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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/20/07



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We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

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Dear Rachel,

While it is extremely sad that the woman at the center of this issue (Chronicles 1-19) needed to seek an outside affair, I do not believe the problem has anything to do with “hanging out together” − as one of your readers suggested (Chronicles 3-2). This problem seems more indicative of issues that this woman has within herself.

As a Modern Orthodox woman married for 31 years, my husband and I have always socialized with other couples through our shul, going out to dinner or getting together at each other’s homes. Not only have neither of us ever had an affair with any of these friends, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty the thought has never entered our minds.

Of course I cannot speak for others with that kind of certainty, but I am as positive as can be that no one in our group has either. If a person has these thoughts in mind while “hanging out,” s/he will have them at work or wherever people of the opposite sex might be.

Yes, frum (and also not frum) people should not engage in these activities, but please stop blaming outside effects, such as materialism and “keeping up with the Schwartz’s.” Those are problems in and of themselves. This woman’s discontent probably started a long time ago, and that is what should be addressed.

Social and Virtuous

Dear Social,

To be sure, you are of a large majority (who mingle in mixed company) − and though you take your lifestyle for granted, there is something to be said for the members of Orthodox circles who adhere to Torah counsel and frown upon social/friendly get-togethers, even arranging separate seating at smaller extended-family functions. Human nature being what it is dictates that woman has the need to be attractive, and male hormones being what they are tend to trounce intellectual reasoning.

Of course, for the most part we keep our animal instincts in check and behave like mature adults. But the temptation is harder to withstand when one is unhappy and/or unfulfilled in his//her own marriage. Unfortunately, yielding to the yetzer hara’s lure is far from an unheard of phenomenon.

Dear Rachel,

I would like to bring up an issue that I think goes well with the cheating wife’s letter a few weeks back. With Pesach around the corner and cleaning season is in full force, I believe that wives forget that they have a husband at home who also has needs. For some reason he is put on the bottom of the list.

Typically, a wife is only “available” approximately two weeks out of each month. If she is busy cleaning and has no time or energy at the end of each day, what is a husband supposed to do?

This is a problem with women who are always “busy doing chessed” or running to all different organizational functions. The husband is the last rung on the ladder and that leads to all kinds of Shalom Bayis issues and the worst aveirahs for the husband.

Forget dressing up for your husband when he comes home from work − just give him the time that he needs and he won’t become a “roving-eye” Jew. That lady who wrote that her husband is always looking at porn, well maybe he won’t have such an urge for this stuff if his wife went the extra mile to take care of his needs.

All I want to point out is, no matter the time of year or how hectic the schedules are, male hormones don’t go away and still need attending, too. The woman gets all shocked when she hears or catches her husband doing something that’s not right. I think it’s about time that someone educated all frum women to what man’s needs are, no matter what color hat he wears.

I hope you will print this letter, since I think it could help Shalom Bayis for many.

Put your spouse first, not last

Dear Spouse,

Your letter came in too late to appear in the column before the holiday, but the message is a timeless one and right on!

Woman, are you listening?

Dear Rachel,

In your column of February 9 someone wrote about her experience of living life after divorce. Her point was that there IS life after divorce and that it is not worth staying in a defunct marriage. I am a woman in my fifties and I was married for over 30 years to a man whose psychological problems gradually became unbearable. His behavior was clearly abnormal, but his refusal to get help was the issue that finally broke up the family.

Divorce is VERY hard. It is like ink on a blotter. At first it starts as a small spot but it slowly spreads out in various directions. Children are affected, as are friends and extended family. Finances are reduced and emotions are taxed. Nothing is clear EXCEPT for the undeniable conclusion − that despite all of the pain and difficulties, there is the absolute joy of discovering oneself; that despite all of the challenges to my being I have true hope that I WILL make a better and happier future − and that being given the opportunity to have a new and better life is absolute reassurance that HaKadosh Boruch Hu is there for me always.

Looking forward to a brighter tomorrow

Dear Looking,

With your optimistic outlook, positive attitude and strong emunah in the One and Only, you are absolutely on the right track.

Congratulations on your new lease in life! May the future have only good things in store for you, and may you meet with success at every turn.

Special note to “Very hopefully yours…” (Chronicles 2-23):

There is an organization called “Parents For Young Adults With Special Needs, Inc.” It services the five boroughs and is geared for parents, siblings and caregivers of the emotionally challenged. For further information, please contact Mr. Bert Gross at 718 793-2668.

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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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