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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/23/11

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Man And Woman Opine…

 

Dear Rachel,           

I am a male who, upon reading the article of the husband who likes the company of other women (see Chronicles July 22), thought the story had more holes than a rice strainer. How can any human (male or female) dwell for so long in the same hostile environment with a cheating spouse and endure this kind of torment and agony — and all of a sudden, out of the clear blue, decide she’s had enough, just because she married off all of their children.

There must be another side to this story. Odds are if the woman allowed the cheating spouse to behave in such a repulsive manner for so many years, she is as guilty as her husband. This poor wife shouldn’t have waited even one microsecond and ought to have inquired about a divorce ASAP! By waiting for so long, she demonstrated to her husband and to herself that she condoned and tolerated such pitiful behavior.

But it’s never too late. I’m sure if the wife would put her foot down – as opposed to seeking help from a Dear Rachel columnist – her husband would stop his silly shenanigans. The wife should directly approach her husband, give him an ultimatum and not resort to such constant humiliation.

Secondly, part of the problem of why so many couples live in such strange arrangements today and are afraid to make a drastic move and seek closure, is because of the immorality that some of our community leaders and Batei Din display on a day-to-day basis. How can we expect any husband and wife having nuptial issues to ever resolve their differences if many at the top are corrupt, immoral, and can’t get their act together?

That might explain why cheating spouses can get away with it for so many years and the poor spouse’s only hope and defense is a Dear Rachel column. Immorality starts from the neck up (the head).

Straighten out the head and the body will follow

 

Dear Rachel,

I would like to address some of the points made by Just Observing about women in the workplace (see Chronicles Sept 9). I wonder whether this writer uses a phone, gets on a plane, drives a car or has air conditioning. There was a time when a man could beat a drum, send smoke signals, or blow a shofar to send a message, collected wood to make a fire for warmth, walked miles across the desert to go to the temple, rode on a mule, and when the temperature soared just plain sweated it out.

Times change. What was appropriate, expected, doable and normal THEN has little relation to what is the norm in 2011.

The Eishes Chayil poem extols the virtues of the woman and her hard work. Listen to the words. Hardly sounds like the little woman with delicate hands, sensitive features untouched by the sun, never working a day in her life, sits home, eats bonbons and lives a charmed life of luxury, without stress or worry.

How much stress might there be in juggling seven plus children, a home, shopping, laundry, school, cleaning, meals, boo-boos, sickness, parents, community service AND a husband? Stress is not a 21st century invention.

And as smoke signals are no longer the modern communications standard, going backwards in expectations for women is counterproductive to everyone’s betterment. Old Indian saying: If wife is unhappy, you will not be happy.

It may come as a disturbing realization to some men that in the “New World” a woman can, will, need, and want to lead her life as best as Hashem has rendered her capable of and that there is no going back. The cork is out of the bottle.

What may really lie beneath this writer’s concern is the idea that women need to conform to a preconceived “Old World” notion — whether it be how they should look, how they should act or even what they should learn. His uneasiness with the “New World” changes may have more to do with his own sense of identity and low self-esteem. Instead of him subtly suggesting that time should be turned back and that we need to return to the good old days, he may try figuring out where he fits into the “New World” system.

How is femininity defined? The husband of a lawyer may very well believe his wife to be feminine. Not every man has an issue with an independent savvy partner. My mother was a lawyer and my father adored her and treated her like the “feminine” woman she was. She was president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association and was strong, bright, aggressive and active.

If a man is worried about his ego being bruised because his wife is smarter, earns more, is better looking and more personable, then it is he who has the problem. How selfish of him to assuage his problem by turning it around and making it her problem.

As I recall, my father beamed with pride when mention was made of the outstanding job my mother did and of all her accomplishments. There was mutual respect between them. My mother (Mildred B. Lesser, who professionally NEVER gave up her maiden name) was always complimenting my dad and his business prowess. Truth is, I believe she earned considerably more than he.

Just Observing said, “some men find it hard to find their desired jobs because of the many women who now fill the job market.” Funny, a similar sentiment was expressed by non-Jews when the influx of Jewish immigrants arrived in their communities. That’s what people say when they are fearful.

Self-serving observations merely lift the spirit of the one who feels down and oppress the targeted.

Women are endowed by Hashem with all sorts of blessings; should anyone determine which ones – if any – should be stifled?

 Going backwards is futile

 

* * * * *

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.

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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