Sunday, October 28, 2012

Divorcing a wife of 30 years if she won't keep Shabbos?

I received the following letters from Michael regarding a very sensitive  personal issue i.e., whether to divorce his wife because her refusal to observe Shabbos is preventing him from proper fulfilment and progress in Yiddishkeit. I replied that this is a question for one's rav - not some anonymous collection  of people who don't know who he is or his relationship to his wife. Nevertheless he persisted. 

After some thought I decided that it might be helpful to discuss what the pros and con's of divorcing and possible advice as to nudging her in the direction of Shabbos observance. It might also help clarify what exactly is the place of marriage in the context of developing shleimus in Avodas HaShem. This is a genuine halachic dilemma and I appreciate his decision to submit  this problem to a public forum.  I will delete all comments which I think are counterproductive. I will also remove this post if Michael decides it isn't helpful. 

Michael I think it would be helpful if you tell us a little more about yourself. Where do you live? Are you a Chasid, Sefardic or Ashkenaz Jew? Do you belong to a community? What objections does your wife have to keeping Shabbos? Please don't reveal information that would reveal your actual identity.

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Shalom Kevod Harav,
For more than 30 years, I have been married to a Jewish woman who is saintly in all matters except she does not keep Shabbos. For the first 10 years of our marriage, I was not a Shabbos observer but became observant even as she stubbornly refused to do so. As we grow older, I feel increasingly isolated although she is perfectly content to continue as is. I have great compassion for her since she is a fine human being. Still, I feel that I could probably make more progress in my life if she were not my wife.
Should we divorce or continue together?
Behokara ubevrachot,
Michael
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Michael this is a very serious question. do you have a rav that you ask questions? If so what did he tell you.


If you want to explain in a guest post why she doesn't want to be observant and why you think that it is keeping you from making progess - it should be helpful to others since the issue is an important problem in the modern world.


However for you to get a meaningful answer for yourself you really need to speak to a rav who knows you well and your wife well or can get to know your better. Blog comments are not the best place to get a personal answer.
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Shalom Kvod Harav,
There is no rav who knows me, no rav who has ever cared to know me, but that's ok. As soon as they get a whiff of my dilemma, they keep their distance. Here's the rub: I do not know a single person whose midot are on the level of my wife's. I am acquainted with many shomer shabbos women who cannot approach my wife in the areas of tznius, optimism, and generosity, both materially and spiritually. When I first started to be shomer shabbos, we had loud arguments. In fact, we probably argued for about 10 years. Finally, we just stopped and silently agreed to disagree. My three children are now in their 20's. All have respect for yiddishkeit. Two do not keep shabbos while the third is a very strict shabbos observer and learns in a yeshiva. All three have outstanding midot. Getting a personal answer in this forum is not vital but I still wanted to share my experience. This is really a great test from Hashem. He wants to see how badly I want to keep Shabbos. Also, there is always the possibility, however remote, that my wife could become shomer Shabbos. And, in the end, if one Jew does not keep Shabbos, it is every other Jew's responsibility to change that behavior and, if we truly want Moshiach, we know his arrival depends on each Jew keeping Shabbos. I should mention that my wife regularly buys chalot on erev Shabbos and, upon prompting, lights Shabbat candles. She also does netilas yadayim. Also, my wife welcomes my saying kiddush for her and participates in havdalah.

67 comments :

  1. From a human point of view, I think it is not fair to change the rules of the game while you are going. she is extremely generous in allowing you to keep shabbat, why can you not show the same level of generosity in allowing her NOT to keep shabbat.

    furthermore, I am a bit concerned about your declaration, that you cannot find a better wife than her. Does this mean you were looking around and just waiting for an opportunity to find someone to your liking and dump her? Fortunately, you still find her to be the best of all possible wives, but the looking around worries me...

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    1. Remark: Your remark is absurd. The rules of the game are only what Hashem decrees. Everyone is obligated to follow them. Even if they began their marriage not following them. It is ungenerous for him to accept her continual violation of the Shabbos.

      And she isn't even a tinok shenishba considering that her husband has educated her on the requirement of Shabbos.

      Delete
    2. OK, that's your definition of fairness. Mine is different. Needless to say that I am not very impressed by the menshlichkeit of your religiosity.

      It might be because of people like you who press him to divorce that Michael asked the question in the first place...

      Because, honestly, I don't understand what makes him feel out of place just because his wife does not keep shabbat. There is strict gender separation anyway, separation of roles, so whose business is it what his wife is doing???

      Delete
    3. Kol Yisroel Areivim Zeh L'Zeh.

      It is every Jew's business.

      Delete
  2. You should certainly divorce her if it is clear she will not keep the Shabbos.

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    1. Any who would advise another to divorce his wife of 30 years is not a real jew.
      Your utter lack of compassion and understanding is so apparent.
      Moshe Rabbanu the most humblest of men had such love for a fellow jew as did his brother that they had tremendous capacity for understanding and tolerance for other Jew.
      A man and woman have made a life together with one another and a family and while their is no abuse in the marriage their should not be a divorce.
      He has spoken of his wife with respect to her other midos and keeping of mitzvos.
      Better to encourage him to win her over with loving kindness then to instill a hatred for all time.
      You obviously are very full of yourself and you don't understand women.
      Whatever her reasons she still is a Jew and is making an effort at keeping mitzvos, do you wish to chase her away entirely?
      From what has been shown in the media lately of all the so called shomer shabbos people who are doing things they shouldn't - I think its a bit like living in a glass house and throwing stones, don't you?
      Are you totally without avairos?
      are you 100% in your avodas Hashem and mitzvos?
      If you dared to answer yes than you are pathetic excuse for a human.
      We each one of us rise everyday to new and old tests we/none of us are perfect or without sin.
      Don't you dare judge this women or any other people till you've reached the pedestles of the kesai hakovod.
      Spread tolerace love and patience. Just as we ask of our Creator to forgive and overlook our deeds that should be better.
      Who are you to set yourself up as G-d , or better than He?
      Are you better or holier than Aron Hakohen Gadol?

      Delete
  3. What about Taharas HaMishpacha?

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  4. this is completely an in appropriate forum for anonymous talkbackers to give advice to someone on a serious issue such as divorce.

    The couple in question should consider seeing a a therapist or counseller, and not publicly air out their issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. agree 100%. the whole discussion is way too "ophrah-let-it-all-out-in-public-winfrey" style.

      Delete
  5. Michael I have some basic questions:

    1) Does your wife know that you raised this question on a public forum? If she does know - what was her reaction? If she doesn't know - why didn't you tell her?

    2) Are you asking for a halachic answer - or one that is primarily psychological?

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  6. My dear Michael,how could you contemplate even for one second,to divorce this wonderfull and great wife of yours ?,you yourself in your own words admit "" I do not know a single person whose midot are on the level of my wonderful wife" the fact that she is not shomer shabbos YET,should absolutely not figure in your marriage with this great wife of yours,her being shomer shabbos or not, is between her and G-d.and it is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO G-D FORBID BREAK UP THIS MARRIAGE.

    Chazal teach us that the MIZBEACH (the altar)will shed tears on someone who divorces his wife,especially a woderful wife like this one.
    Believe me Michael,divorcing this wife of yours is a million times bigger transgresion than not keeping SHABBOS your whole life

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Chazal tell us to divorce a bad wife. A Mechallel Shabbos wife is one of the baddest wives one could have.

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    2. Interesting question regarding the definition of a bad wife. What is a bad wife?

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  7. You should absolutely NOT divorce your wife!!!

    From your description SHE lives Torah middos on a day to day baises.

    Remember.... R' Webberman keeps Shabbos. It's living with the values of Torah that really matter

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  8. Is your marriage functioning well in all other areas?
    Of course you're obligated to do what you can to encourage her to keep Shabbos.
    Are you concerned for the right reasons? Is it only the mitzvah, or also for your honor and/or comfort/convenience?
    You mentioned 10 years of arguing. That can definitely leave unpleasant baggage in your relationship and make it all the more difficult for her to comply with your wishes. On the other hand, honoring and accepting her as she is and actively appreciating her amazing qualities bring many benefits. You'll be fulfilling your obligations as a husband and she'll likely soften up and move towards what's important to you on her own.
    You mention feeling isolated - on Shabbos or in general?
    What kind of progress do you feel her being your wife is preventing? Would you be better off single?

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  9. Recipients and PublicityOctober 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    It's a no-brainer: STAY MARRIED TO HER and keep on doing what the two of you have been doing for the last 30 years!

    Presumably your wife is halachically Jewish because there are many Jews married to gentiles in this kind of situation and it's a nightmare. There was an organization called EJF that tried to launch a campaign to convert gentile spouses in interfaith couples and it became a disaster. Sometimes it is better to leave well enough alone because so-called "solutions" are often worse than the problems they come to solve.

    The fact that you are not tied to a good Orthodox rov closely enough is something you have chosen, and it's a big problem because he would help you (it's a cop out to say that they run away) since by now any reliable rov worth his oats would have given you both practical and halachic guidance one way or the other.

    If you divorce your wife, who will you marry? Who will marry you? What will the effect be on your children? Most of all, how will you function all alone without your life's partner, your unique ezer kenegdo?

    By the way, you have not DESCRIBED EXACTLY what it is that makes your wife "not" keep Shabbos? What is it that she does or does not do that you regard as not "keeping" Shabbos? Maybe you do not know enough about what chillul shabbos really is and how to classify acts that could be so or may not be so. There are all sorts of mere minhagim, various levels of rabbanans, and de'oraisas (the 39 avos melachos), all have different consequences. There are many factors here, and if she is not a lehachis (meaning she does not do things out of spite) then given her ignorance about all this she is just a regular guiltless tinok shenishba, and just as you became shomer Shabbos, she can to.

    This situation is not unusual among committed couples where one moves faster than the other in changing the rules of the relationship. Remember that it is you who changed and then changed the rules of your marriage by zooming ahead in your observance, and it is not her "fault" that she does and perhaps cannot keep up with you. So you have to give in to her as much as she accommodates your new religious lifestyle.

    Hatzlocha rabbah, you are very lucky man!

    P.S.
    The much more complicated question is how did you manage to navigate the issues of taharas hamishpacha (laws of family purity) all the years? Did your wife go to the mikvah for you? Who helped her with that, how did you deal with her being a niddah (menstruant woman) and how did she respond and cope with that?

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    1. don't ask too many details, it might not be on the perek any more, so one time mikwah might have been enough...

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  10. If it is halachically permissible to keep to preserve the marriage and there is possibility for spiritual growth it seems that your marriage still has great potential.

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  11. Maybe your life's greatest progress potential isn't elsewhere; maybe it's right here and now, accommodating your wife, inspiring her and growing with her.

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  12. to all commentators who feel so strongly that he needs to honor the Shabbos by divorcing her; can you please explain your position a bit more clearly?
    I don't understand why being married to a non-Shabbath Observer keeps one from observing the Shabbos.
    Unless you are taking the approach that unless she keeps Shabbos she is off the bus so to speak. i.e. we then don't consider her Jewish anymore.
    But I don't really think Halacha says that, so can you please explain why you feel so strongly that he must divorce?

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  13. Rabbi Chaim Wasserman in Passaic helped me with this more than 20 years ago.

    I am FFB and my husband became religious as a 16 year old. When we got married, my husband promised my father that he would always observe at least Shabbos, kashrus and family laws. After 5 years of marriage that was otherwise happy, my husband decided that he did not want to be Shomer Shabbos and also began to eat out non kosher (meat).

    Rabbi Wasserman told us that in the name of Shalom Bayis we erase G-d's Name.

    The Rav asked my husband what he wanted to do on Shabbos and my husband said "drive to the park". So Rabbi Wasserman said that I should go in the car with my husband on Shabbos to the park in order to save our marriage because Shalom Bayit comes first.

    We lived in an Orthodox neighborhood at the time. I was mortified and horrified. All I wanted to do was not be seen in the car. I had been Shomer Shabbos my whole life.

    I got in the car and my husband drove to the park with our children who were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 then (my oldest still remembers this).

    The tears were pouring down my face. I could not believe that I was doing this. My husband saw how much Shabbos meant to me and felt terrible. What could he possibly want to do that would be worth causing so much pain?

    He never asked to violate Shabbos again. I also made more of an effort to invite guests, all sorts of people both religious and not so that my husband would enjoy Shabbos more.

    Rabbi Wasserman is not the only rabbi I know of who advises this way.

    I hope that you will find the right rabbi to advise you.

    Meanwhile, perhaps there are things that you can do to make Shabbos more enjoyable for your wife.

    Do you cook? can you bring in delicacies? fresh flowers? small gifts?

    Do you help to clean the house? sing with children or guests? Perhaps you can also go to a Shabbaton?

    If the matter is TV, can you agree that she will watch TV in a bedroom?? (TV is definitely d'rabbanon).

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    1. R. Chaim Wasserman is modern orthodox. It is important to point this out.

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    2. I have never heard of this reasoning. It would allow a person to violate any halacha for the sake of Shalom Bayis which is absurd. I would appreciate if anyone has sources that permit such a thing.

      The closest I have seen is the very problematic teshuva of the Rema which permits slandering an innocent rabbi since it was the only way to bring peace to a community based on that G-d allows His name to be erased for shalom bayis and therefore you can eradicate the repuation of anyone that stands in the way of peace in the community - even if they are innocent.

      Delete
    3. Rabbi Chaim Wasserman's number is (973) 777-4422

      Could someone in the New Jersey area contact him to verify that this is an accurate report of what he said and that he considers this a legitimate psak? I will print his agreement or disagreement with this report.

      Furthermore are you claiming that he only allowed riding in the car or that he told you that you could violate all Shabbos laws that stood in the way of shalom bayis?

      Delete
    4. RDE: Can you call him?

      Delete
  14. I have a similar question. I had to leave kollel after five years to go to work to support my family after our third child was born. Should I get divorced so I can marry somebody from a wealthy family so I can go back to kollel to reach shleimus in my Avodas H'? All of this bitul Torah is not good. I believe I have a lot of potential in learning that I have yet to achieve. When we first got married I thought I would be able to learn full-time for many more years, but that wasn't possible. What should I do?

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    Replies
    1. Divorcing your wife and causing terrible pain to three children is done "to achieve shleimus in my AVodas H?" This is what they teach in Yeshivas where they honor pro-gay politicians as long as they give money to the Yeshiva so people can learn Torah. That Torah learning is very far from shleimus. A Gadol of the past generation told me "A Yeshiva is haschoso." That is what he meant. A living Gadol HaDor agreed with this. The TOrah of today is not the Torah of the Talmud or Moshe Rabbeinu. Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky taught that the extreme ideas in the Torah world about Torah and frumkeit cause the marital problems. I spent hours talking to Gedolim Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaacov Kaminetsy. None of them would hear such a question without becoming furious.

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    2. Rav Dovid: Lazer is a troll. His comment is disingenuous and non-serious.

      Delete
  15. I once spoke to the Gadol Posek HaDor Reb Elyashev zt"l about such a problem. The first thing to find out is if the wife does something wrong that effects the husband, such as taharas hamishpocho. Also, are there children involved. If she keeps taharas hamishpocho and to divorce her would likely turn the children against yhiddishkeit, it is probably okay to remain with her. I don't say this is the exact case I spoke to the Rov about, but this is what I would say this based upon that discussion.

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  16. writeus1@verizon.net is my email if anyone has a sensitive question to ask about marriage, etc.

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  17. Let me thank all of you wonderful yidden for your thoughtful feedback. I like what "been there" said about going out of my way for my wife on Shabbos. That is definitely worth a try. I also like what "browser" said about not daring to leave my wife since her midot are so exceptional. I also want to thank the rav who manages this web site for helping me here. I lam not an Oprah fan and hope people do not see this as Oprah-fication.
    Just to make a few clarifications. My wife is halachically Jewish. Due to my wife's age, taharat hamishpacha is no longer an issue. Still, I spoke to a rav who suggested she pay a single visit to a mikva since she has never been to one, but she refused to do so. I really think the issue is shyness (hyper tznius?). She is the shyest person I have ever known and I think having to disrobe, even in the presence of a single mashgicha, frightens her. When I spoke about her midot in relation to other women, I did not mean to imply that I am checking out other women as alternative wives. I have no such thoughts.
    To answer some of the rav's questions here, I daven at a Litvishe shul. My wife's objection to keeping Shabbos is that it restricts her freedom. I am embarrassed to admit but she shops and drives on Shabbos. It's part of her weekend and she does not want "restrictions" around it.
    Again, I do not want to oprah-fy my situation, and I am very greatful to the supportive voices here.

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  18. perhaps you should ask a rav if there is a way for her to be tovel without a mashgicha present


    Michoel

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  19. If she never went to the Mikva, you are violating a death sentence in the hands of heaven prohibition every time your are with her.For your sake she should certainly go at least once or go to some isolated spot in the ocean with you very nearby and disrobe and go under the water which would also serve as a mikva.

    There is no worse wife than one that causes her husband to sin with such severe violations. As a non Shabbos observer, I wonder if she would be believed to say she went to the mikva.

    This question should really be submitted to a competent Orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn would be a good authority to discuss this with.

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  20. This is going to hurt.

    Still, I think that the widely inaccurate responses posted here, require that the Halacha be stated clearly:

    There is an halachic obligation to divorce a woman that is not mindful of Halachos Nidah - as noted in אבן העזר ס' קט"ו ס"א וס' קי"ט ס"ד.

    There are serious questions on the reliability of such a woman as pertaining to Kashrus, even if we were to assume that this woman is a ,תינוק שנשבה, as noted in אגרות משה יו"ד ח"ב ס' מ"ז.

    Someone willingly transgressing widely known Halochos such as Niddah and Shabbos may possibly be considered a תינוק שנשבה even after being told of the severity of such transgressions, but that does not allow a person to continue the status-qua.

    The reason such answers should be answered privately, is because of the extreme sensitivity and emotional turmoil involved in dissolving an otherwise happy marriage.

    Surely, every effort should first be be made to impart upon the woman the seriousness of the matter, and the assistance of a warm, knowledgeable Rav or Askan might help.

    Midos are extremely important, but the thrust of Torah Judaism is accepting the "yoke" of Torah, which entails submitting to the will of a higher authority.



    ReplyDelete
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    1. the problem is: you can never know whether someone keeps mitzwot, just because they wear the uniform. So rather take a honest person without the uniform than a hypocrite apikores.

      And the chances of getting a hypocrite when you get a spouse in the right uniform are quite big, especially at an advanced age.

      Delete
    2. That's a Non sequitur. Although All Aveyros not followed by remorse may put someone in the category of מומר לדבר אחד according to the rabbeinu Yona in Shaarei Teshuva, public transgressions of accepted MAJOR Mitzvohs like Shabbos are MUCH WORSE.

      Such transgressions puts the transgressor in the category of מומר and he is considered for many Halachos as a non-Jew.

      This should not be construed as saying that our non-religious brethren aren't Jewish - we're talking about reliability in Kashrus matters and the like NOT as to saving on Shabbos, etc.

      Delete
    3. don't understand your explanation. Are you saying an honest person who doesn't keep mitzvos because he/she doesn't understand them is superior to a person who keeps the mitzvos for kavod or money?!

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    4. "public transgressions of accepted MAJOR Mitzvohs like Shabbos are MUCH WORSE."

      So someone who sleeps around with women who are niddah, but does so in private, is better than someon who goes shopping on shabbes in public?

      And if she gets pregnant and it becomes public that he slept with her? Still better than mechalel shabbt? (of course, whether the intercourse was consensual or not makes no difference in this question, according to Oberhuchems like you).

      Delete
  21. TZOORBA"" you have no idea what you are talking about,ignorant people should not PASKEN HALACHOS,because if this wife of his,ever went to the beach,even though she was wearing a bathing suit,MIDEORAISA'it is considered a kosher TEVILAH,and therefore there is no violation that carries a death sentence
    This Rav Chaim Wasserman was 1 million percent right in his PSAK.
    "TZOORBA' you might be a TALMID CHOCHOM ,but this exactly what CHAZAL had in mind, when they said "KOL TALMID CHACHAM SHEAIN BOY DAAS,NEVEILAH SERUCHA TOVA MEMENOI"

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    1. browser - would appreciate some sources that justify your pronouncment that Rav Wasserman was "1 million per cent right in his PSAK."

      Furthermore if the wife never went to the beach - what would you hold?

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    2. If the wife went to a public beach in a bathing suit she should be divorced for that alone, even if she were Shomer Shabbos.

      Delete
    3. Tzoorba tried to convince me once that anal sex is permitted.

      Delete
    4. Browser,

      Kol haposel bemumo posel. Rav Moshe Feinstein said that going to the beach in a bathing suit when she is not then an active nida might be a kosher tevila if there were not a part of the bathing suit that was too tight and created a chatzitza.

      Secondly, this would only work if she didn't become nida again before going to the mikva. It would work now since she stopped seeing. Going without any impediment is an easy and efficient way to avoid all problems despite your ignorant rant.

      You are seriously misguided, as your rambling rant indicates, to think that it wouldn't be wise for them to seek the guidance of a real Rabbi.

      Dovy,

      Quit spouting your delusional position on this topic. Learn the sugia of orachti shulchan lo vehofcho with someone who really knows how to learn and it will be clear that I am right.

      Delete
  22. Pat,please go take your medicine,you realy need it,

    Daas Torah,
    as far as i know,riding in a car on SHABBOS technicaly if someone else is driving is definitely not a ISSUR D'ORAISA,and it might not even be a rabbinic prohibition

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    Replies
    1. There is the halachic problem of the light turning on when you open the door and extinguishing when you close the door. You activate the circuits in the seat for the seat belt - etc etc. There is the issue of maris aiyen. Am not aware of any poskim who allow you to ride in a car on Shabbos - unless it is pikuach nefesh. If you have sources please present them

      However my prime objection is his sevora. If he had said this is an emergency measure which will show her husband how serious Shabbos is and then he will leave you alone - that could be in the realm of acceptable - though I doubt it. But when you provide a sevora which allows almost any sin. Can a person commit adultery if it gives him Shalom Bayis? Can a wife kill her husband's mistrees for Shalom bayis etc etc.

      Delete
  23. "" DAAS TORAH" This case is a perfect example,where the fifth SHULCHAN ARUCH comes into play,common sense should tell us,that to save a successful and beautiful marriage,it would be permited to transgress some rabbinic prohabitions.
    There is a TESHUVAS HARASHBA,where he says,that sometimes when rendering a PSAK strictly by the books without considering the consequnces,could bring a CHURBAN to this world,i would say this is a perfect example of what the RASHBA had in mind

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    Replies
    1. The Reform and Conservative movements have a similar argument - if we don't alter or eliminate certain mitzvos we have lost the Jewish community they claimed. Thus no Shabbos, no taharas mishpacha, no etc etc.

      Not everybody who claims possession of the fifth chelek does - and in fact much destruction has come about by people who think they are smarter than G-d or at least Chazal.

      Delete
  24. Daas Torah" how can you even begin to compare a one time HETER of a rabbinic transgression to an individual, in order to save his 30year marriage,to the wholesale abandoment of TORAH and MITZVOTH by the Reform and conservative movement? This is exactly where the fifth SHULCHAN ARUCH (common sense) comes into play

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    1. Chillul Shabbos is a Biblical violation that carries the death penalty.

      Delete
    2. Please give me a single recognized authority that tells a spouse that they are allowed to violate Torah halachos such a Shabbos, nidda and kasrus in order to stay married. You wave the flag of fifth Shulchan Aruch as if you own it. Anybody who want to claim that their judgment transcends the Torah better have some decent sources - and you have produced nothing.

      paskening on the basis of gut feeling or 5th chelek or ruach hakodesh is left for people we call gedolim. It is not for everyone who think they can decipher the Artsroll gemora or Soncino Zohar.

      Bottom line - We are dealing with a person who is faced with the painful choice of violating Torah commandments to stay married or get divorced and fully keep the Torah. Give me sources - not Conservative and Reform lomdus. I am sure that the one who raised the question is capable of 5th chelek rationalizations also - but he asked for views which are informed by the opinions of Torah authorities.

      Delete
  25. Browser wrote:
    There is a TESHUVAS HARASHBA,where he says,that sometimes when rendering a PSAK strictly by the books without considering the consequnces,could bring a CHURBAN to this world,i would say this is a perfect example of what the RASHBA had in mind

    I assume you are referring to that which is cited in Choshem Mishpat 2.

    Rashba (3:393): My view is that if the witnesses are believed by the judges, then it is permitted to punish the accused financially or physically depending upon what the judges think is appropriate to be beneficial to society. Because if we insist on doing only what is specified by Torah law and not to punish except as specified in the Torah – the world will end up destroyed. That is because the elementary rules of a functioning society will be breached and consequently it will be ruined. It is an established practice to punish those who physically harm others…Every community makes judgments in order to preserve it and this is true in every generation and every place according to what is perceived as the needs of the times. For example we see (Sanhedrin 58b) that Rav Huna, who was in Babylonia, would amputate hands as punishment. Therefore these judges you referred to who punished the accused not in accord with Torah law – if they saw the need for it to preserve the society – they have correctly acted according to the halacha. This is true when there is a specific order from the king as we see in the case of R’ Eliezar the son of R’ Shimon bar Yochai in Bava Metzia (83a)

    A psak to save society is not the same as saving a marriage and it is not dealing with the question of violating Nidaah, kashrus and shabbos but giving punishments not stated in the Torah in order to preserve society.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Shalom Haverim,
    I am touched by your concern. I am motivated to do whatever is necessary to change my wife's standards of observance. Somehow I feel that if Shabbos was the most important thing in the world to me, then my wife would see that and follow suit, so there could be something lacking in me that is reflected in her. Am I real or fake in my supposed religiosity, that's the question. Yes, I keep Shabbos but am I authentic in my observance or just going through the motions. Or, as it is often said when discussing what it take to persuade another person, "words that come from the heart go into the heart." There's a story about a young man who came to the Lubavitcher rebbe with a dilemma: he had fallen in love with a non-Jewish woman and was struggling with what he should do next. The Lubavitcher rebbe told him: "I envy you," "I envy your challenge," or words to that effect. Perhaps I keep thinking that if somehow, some way I could persuade my wife to keep Shabbos that would be k'ain olam haba, and it is the challenge of reaching heaven while still on earth that keeps us together.

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    Replies
    1. Michael I agree 100%. You obviously have the key to solve this problem. if you want to take that approach you need to get involved in understanding what Shabbos is yourself - that means besides learning the halachos to learn the significance of Shabbos. So yes it would definitely be easier for your wife to understand and appreciate Shabbos if you understood it and appreciated it more. It also would help if your wife saw how others view Shabbos and if you had guests for Shabbos that make the experience more enjoyable.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. Your words of counsel are appreciated.

      Delete
    3. I don't know. She might have good reasons to want leading her life as she used to in the past. Why should it be linked to any deficiency in your religiosity?

      But if you let her read this blog, she will stumble about many a thing that might displease her about jewish law. So keep her far away from it. But then, she might have learned about those things from other sources, and this might be the reason why she does not want to delve into orthodox jewish life.

      She is tolerant - not only does she let you live with you meshigaasim, she even buys you your challes and lights candles to please you.

      Don't you think that you should also show a minimum of tolerance towards her and towards the person you yourself were when you married her & in the first xxx years of your marriage?

      Delete
  27. Michael, I feel for your dilemma. I urge you to read Garden of Peace by Rav Shalom Arush. He has a very unique and compelling view on this precise issue. Once you've read it, his translator and associate Rav Lazer Brody is a good person to talk to for practical advice on the topic. In any event, may Hashem open your wife's heart and inspire her to observe Shabbos.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I will find the book and contact Rabbi Brody, who I once saw perform in a band in the Old City (Yerushalyaim) during hol hamoed Succot.

      Delete
    2. You're welcome! Don't be shy about contacting Rabbi Brody (by email or whatever) -- he's always willing to answer people's questions or give advice.

      Delete
  28. I wasn't able to post earlier due to Hurricane Sandy

    Browser,

    Kol haposel bemumo posel. Rav Moshe Feinstein said that going to the beach in a bathing suit when she is not then an active nida might be a kosher tevila if there were not a part of the bathing suit that was too tight and created a chatzitza.

    Secondly, this would only work if she didn't become nida again before going to the mikva. It would work now since she stopped seeing. Going without any impediment is an easy and efficient way to avoid all problems despite your ignorant rant.

    You are seriously misguided, as your rambling rant indicates, to think that it wouldn't be wise for them to seek the guidance of a real Rabbi.

    Dovy,

    Quit spouting your delusional position on this topic. Learn the sugia of orachti shulchan lo vehofcho with someone who really knows how to learn and it will be clear that I am right.

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  29. FWTW I heard Rabbi Orlowek say, IIRC, that he doesn't know of any couple that got divorced because of differences in religious level. The details were not illustrated but I think I understood the gist of his point, which I think is relevant here. He was making a point, not just recalling incidents.

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  30. Micheal,
    Do you love this woman you've been married to for 30 odd years?
    If you do, which it seems you respect her? why would you ask strangers on a blog if you should do something so personal and exstreme?
    Your personal road with G-d and mitzvos is that? She needs to see respect and love from you and she may or may not ever catch up to where you are, but you have to ask yourself- Is it worth it to cause her pain and suffering and a hatred of all things Jewish by ending a partnership and giving up on her?
    Many couples are strong in different ways.
    One of my parents wasn't Jewish yet became extremely observant after converting and the other parent who was born a Jew refused adamently and vocally to have nothing to do with being religious.
    Today due to kindess, understanding and persistance of one parent, the other is religous and a better person.
    If rashi brings out that Yaacov shouldn't have hidden his daughter from his brother due to the influence she may have used change Esav from Rasha to Tzadik, can we deem ourselves better ?
    Be a loving and kind and generous husband and tolerant and don't give up on the one you "love".

    ReplyDelete
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