Volume 15 Number 72
                       Produced: Fri Oct 14  9:00:39 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Divorces among charedim in Israel
         ["Joshau Greenfeld, NJIT"]
Frum Dating & Divorce
         [Yaakov Menken]
Jewish Marriage
         [Sharon J Hollander]
Marriage, dating, "lifestyles"
         ["Freda B. Birnbaum"]
Virtues inside.
         [Claire Austin]
         ["Stern, Martin"]
Woman, Marriage etc
         [Cheryl Hall]


From: "Joshau Greenfeld, NJIT" <jsg6677@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 1994 14:01:14 EST
Subject: Divorces among charedim in Israel

I don't really want to re-open the discussion on the success/failure of
kollel (private or public donation dependent) vs. professional
(self-supporting) life philosophies. I also do not wish to re-open the
discussion on whether the dating (no-dating?) and marriage procedures of
the charedi world is more/less successful than the more modern
ones. However, a week ago the shabbat magazine (7- days) of the Israeli
newspaper Yediot A'charonot had an article that put an interesting
perspective on these issues.

The article was about the plague of divorces that is now hitting the
charedi world too. The article quotes rabbinical advocates (the
equivalent to attorneys at the secular judiciary system) who claim that
in the past 5 years there was an increase of 20% in the number of
divorces among charedi couples. The two major reasons for this increase

  1) Financial difficulties in households in which the husband spends
     all of his time learning in the kollel.  These families live on a
     very small income that is hardly enough to feed the family. The
     lack of income is compounded with the fact that many of these
     families have many children who require even more resources. The
     economic conditions causes a lot of stress which eventually ruins
     the marriage.

  2) In order to alleviate the economic conditions many wives are forced
     to work outside their home to support the family. This situation
     brings about another problem. At work they meet different people
     and are exposure to secular or non-charedi life style. So a women
     who hardly spoke to a strange man in her entire life and who got
     married by an arrange marriage suddenly realizes that there is
     another world out there. Slowly she has second thoughts about their
     own marriage and eventually seeks for a divorce.

This is almost a no-win situation. On one hand if the wife does not work
there is the stress that undermines the marriage. On the other hand if
she does work (not everyone can work at an all women charedi type
setup), there is the danger of outside influence. I am afraid that as
the charedi system produces more and more young people without tools and
education to support themselves b'chavod (adequately) this problem will
not go away but will intensify. Thus, there is an urgent need to address
this problem and re-evaluate priorities.
                              Y. Greenfeld


From: Yaakov Menken <ny000548@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 94 18:12:33 -0400
Subject: Frum Dating & Divorce

I need to put a brief word in here:

>>From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
>In my mind, a marriage is successful if it is able to raise children 
>with a Torah education to the age when they are able to marry themselves,
>regardless of whether the partners feel "happy" with each other.

OUCH!  What a terrible thought.

When Rebbe Akiva Eiger's wife passed away (apparently at a relatively 
young age), someone proposed a different match for the Rabbi within 
several months.  He wrote back:  "How can I imagine trying to find 
someone to replace her, so soon after her passing?... This was someone 
to whom I could talk until the middle of the night..." (This is hardly
an exact quote - it is as I remember hearing from a Rebbe of mine who
especially enjoyed reading the letters of RAk"E.  As I recall, RAk"E 
specifically praised her for being able to talk with him about Fear of
Heaven at all hours - but that's what these two great people enjoyed 
speaking about.)  Does it sound like Rabbi Eiger had a marriage only in
order to raise children?

>>               I know, personally, several women who are dreadfully
>>unhappy (to the point of considering suicide, has ve-shalom) but feel
>>that they have no alternative--a woman with a high school education and
>>maybe a year in seminary has no way of supporting 4,5, 6 or more
>>children on her own--and no support from the community.

>What is unknown at the time of marriage is how long the wife will be 
>able to [earn the money] and when the husband is expected to go out and 
>get a job to help support the family. 

Shaul missed the issue here - the women worried about supporting their
families if they _left_ their husbands.  It is well-documented, btw, that
Kollel families have a low divorce rate, even though those women _are_
the wage-earners!  And I'm certain that Shaul, in Bnei Braq, is well-
aware of this phenomenon.  I've also seen enough Kollel marriages to know
that most are _successful_, and not merely _continuing_.

>I personally have heard the reverse - that men are the ones who are 
>responsible for Shalom Bayit.

That's what they told me as well.  Whomever told "anonymous" that divorces
were the woman's fault was either telling both sides "it's _your_ fault" 
or someone was being exceptionally cruel.  All frum Jewry cannot be held 
accountable for one person - especially when such comments, if said, were
k'neged the Torah.  As explained to me, why is only the _husband_ commanded
to make his _wife_ happy during the first year?  Because if he does his
side, she'll definitely do hers.

Yaakov Menken


From: Sharon J Hollander <sjh@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 1994 14:40:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Jewish Marriage

> To such a person the entire dynamic
> of marriage changes, and one will by definition, roll with the punches
> of life, insuring compatibility. 

	A person on a high level in this respect, would probably be
characterized as being able to "roll with the punches," but isn't that
only bidieved (default).  It is a high level to be happy with whatever
situations appear in life.  It seems that this approach towards marrage
implies that compatibility is only a matter of how capable one is of
leading a happy productive life while being married.  If one is on a
high level than the bad traits in someone else (not just a spouce) will
not affect this significantly.
	This description is only leaving out one thing.  That there is
alot to be learned from other human beings.  Growth in torah and mitzvot
is not only a product of practicing self restrain in one's interpersonal
relationships, but actively seeking out the beauty(/lesson to be
learned) from others (eyzo who chacham, halomed mi'kol adam).  In this
respect, even a person on a very high level will be profoundly affected
by his/her choise of a mate, and should be very concerned w/ finding the
person who esspecially suites/compliments who they are (what else does a
bashert mean?).

>It is I who is weak.  The need to check out compatibility, which is well
>near imposible without a means of seeing the future, is a lower level,
>one that denies Bashert and the Bitachon that Gam Zu LeTovah.

	Why should having bitachon prevent one from actively pursueing a
mate.  One should have concerning bitachon in all aspects of life, but
G-d doesn't help those who don't help themselves.  In fact, marriage is
a mitzva (at least for men) and we certainly don't _rely_ on bitachon in
terms of mitzva observance that is our problem - our responsibility.

>     I am probably much too naive, but it seems to me that the "rank"
>our Rabbis talked about here has more to do with family, money, etc.
>than with intelligence. A man could presumably take a wife who is
>more intelligent if he were "more important" than her in other ways.

	I don't this was the point of the original poster (at least it
does not reply to the real issue in my eyes).  There is a phenomena in
frum communities that the individual traits of women are overlooked in a
shiduch, esspecially intelligence.  This is probably due to a number of
factors, including the low priority of intellectual activities and goals
for women, and a bit of male insecurity.  But many phenomena in frum
communities regardless of their prority or an objective analysis of all
the issues involved are justified from halachic/hashkafic sources.


From: "Freda B. Birnbaum" <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 18:51:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Marriage, dating, "lifestyles"

In m-j V15N56, Janice Gelb said:

>P.S. You should all be grateful that I am not commenting on Shaul 
>Wallach's posting with this topic heading that ended up discussing 
>the woman's place in the home :->

Oh no!  Do please comment!!

(By the time I finally got this together to mail, Ellen Krischer had
replied far better than I can on that issue, and Rivka Haut has
powerfully reminded us of what the reality sometimes is, as distinct
from the idealized picture some of us would like to have, re divorce and

BTW, on the dating discussion: as a grizzled old observer, if not
veteran, of the 1950's public high school and early 1960's college
culture, I must say (and I am not being sarcastic) that I find it very
touching that someone would mean their first SHIDDUCH DATE when they
referred to "my first", and acknowledge that that culture does offer
some definite benefits when contrasted with the one some of us BT's grew
up in (even if we managed to avoid its worst excesses), or even with the
one some of us now "modern Orthodox" live in or are aware of (the one
with the people taking their tefillin on dates... but that's another
post...), but I must comment that for most of us, it is not possible or
desirable to put the toothpaste back in the tube and create a life where
women stay home all the time.  And I wonder how far Shaul Wallach wants
to take that?  I've just been reading Tamar El-Or's book about haredi
women's education, in which she parenthetically notes that the women do
not drive because cars are "men's things"; the "really frum" ones among
them won't even ride in a car driven by a woman!  Is anyone seriously
suggesting that the female readership of mail-jewish adopt a life like

On a somewhat related note, I would like to remind mail-jewish readers
that the non-frum world is not always the Sodom-and-Gomorrah that some
people imagine it to be.  I have good friends who are converts or
baalei-tshuva who are continually amazed at the assumptions some people
make about what their pre-frum "lifestyle" must have been like, when in
fact their behavior in those areas was quite similar to what any
halacha-observing person's ought to be.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 94 08:28:45 EST
Subject: Virtues inside.

>*  The first guideline starts with a discussion of the verse (Ps. 45)
>   "Kol Kevuda Bat Melekh Penima..." ("All the glory of the king's
>   daughter is inside..."). It is a woman's virtue that she not
>   leave her house for other than cases of need (shopping, visiting
>   relatives, etc.), and a woman who refrains from going out in the
>   street just to see and be seen (like Dina - Gen. 34) is worthy
>   of the title of respect "Bat Melekh" ("King's Daughter").

<<All of the glory of the king's daughter is inside>>

There are other possible interpretations of this line.

How about:  "A woman is not just a sex object, her real worth goes
             deeper than that.

And:        "It is a man's virtue to refrain from going out and
             looking at her as a sex object.  When a man sees
             a woman as the King's Daughter he is worthy of respect.

Claire Austin


From: "Stern, Martin" <MSTERN@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 94 08:54:00 PDT
Subject: Wheelchairs

Arthur Roth wrote about a disabled Rosh Yeshiva who was pushed around
despite the absence of an eruv.  He also volunteered to inquire of a
friend about the justification for such behaviour.

I am a paraplegic Jew who is confined to a wheelchair and I would very much 
appreciate such information.  Please!

Moshe Stern


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 23:50:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Woman, Marriage etc

Shaul Wallach remarks in Vol 15 #65:

>      An anonymous poster tells us about the problems of some of her
>friends who are unhappy in marriage:
 ..... {edited some text out}
>It is not a consequence of a small number of meetings, since the average
>Haredi woman is expected to support her husband who learns in the kollel and
>to raise her children. This is not something that is ordinarily
>questioned at the outset in many Haredi circles. What is unknown at the
[rest of quoted material deleted by Mod.]

My question is how does this reconcile with his previous postings that
women are not to mingle, hold outside jobs etc.  While I didn't ask it
earlier, if the woman is to "stay home" and the man is to learn "all day".
Who foots the bill? How is a religious society supposed to operate on a
practical basis?

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


End of Volume 15 Issue 72