wife (with his mother’s encouragement!) and turned her life into virtual hell. And it all began almost immediately after the wedding and continued in a non-stop pace for many months. The severe mental-abuse was only topped by the extreme physical cruelty visited on this young and innocent girl whose life quickly evolved into a nightmare — until literally extracted from the clutches of death by Bat-Melech.
It’s only a crack but one of the best ever!
Back in June you printed one of my letters, which was simply another part of the saga I dubbed “A Visit To Hell.”
As in my previous letters to you, I described the unimaginably horrible situation in which another of our daughters found herself; the beatings and abuse her husband visited upon her may very well have ended in a tragedy had she not finally escaped to find refuge in Miklat-Bat Melech, the only safe-house for abused chareidi women in Israel. Here she found a warm, embracing atmosphere of people who’d give their lives to protect, encourage and rehabilitate the poor and wretched young women who desperately knock on their doors. The trials and tribulations this young 21-year-old (with her year-and-a-half-old daughter) had to endure until last week are beyond description. Escaping from her husband’s clutches was not enough; the evil that lies in the heart of people – particularly in the hearts of men – continued to haunt Shoshana and threatened to drown her. (Yes! I can now reveal her name!)
And here is the gist and focal point of this letter, Rachel. As I noted in my opening sentence, it’s only a crack, but it allowed Shoshana to break her shackles — she’s been set free!
Shoshana herself doesn’t know how it happened; her belief and trust in Hashem that He will sort out the truth from the many lies bore wonderful fruit. No Jewish tear goes to waste and the rivers of tears and endless nights of fear and trepidation that her husband will chas ve’sholom succeed in both taking away her daughter and never set her free were obviously picked-up by Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
In a sudden and inexplicable turn of events, the previous pro-husband biased judge was replaced and the new judge simply shuddered at the treacherous tactics employed by Shoshana’s husband in order to keep her captive. In a barely controlled rage, the judge berated the husband, voided all of his complaints, dismissed his accusations and ordered Shoshana to be set free immediately!
With a get in her hand and baby Leah in her arms, Shoshana arrived in New York a free woman ready to proceed with her life and raise her daughter in the proper way.
Rachel, as an epilogue, give me a few more lines to express Shoshana’s deep gratitude to the wonderful people at Bat-Melech who were there for her every minute of every day. They comforted, calmed and reassured her that Hashem is with her and her trust in Him will pan out. They guided her every step, cried with her and finally celebrated her victory and walked with her towards the plane on her way to freedom. G-d bless them!
Dear Mr. Kohn,
May G-d repay you for taking such an active interest in the downtrodden among us. As for the wonderful, selfless people who run Miklat-Bat Melech, allow me to sum it up by relating a short story about an incident that occurred when one of the talmidim of Reb Yosef Soloveitchik zt”l visited his former rosh yeshiva after marrying and becoming a successful businessman.
The Rebbe asked the young man how he was doing (in Yiddish “vos machs du?”), to which the talmid replied that he was doing well and baruch Hashem had much hatzlocha with the candy store he had opened.
A moment later, the RoshYeshiva repeated the question, and his visitor answered basically the same. When the Rebbe asked him for the third time “Vos machs du?” the talmid questioned the repetition of his Rebbe, to which the latter replied, “The store that is doing well is Hashem’s doing, not yours. I asked you about how you’re doing, which is entirely dependant upon you as it is your choice — such as learning Torah, doing mitzvos and performing tzedaka and chessed…”
May this vital lesson be brought home to all of us, and may the dedicated staff members at Miklat-Bat Melech be enabled to continue performing their tremendous acts of charity and kindness.
This piece would be incomplete if the role of our dayanim was not addressed. Another tzaddik comes to mind — namely a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and father-in-law of the Maggid of Chernobyl.
When Reb Dovid Leikes was over 100, a din Torah was taking place in a room in his home that normally served as the beis din. Reb Dovid was weak and bed-ridden but overheard the goings on where they were apparently having difficulty arbitrating a case.
The dayanim wanted to consult with Reb Dovid but his family adamantly refused to have him disturbed. When Reb Dovid realized what was going on he jumped up from his bed, hit the table with his hand and declared loud enough for everyone in the adjacent room to hear, “Chazal say that anyone who renders a true judgment is Hashem’s partner, and you people wish to deprive me of such a partnership?”
With that, the other judges entered his room and Reb Dovid resolved the case with a clear verdict.
Need more be said?
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About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to email@example.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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