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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Five CLEAR Tips To Keep Marriage Fresh And Sacred

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Familial relationships are prime factors in determining how individuals view themselves and how they view and interact with the world. The foundational relationship in any family is that of the mother and father; their interactions as husband and wife inform their children as to how meaningful relationships can be cultivated and maintained.

In addition to this crucial modeling function, the couples themselves stand to benefit in numerous ways from investments in their relationships, including improved psychological and physical health.

Creating a healthy and happy relationship requires effort and determination. A good relationship could develop over time, but a great relationship is the result of hard work and dedication. What follows are five crucial guidelines – Communication, Love, Exclusivity, Attention, and Respect (CLEAR) – to help Jewish couples keep their marriages fresh and centered on core values.

Communication is the backbone of human interaction. While one might assume the key to a solid relationship is the mastery of verbal communication, the truth is that non-verbal communication, which comprises 93 percent of the information we intake regularly, is just as important.

It is crucial for couples to know and understand that the words they use to speak with their spouses are only half the equation – the manner in which it is stated will ultimately determine how the information will be received. My Touro University Worldwide coursework and experience in the field lead me to believe that the inability to communicate tactfully and effectively may be the number one barrier to conflict resolution among married couples.

The nature of a relationship is that differences of opinions are bound to arise; two people will rarely share the same opinion or approach. The true measurement of a relationship built to last is not the number of disagreements avoided but rather the number of issues dealt with as a team through effective, positive, and even empowering communication.

Love is a basic need within a marriage. The Talmud (Yevamos 62b) teaches us that one should love his wife as he loves himself. The Rambam (Hilchos Ishus, Chapter 15) understands this as a rabbinic commandment, implying that love is a mainstay of the Jewish marriage relationship. Just as the human body cannot survive without air, a healthy marriage is dependent on the reciprocation of love.

Judaism understands love as an emotional entity that must be nurtured. John Gottman, a leading couples’ therapist, suggests building “love maps,” a model that forces couples to set aside time to focus on their partners’ pasts, concerns, preferences, and current experiences. The idea, of course, is that the better a couple understands one another the more they will be able love each other.

Exclusivity provides a feeling of safety and security in the marriage relationship. For a marriage to work, the couple must know there are certain things they share with one another and no one else. The Torah commands a newly married man to devote his entire first year of marriage to his wife. The Chinuch (Mitzvah 582) clarifies the importance of this commandment, explaining that its purpose is to help the couple create a distinct bond, a relationship that is exclusive and special. When a couple develops this exclusivity early on, it fosters a strong and lasting relationship. That said, the strongest relationships are those in which couples treat every year like their first year of marriage.

Attention is our greatest and most precious commodity. By lavishing a spouse with attention, one shows he cares and is mindful of his spouse’s needs.  Obviously, this task is much easier said than done. Aside from the basic cognitive and emotional differences that exist between men and woman, one must also take into account the historical, familial, and experiential differences each individual brings to the table. These differences play a part in how each individual understands and expresses what he or she thinks, feels, and practices.

By paying close attention to each other’s needs, always taking the time to appreciate the sources of these wishes and desires, a couple will develop a strong and loving bond.

Respect from external sources is a key ingredient to a healthy self-image. The Alter of Slobodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, ztl, explains that self-respect is the very force of life. If one were to lose all respect for oneself, one’s life would be meaningless. This basic need for respect is magnified within the framework of marriage.

The only way to maintain a successful relationship is to begin with a baseline of mutual respect. This means developing a relationship in which the couple operates as a team and consideration, honesty, and compassion rule. Most important, both halves of the couple must be prepared to own their mistakes and apologize sincerely for their misconduct. When mutual respect guides the couple, they are virtually unstoppable.

Though there are many factors that can derail a marriage, couples who truly believe in the sanctity of marriage and are dedicated to their spouses have a fighting chance to secure and enhance their relationships. Hopefully, through educating couples and helping them achieve these CLEAR goals, we will minimize negative couple interactions, create healthier, more fulfilling relationships, and ensure the continuity of our very special Jewish heritage.

Rabbi Natanel Lauer

Rabbinic Court Permits Wedding 2nd Wife over 1st Wife’s Dementia

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

(JNi.media) An Israeli Jewish man, 80, filed an appeal with the Netanya Rabbinical Court, to be allowed to marry a second wife, citing the condition of his first wife as the reason, Psak Din reported. During the hearing, the husband described his first wife’s difficult situation, being under 24 hour care, tied to a wheelchair and requiring help with every personal need. Other than her husband–the plaintiff, the wife does not recognize anyone, not even their grandchildren. When people come to visit she starts screaming or responds inappropriately and is not able to control her bodily functions.

The husband submitted a medical opinion attesting to his wife’s physical, mental and intellectual condition. The document determines that the woman is suffering from various diseases, including multiple sclerosis and severe dementia. Her illness is visible in both her physical and mental conditions, she experiences severe memory lapses, “is not interested at all in her surroundings, barely speaks, does not watch TV, and is occasionally restless.”

The plaintiff also reported that “due to her physical and intellectual disabilities she is unable to manage her own affairs and care, and therefore needs a guardian for her person and property.” In response, the court appointed a guardian for the wife, to make sure her rights are observed.

“Death do us part,” said the husband and explained that it is vital to him not to hurt his first wife, to whom he has been married for 50 years. He takes care of all her needs and is committed to continue this in the future. “I pledge to protect her … I buy medication and bring food home and everything.”

However, despite the difficulties he is already facing, the husband said that at his old age he wants to live with a woman, “who can make him a cup of tea,” hence the request from the court.

The Dayan (rabbinic judge) Rabbi Shneur Pardes reviewed various halachic opinions on the issue and concluded that the husband should be permitted to take another wife. The main discussion was over the rabbinic concept of “a woman who lost her faculties irreparably” who may not be divorced according to Shulchan Aruch (Ev. A:10).

“This situation of women diagnosed with dementia who is unable to take care of her basic needs, has lost sphincter control and cannot be intimate with her husband, fits the definition of a wife who lost her faculties and her husband is given permission to marry an additional wife,” the Dayan ruled.

In this context, the Dayan noted that it is acceptable to rely on doctors’ opinion.

The Dayan noted that he chose to avoid issuing a get according to the Ashkenazi custom, which requires the approval of 100 rabbis, forcing the husband to pay triple alimony for the rest of the wife’s life. However, to guarantee the first wife’s rights—dwelling, sustenance, medial care—the Dayan decided that the first wife will continue to live in the couple’s apartment until she dies. To that end he placed a permanent lien on the couple’s apartment. He also required the husband to deposit a sum three times the amount in the Ketuba (the marriage agreement) with the court.

The presiding judge, Rabbi Michael Amos, and Dayan Rabbi Haim Victor Vidal joined the ruling, permitting the husband to marry again, subject to approval by one hundred rabbis and confirmation by the president of the Supreme Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.


Military Engagements Can Be Good…

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Israeli ‘Stand With Us’ Fellowship alumni Ilana and Itai are both currently serving as IDF reservists, and no one denies it’s been a tough tour.

But on Tuesday – the day on which the Creator said twice that ‘it was good,’ – an ersatz red carpet was rolled out upon the sands of a beach.

Ilana was led down that carpet and Itai presented his love with a diamond ring. (She accepted.)

Sometimes a military engagement can be a positive experience. Mazel tov!

Jewish Press News Briefs

Praying for the Kidnapped Boys Under the Chupah

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

I don’t know who this Chatan and Kallah (bride and groom) are, but under their marriage Chupah they prayed for the 3 kidnapped boys, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, to be returned home safely, as well as for the soldiers looking for them.

It’s OK to cry while watching it.

Jewish Press Staff

Chief Rabbinate Backs Down, Accepts Rabbi Avi Weiss

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has reversed its stand and said it will accept letters from Rabbi Avi Weiss confirming the Judaism of those who wish to wed in the country.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Weiss’ attorney in Israel, Assaf Ben-Melech, the Chief Rabbinate affirmed its position on the liberal Orthodox rabbi from New York.

In October, the Chief Rabbinate rejected a letter from Rabbi Weiss vouching for immigrants who wanted to marry in Israel pending an investigation into his adherence to traditional Jewish law. The move sparked widespread outrage that Rabbi Weiss, a longtime synagogue leader in New York who had vouched for the Jewishness of many Israeli immigrants in the past, was suddenly having his reliability called into question.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s religious services minister and Diaspora Affairs minister, has been meeting since November with officials from the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America and the Chief Rabbinate to resolve the issue.

He reportedly sees the issue as one of prime importance based on the potential negative impact it could have on Israel-Diaspora relations.

Weiss founded the liberal Orthodox rabbinical seminary Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and has pioneered a number of controversial innovations in the Orthodox world, most recently his decision to ordain women as clergy through a new seminary called Yeshivat Maharat.

“I appreciate that this injustice has been corrected and am deeply grateful for the overwhelming support I received from all over the world,” Weiss said in a statement. “I also urge the Chief Rabbinate to reflect on how it can help us reach out, respect and acknowledge all Jews in the Diaspora.”


Tzohar Rabbis Group Says New Law to Help Stop Assimilation

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The new law that the Knesset passed Monday night to allow couples to register for marriages wherever they want will help prevent civil marriages abroad and stop a wave of assimilation, according to the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization

“Local rabbinates functioned as mini-monopolies, causing widespread resentment among both religious and secular couples,” the Tzohar group said. “In addition to severe bureaucratic obstacles, many ultra-orthodox local rabbis prohibit Zionist rabbis from performing weddings and do not recognize the rabbinic authority of most North American community rabbis.”

It added that the result of the system has been that secular couples traveled to Cyprus and Prague for civil marriages, creating a situation in which “their children will find it almost impossible to prove their Jewish roots in the future.”

Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization, said, “Many people are unaware that Israel is suffering from a wave of mass assimilation and intermarriage. This is mostly due to bureaucratic factors rather than halachic challenges.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Revolutionary Marriage Reform Law Spells End to Haredi Domination

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

The Knesset voted Monday night in favor of a bill sponsored by the Jewish Home party that in effect breaks the grip of Haredi rabbis on marriage permits in the country. It easily passed on second and third readings in the Knesset with the only opposition coming from Haredi Knesset Members.

The “Tzohar Law,” named after the organization of modern orthodox rabbis who have been vying for more influence in the country’s religious establishment, will allow couples to register for marriages anywhere they want.

The change is not minor. Certain cities are known to be a nightmare for couples who are often faced with local rabbis’ extreme demands concerning their being Jewish, their lifestyles, and also touching on customs that vary in different communities, such Sephardi and Ashkenazi, and which are not required to be observed by everyone.

One rabbi who has performed dozens if not hundreds of marriages told The Jewish Press that one city, which is not being named here in order not to blemish its name, is a known problem because of local Haredi rabbis’ conditions that often are “unreasonable.”

Now that a prospective bride and groom can register wherever they want, Haredi rabbis will lose any influence, good or bad, they once had over secular and non-Haredi religious couples. If the Haredi establishment had been a bit more flexible in the past decade, it could have won the respect of tens of thousands of Jews who might have been swayed to become more observant.

Instead, their insensitivity to Israeli’s desire for tradition without coercion has cost them their dominance and has allowed modern orthodox rabbis to take over as much more widely accepted role models.

The winners of the new law are the Tzohar rabbis and the Jewish Home Party, which is rapidly shaking off its predecessor’s National Religious Party stigma of representing only observant Jews and those that believe that Jewish development in Judea and Samaria is the only important issue for the country.

The party has attracted non-observant supporters with an election platform that supported civil marriages, and the Tzohar law is bound to attract more non-religious supporters who want to marry according to Jewish law without having to be subservient to Haredi rabbis’ ultimatums.

“We have opened the religious services market, “ said Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.

The Tzohar rabbis recently lost an important battle with the Haredi establishment, which elected Rabbi David Lau as Chief Ashkenazi rabbi instead of Tzohar Rabbi David Stav.

The new law will also create a computerized database for the registrations, making the records accessible to all of the registrars.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/revolutionary-marriage-reform-law-spells-end-to-haredi-domination/2013/10/29/

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