Friday, February 13, 2015

Guest post wanted on topic: "We were very happily married for 20 years - and then she insisted on a divorce - turned the kids against me and left me penniless - I still don't know why."

update Friday: Bshch  published a strong warning from a beis din in Beitar. - against a therapist for allegedly promoting divorce  Have no personal knowledge about this but it was sent to me by a number readers as reflecting the ideas in this post

update Thursday - see The Ort Family tragedy

I would like a guest posts dealing with first person stories of  the commonly expressed lament I hear of husbands describing a happy marriage of many years, good relations with the children and then they woke up one morning with their wife requesting a divorce. The husband typically could not get the wife to explain what happened or why she wanted a divorce. After the request for divorce there are attempts to mediate by rabbis, friends and therapists - but they fail and the wife left - often taking the kids with her.  - often going to secular court without permission of beis din.

None of these mediators are able to get the wife to express to the husband what happened other than that the wives had a profound feeling of unhappiness that had been growing recently and a feeling that life was passing her by. At some point little attempt is made to reconcile and the husband is deliberately kept in the dark by the therapist and wife. Often the initial neutrality of the therapist is replaced by a decided bias in favor of  the wife's side and they form a coalition against the husband. In addition the therapist has no problem providing confidential information about the husband with the wife's mother or friends. Separate therapy sessions become the norm - rather than joint sessions. The sessions with the wife often revolve around how terrible the husband is or at least how incapable he is of truly being a good husband because of flimsily diagnoses of various psychological deficits or syndromes. Sessions with the husband are to prepare him for the fact that he is inadequate and incapable of making his wife happy. These therapy sessions often combined with feedback from "experts" who are good friends or relatives or lawyers - create an irresistible momentum for divorce at all costs including slandering the husband with charges of wife beating or sexually abusing the children.

Often these wives receive "advice" from friends and relatives to the fact that contrary to their feelings - they were very unhappy and their husband was taking advantage of them and clearly did not respect or value her as an equal. These "advisers" claimed that their husband's viewed them as a type of slave or servant providing various services because he viewed her as inherently inferior. The wife learned that what she had viewed as willing sacrifices for the husband's learning or for him to have a solid relationship with the children - were in fact proof that there was no value to her existence except as a facilitator for his needs. At some point the wife started viewing the husband as "the other" and stopped trusting him and refused to confide in him or even share experiences. 

The husband is often very inarticulate in expressing his feelings to his "new born wife". That is because for years they have shared a language and values that were viewed positively by both of them - and now the wife has a different negative understanding. Every time her husband opens his mouth - it just makes the barriers between them more impenetrable. Typically he doesn't realize this and keeps trying harder to push the buttons and say the words that used to work - but he ends up totally frustrated and angry as well as irritating her. The wife takes this additional proof that he is damaged goods. 

If this sounds familiar please submit your own story - with names and identifying statements removed. Also I am not interested in nasty things said about your ex-wife - just the facts. Also interested in those who deny that this pattern exists.

update====Just received the following response  from a prominent frum therapist ====

Rabbi Eidensohn:

Having worked with couples for many years, I have observed many situations, prior to my intervention, during, and after. There is probably no one with enough data to cite statistics.  But the experience I have, plus many of my colleagues does not point to either gender as the chief perpetrator of divorces. Let us establish a few matters that are not negotiable.

1. Humans were meant to marry and be happy A marriage that dissolves is abnormal, and it is tragic.

2. An old saying is that marriage is grand – divorce a hundred grand.

3. The peaceful divorce is possible, but it is a relatively uncommon experience. It is said, “People marry out of love; they divorce out of hate.”

4. Marriage is a gamble. If one does not “win”, it becomes necessary to face loss. No one wants to do that. It is seen as easier to shift the blame to the other. If not just the blame, then the outcome of the division of assets and resources (including the children) becomes ripe for declaring victory.

5. The systems of lawyers for court and toanim for batei din are ripe for exploitation. Cases are often prolonged, and settlements difficult to reach because of these outside sources of interference.

6. The complexities of the interplay of halacha and secular law provide enough fodder to gum up the works. This includes the use of court prior to beis din, the orders of protection that prevent conduct of the family, and the easy manipulation of the courts to provide emergency orders of custody, visitation, etc.

7. There are “professionals” of many persuasions that lend their incompetence and poor judgment to the mix. There are rabbonim, dayanim, toanim, and choson/kallah teachers, as well as “shalom bayis machers” who reach conclusions as per their preferences, independent of the facts. Many are poorly informed. The ignorance that allows one to fall for the tears of the borderline personalities, and the beliefs that men always perpetrate abuse while women are always the victims, the willingness to paint the facts into the foregone conclusions to rationalize them, and the disregard for the midoh of emes are legendary. Mental health professionals of all disciplines have been faulted for the negative roles they sometimes take.

8. Lastly, there are evil men and women out there, who will twist and turn everything they can to “win”. The craving of victory, as noted by the Chofetz Chaim, is the root of machlokes. This does not stop after separation, or even after divorce. With the observation of my colleagues and myself as the context, I hesitate to give any credence to the oft posted comments about all divorces being perpetrated by evil women or by evil men. With systems as they exist, including courts, batei din, public opinion, and media, there are tendencies to make generalizations that are unfounded. Each case needs to be examined on its own merit.

I have worked with true cases of domestic violence, and I have also worked with fabricated ones.  Who is the real victim?  Generalizations help no one.

One issue that was not reported in the recent guest post was the role of social influences. There are groups of women in the frum community, many who meet online, others face-to-face, that advise each other and conspire how to cause their husbands or ex-husbands the most damage, “using the system”. Without restricting free speech, one cannot successfully eliminate these social environments.  I have succeeded in getting some of my clients to abandon these groups, and to seek support from sources that help build them instead of destroying others.


  1. This is a very strange request, since you are asking for a pre-conceived story, and want someone to tell it in their own words, and then you will say "hey presto, this is happening all the time".

    Why not just ask for people to tell their story without giving them a script to develop?

  2. @Eddie I thought you were familiar with scientific research. I have heard this story many times - I am just asking for confirmation from others that this pattern is in fact a common pattern for divorce in the Orthodox world. You will note I asked for those who disagreed to state so.

    In short I am proposing a hypothesis that is is a common pattern.

    either it is common or it is not common. If anyone else sees other patterns they are welcome to present them

  3. It seems that the events described in this posting have become a common scenario in the Orthodox Jewish world. Exactly what is motivating the divorce mentality in many frum women is not always clear, but I did hear a senior rav say that "there is a ruach shtus of feminism in the frum world." This does not mean that all the frum women demanding divorces are ideological feminists, but these women and the so-called therapists allied with them are strongly influenced by the perverse feminist "values" of viewing women as only victims, viewing men as the enemy, rejection of marriage values, self-centered-ness, contempt and hostility for males, denial of any faults of women, etc.

    These women are also being aided and abetted by corrupt, profit seeking rabbis and toens, and also by militant feminist groups like the YU based ORA group, led by Herschel Schachter, who aggressively promote a divorce on demand mentality among women. The only solution to the divorce crisis can be a rejection of feminist values and a return to authentic Torah practices that prohibit divorce on demand and hold both women and men responsible for their actions.

  4. I'm with Eddie. By definition, you are asking for anecdotes. Yes, you paid lip service at the end that people who disagree should also let you know, but that is insufficient for two reasons. First, it is a half-hearted sentence at the end of a long detailed post and it is phrased almost like "have you stopped beating your wife?" Second, it is almost impossible to prove a negative.

    I don't deny that stories like this exist, nor that there are structures in place that enable them. But how are you going to determine whether it is "common" or there is a "pattern"? Compared to what? Even if it is true that therapists facilitate this, how will you distinguish selfish women manipulating innocent therapists from some endemic failure of social work training? And if it's just selfish women manipulating therapists, they could manipulate whatever mechanisms are in place. Moreover, even if the entire scenario from the husband's perspective is true and common, it would not follow necessarily that the wife is wrong and that divorce should not be granted.

    I usually agree with your message about frum divorce, which is (correct me if I'm wrong) that requiring bilateral agreement is not an archaism, that the proverbial sociopathic husband who refuses to give a get is rare or non-existent, and that the stories the progressive and secular media promulgate are examples of deliberate mis-characterization of acrimonious splits as spousal abuse by the husband. But I don't see how bashing a selection of rare-to-non-existent women is any better.

  5. The plural of anecdote is not data....what you are proposing has more in common with Murray Povitch and Jerry Springer than science.

  6. A Rabbi who counsels these kind of couples you describe told me this. He starts by asking the husband what he found attractive in his spouse when they first met. Somehow the relationship started.

    The husband will have a list of things he liked.

    Then the Rabbi turns to the wife and asks her the same question. The wife answers, "Not a d--- thing!"

  7. I'm aware of a case of a happily married wife who had three very close friends who all got divorced over time. They couldn't bear that she was the only happily married among the friends and with time convinced her to better her life by getting divorced. And so she did.

  8. The minimum of due diligence (after this biased setup) would be to verify with the wife what her version of the events is - which of course is impossible if personal information is removed.

    I suppose that it happens from time to time that a husband, subjectively, perceives the story along the lines you describe. However, I suspect that in most such cases they do not know why their wife separated because they do not want to know, or they don't want to understand their wife's position.

    You had a commentator on this blog (yy), who claimed to be in this position (some evildoers alienated his wife from him), but even according to his own description, it becomes clear that his wife had a lot of patience with him, gave him ample opportunity to mend his ways, but he was not able to do so in 20 or 30 years of marriage (the wife waited until all children were married before she initiated divorce)

  9. @guessed - you raise a good point. If I were concerned about judging the overall case.

    At this point I am just trying to confirm that this is the way many husband perceive what is going on. Establishing that this is subjectively going on for many husband would be a valuable starting point for handling the situation.

    Assuming that this is true and it can be established that there are similar subjective stories that wives tell themselves - that would also be important to know.

    In sum - this is a starting point for understanding why there is such a failure of communication which causes one or both to conclude the only solution is divorce

  10. @yirmiahu - you sound like a physicist.

    In the world of social science and psychotherapy - this approach provides helpful information that can increase the likelihood that therapy is effective.

    It provides hypotheses for further research as well as strategies to try and improve empathy and communication.

  11. @yirmiahu - you sound like a physicist.

    In the world of social science and psychotherapy this approach of looking for patterns - even subjective patterns can be very helpful in developing strategies and increasing understanding .

    You can look at this at search for hypotheses for why two intelligent people who have lived together for 20 years seem to suddenly be unable to commuicate with each other and both are strongly hurt by this misunderstanding.

    Of course if you have "real" scientific evidence that is more useful - please share it with us.

  12. My hypothesis is that the breakdown of communication happens asymetrically.

    There is a long phase where one spouse is unhappy and wants to change the situation. Howeveer, the other spouse is happy (all his needs are provided for), so he sees no need to change anything.

    This goes on for a long while, until spouse 1 is desperate (no change available) and shuts down or initiates divorce.

    Now, spouse 2 understands that there is a problem and wants to mend it. But spouse 1 already invested all their efforts and is not amenable to communication any more, since their communication attempts were shunned for such a long time.

  13. @whosevelt - you have made a number of incorrect assumptions. The purpose of this exercise is not to avoid giving a Get - it is to understand the subjective perspectives of the parties involved.

    Let's say for the sake of argument that this pattern happens 10% of the time. If a husband, rabbi or therapist is aware that this is what is actually going on - then he will deal with the situation differently then if the two simply have nothing in common anymore - by natural means.

    In short - knowledge that this patterns is not uncommon provides tools for dealing with divorcing couples - it doesn't predetermine whether divorce is the best solution or the worst.

    This is not an exercise in how to bash wives - but rather helping them do what is in their best interests

    As Rav Sternbuch told me said, "First establish your facts - before you start using halachic principles"

  14. that the proverbial sociopathic husband who refuses to give a get is rare or non-existent

    I don't believe I've ever seen RDE say this or anything similar.

  15. B'H on this one I am in agreement with R' Shternbuch.

  16. Okay. You wanted first hand accounts - here you have someone..

    I don't have the strength to pour it all out here.

    I'll cut to the chase - at least in my case it's CLEAR that therapists played the major role.

    Before she left and I asked her (for the hundredth time) to sit down with me and tell me what my problem is .. that I'm open to correct what NEEDS to be corrected (as opposed to becoming a doormat without anyone explaining WHY) ... she answered "the PROFESSIONAL says you CAN'T change!!!

    Mind you - this lady used to constantly tell me that she thanks Hashem that she's married to me..... My children used to often express admiration (They were considered model students year after year).

    ... Of course, that was before I was dehumanized ... before they called Police (who saw that the call was frivolous and tried reasoning with her) ... before they called Hatzolah to have me committed (they came and knew me from the neighborhood and said - he isn't crazy!. Then they set up an appt. with our Rav, which my b-i-l cancelled when he wouldn't go along with them.

    How could they do this?

    I think it has to do with another important comment people make in such cases. "There must be something there, after all it doesn't happen to me".

    It's true there IS something more...

    But "something" more isn't enough - there needs to be DUE DILIGENCE.... Check the details...

    Those that did where stunned by the miscarriage of justice (that includes the Rov they originally relied on, who switched sides when he finally dfid his due diligence and was ignored when he asked for their retort. It also includes the first therapist we went to together, who they also promptly dropped when he didnt agree with them.

    Then they found a Rov who told her to leave - WITHOUT EVER MEETING ME OR TALKING TO ME.

    There's much more ... but as I said, no strength to write about it ...

    Bottom line - there is no forum where TRUTH can be clarified. Simple fact checking would make a BIG difference in my story & lots of information is ON TAPE, since I tapped my own phone when they constantly stonewalled me, and lots of stuff they said can be fact checked against reality and good science).

    A lot of the advice is callous - something to the effect of make the best of it ..

    Do you know what it feels like?

    We have a large family - almost all of the children's minds have been
    poisoned (to different degrees). Well meaning but ill-imformed Rabonim
    tell them to "stay out".. They ignore the alienation and make believe a
    normal relationship is possible .. The fact that there is CLEARLY no due diligence (remember the recordings?) is irrelevant ... "That's life" they say..

    Do you want to know about the שנאת חנם that keeps us in Galus? Here it is...

    Of course ... you'll say ... there are two sides to every story.. Indeed. there is.. but the dismissive attitude and arrogance of those that run the show and claim not to need to really understand the underlying issues .. that use a knee jerk reaction of "poor wife" ... is mind boggling....

  17. I'll grant the non-existent is overreach, but do you disagree that it is rare that a husband is "sociopathic" and illegally refuses to give a Get?

  18. I actually am aware of similar stories myself, and I probably agree with parts or most of your hypothesis. But to develop your hypothesis rigorously, in social as well as exact sciences, we need to to set up a null hypothesis which we also test. So that would mean writing up another scenario, and asking for responders.
    Then there are sample biases, e.g. will the feministas be reading this blog and offer up their own megillah?

    i would add another scenario - a story i've heard many times, where the wife finds a group of female friends, many of whom are themselves divorced or remarried , and they tell her hwo she can get an exciting new life by taking her husband to the cleaners, ie extracting money from him, and then be free to find a perfect new husband and live in a wonderful home and lifestyle.
    But these are anecdotes, and are not scientific studies.
    And the question needs to be asked, why do the problems come up in the first place, and what are the causes?

  19. @Eddie -social science as well as therapy often is most productive when it is not following the model of physics.

    real life involves multivariate analysis which are hard to fit into tests of signifcance or rejecting a null hypothesis.

    Again the question is not whether the level of significance is .05 or .1 but are more marriages saed or are more marriages dissolved with less anger and hatred.

  20. I was not offering an opinion on how often it happens. I was saying that I have not seen RDE say anything like this, which is what whosevelt claimed.

    As far as whether it's rare, I myself know of a number of such people, who withheld or are withholding a get for no reason other than to punish the wife. I'm just one person, so it cannot be all that rare.

  21. This looks very much like such a case of asymetrical breakdown of communication.

    What we can read from this report is that wife participated in reconciliation attempts over a longer period of time (they saw more than one therapist).

    The husband does not mention any of his own shortcomings. Does he think it is irrelevant in this context or is he simply incapable of seeing that there might be things in his behavior he would have had to change for the marriage to work?

    This account looks as if it fit the pattern where the subjective account of one spouse might greatly differ from the account of the other spouse. Therefore, it would be interesting to hear the wife for her version of events.

  22. @Guessed - good point. Can anyone provide the wife's point of view?

  23. I suppose Berel could help with this, but I doubt he would want to... That's one of the weaknesses of your setup, as I pointed out earlier.

  24. In all the cases that you know of, there is no reason other (i.e. either a desire to continue the marriage or to pressure his wife to rectify a wrong she committed against him such as utilize secular court or seized his assets or minimized his visitation, etc.) than to inflict punishment on his wife that the husband is withholding the Get? How many such cases do you know of?

  25. In many Jewish divorce conflicts today, a perverse, corrupt mentality is often exhibited by therapists, rabbis, and community activists involved. This perverse mentality is utterly contrary to Torah values and can be summarized as:

    1. The husband is guilty until proven innocent.
    2. The wife is innocent until proven guilty.
    3. The husband's actual faults and failures are greatly magnified.
    4. The wife's faults and failures are either denied or else justified behavior for which the husband is completely responsible for.
    5. Slander, abuse, contempt against the husband and violation of his rights are perfectly acceptable and justified by his behavior.
    6. Husbands who invoke Torah law or protest the injustice against them are characterized as recalcitrant, misogynist, insensitive, unreasonable.
    7. Unqualified support is provided for all the wife's demands, regardless of Torah law, reasonableness, or injustice caused to the husband.
    8. Whenever the wife "feels" like she wants a divorce, that's sufficient grounds to give unqualified backing to her demand, and to claim it is justified by Torah law.

  26. Hi!

    Actually I would LOVE to help you. (why the assumption otherwise?)

    Guessed wrote:

    "What we can read from this report is that wife participated in reconciliation attempts over a longer period of time (they saw more than one therapist)."


    She only agreed to go to ONE therapist. We went together for three sessions and then went seperately for about 10. When it became clear that the therapist didn't agree with her she promptly dropped him. Does that qualify as "reconciliation " in your book?

    Until then and after that ALWAYS hid who she was seeing. Most of my info I only found out from tapping my own phone. When I confronted he with the phone evidence she simply said "so now you know".

    Guessed writes:

    "The husband does not mention any of his own shortcomings. Does he think it is irrelevant in this context or is he simply incapable of seeing that there might be things in his behavior he would have had to change for the marriage to work?"

    Actually, as soon as i noticed that I was being dehumanized I announced PUBLICLY at the SHABBOS table that I AM open to change. As I mentioned earlier, I asked simply for dialogue so as to ascertain facts & ascertain how such facts should be construed.

    That NEVER happened. Two rabbonim then heard me out and spoke to one of my married sons. They then contacted the other side so as to hear their side of the story. They're still waiting for a response.

    One of the rabonim who attempted to contact them was none other than the one they originally relied on to put me in my place by calling police, etc.

    He contacted people who know me well and felt that what my b-i-l's told him about me was in error. When he called them they failed to respond & simply switched rabonim & therapists.

    Do you really expect me to to spell out here in minutest detail what I think my and my wife's personal issues are? Really?

    Of course my wife's CURRENt subjective feelings are very different than mine, why else would she leave.

    My real point is that judging marriages on SUBJECTIVE feelings is a recipe for disaster, especially when coupled with blind trust in authority figures.

  27. To clarify: 1. I meant to say it is more rare than you would think given the media attention, and 2. I don't recall RDE ever saying it outright; it is more the implication of focusing on the details of the disagreements behind ORA's widely reported cases.

  28. Berel:

    In my humble opinion (and granted this is water under the bridge since you've already divorced her), is that you should have never agreed to divorce her and absolutely insist on Shalom Bayis and the continuation of your marriage despite how venomously she demanded a divorce. And stood by your decision not to divorce her and not grant her a divorce.

  29. In the type of case being discussed, the husband is best off refusing to give a Get and demanding Shalom Bayis and the continuation of the marriage.

    And firmly sticking to that decision despite the vehemence of the demands for a Get and saying (and sincerely meaning) that he demands that the marriage continue.

  30. Yes. I'm talking about cases where there are no issues to work out, where the wife would be mevater on anything and everything to get her get, and where she did not just leave on a whim.

    I can think of 3 or 4 offhand. If I thought about it, I could certainly come up with a few more. Not all these are ongoing right now, you understand.

  31. I'm pretty sure that this post will be another flash-in-the-pan "good idea" with little real influence on our society unless someone addresses valid concerns about quantifying prevalence and measuring causation...

    I don't think the emphasis should be on how COMMON the phenomenon is, but rather on CAUSATION.

    Do some posters here believe that a murder committed in a low crime area doesn't need to be investigated, since the level of prevalence is low?

    As far as causation, I think the best approach in areas like this would imply "Causal inference".

    "Causal inference" would require formulating a hypothesis as to what causes a particular phenomenon, and then attempting to test the hypothesis using statistical methods.

    See Judah Pearl's book on the subject at

    A long blog post about causal inference can be found at:

  32. That is what I have done. We're long-term separated, not divorced.

    When she left, she said "see you next time at bais din".

    Never mind that she turned me into "garbage" and alienated almost all my children. As I mentioned, she said that she's simply listening to PROFESSIONALS....

    At one point she actually told me privately that she made a "mistake" when she called the Police against me (she did it TWO times). When I asked her to say the same in public, since we have a large extended family, she refused to do so...

    After a while the demand changed from divorce to simply becoming a doormat. Still no right to discuss anything...

    Her new "Rov" sent me a littler stating that I allow myself to be "helped", without ever bothering to ascertain anything.

    Besides the two Rabonim who tried getting a clear picture, that I've mentioned earlier, two friends actually met with the Rov about my case. he brushed them off on at least TWO occasions that I'm aware of.

    Her new Rov is considered well respected, but as i've mentioned AT NO TIME did he pose any hard questions to me or allow me to question his wisdom in arbitrarily allowing a separation. He DID tell me that he wants to "fix" things, but his "fix" works from certain assumptions which I believe are demonstrably false and would dehumanize me forever.

    Just recently my son told me that the Amshinover Rebbe labeled him as a "advocate for women".

    I'll add again that I may be living in denial .. cognitive dissonance ... bias ... etc. etc. But what is definitely true is that nobody did any due diligence in ascertaining facts and the significance of such facts - while from the recordings i have it's clear tat many discussions my wife had were based on realities that where very different than what was said - and much of that is provable.

    Like TruthSeeker said, it seems that nothing makes a difference, because my perceived flaws so outweigh whatever errors they made that it isn't important to do any fact checking..

  33. Dovid - I am actually following your advice. see my longer post to this effect.

  34. Gotta disagree with your hypothesis "Guessed".

    In my case we where BOTH unhappy - but didn't blame each other, but rather respected each other, regardless of our very different personalities.

    Our communications where mostly on a practical level. There was never much "deep" communication, as she felt that it was out of her league. She was always much more withdrawn, family oriented, dependable & I was the creative, personable "deep" type.

    There are probably thousands of such marriages in the community - where pre-arranged marriage is the norm and the assumption is that each spouse has specific roles to play.

    What changed was simply that she was "taught" to see me as the source of all her - and the children's -emotional turmoil.

  35. How long have you been separated already?

  36. "Actually I would LOVE to help you. (why the assumption otherwise?"

    So you gave the blog author your wife's contact details, so that he can contact her and ask for her side of the story?

  37. Several years. Not one single time has the other side agreed to meet.

  38. "arbitrarily allowing a separation"

    A wife who, for some reason, does not want to live with her husband cannot be forced to live with him. I think that all the poskim agree on this one.

  39. A simpler method would be if Berel would ask his wife if she would like to write a guest post presenting her side of the story

  40. And your desire is for the resumption of your marriage and relationship with your wife, correct?

  41. I don't think you're correct. Halacha specifically allows Beis Din to force a husband or wife to do their marital duties. If a wife isn't keeping the house or serving her husband as she is required to or if the husband isn't providing the ona'a he is required to or if the wife refuses to go to the mikva as she's required to or if the wife is otherwise being a moredes, halacha empowers beis din to force the spouse to engage in their marital duties. (And as extensively discussed, a spouse has no right to divorce-on-demand without halachicly-recognized cause.)

  42. @Moe please cite place in Shulchan Aruch and Rambam where this stated.

    Kesubos (63b) What is to be understood by ‘a rebellious woman’?24 — Amemar said: [One] who says. ‘I like him25 but wish to torment him’.26 If she said, however, ‘He is repulsive to me’, no pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.27 Mar Zutra ruled: Pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.28 Such a case once occurred, and Mar Zutra exercised pressure upon the woman and [as a result of the reconciliation that ensued] R. Hanina of Sura29 was born from the re-union. This, however,30 was not [the right thing to do]. [The successful] result] was due to the help of providence.31

  43. are you separated more than five years?

  44. so you are implying that Halacha advocates spousal rape (i.e. forcing the wife to have intercourse against her will)?

  45. "In my case we where BOTH unhappy"

    So you aknowledge that your wife was unhappy all through her marriage? And you too?

    But then it might seem rather sadistic to insist on prolonging this state of unhappiness by resuming the unhappy marriage.

  46. I'm outside the beis medrash, but is there a not a number of halachas in S"A and Rambam that define what each spouses obligation to the other is and then proceed to state that beis din can enforce them? Obviously marital relations is one of the marital obligations.

  47. The Mishnah/Gemara in Kesubos does not say a woman is forced to engage in marital relations. Rather, if she refuses, she is a moredes, and she receives the four weeks of warning, and the husband may then divorce her without a kesubah.

  48. You say: "We were BOTH unhappy".

    i.e. your story does not fit the description above, which says "We were VERY HAPPILY married for over 20 years"

    It is all too comprehensible for a spouse to terminate a state a permanent unhappiness after more than 20 years, all the more so once they fulllfilled their educational duties towards their children.

  49. I'm not implying anything. Ona'a and having marital relations is an obligation of every married person.

  50. I'm outside the beis medrash, but I recall seeing in S"A/Rambam that if a wife is being a moredes then beis din is deputized to force her to stop acting as a moredes.

  51. If he wants to try to bring Shalom Bayis by restoring the marital relationship and seeking happiness, it is his full moral and legal right to seek that and no one can stop him or force him to divorce.

  52. You misunderstand what I meant - very unhappy, meaning like what goes on in thousands of families - large family, long hours working, finding a kehilla where one felt he / she belonged.

    I mentioned earlier that she VERY MUCH looked up to me and expressed gratitude that we were married and got along, regardless of our very different personalities.

    But mostly I meant very unhappy towards the end - major strain because of difficult financial situation (it was right after the stock market crash) & child's health.

    The "professionals" INTERPRETED the unhappiness in that last period as being because of my until then hidden faults.

  53. The list is long..

    How about being suddenly told to me face that I'm crazy .. a child telling me that he was told that he shouldn't listen to me if he doesn't feel like... that I'm a רוצח?

  54. There is no such right to unilateral divorce due to a state of unhappiness.

  55. My יועצים said that there are two reasons that I needn't even DREAM of a חיוב to give a get.

    1) The recordings clearly show there was no מאיס עלי.
    I can't go into details, but for a general discussion of when מאיס עלי is accepted, see:

  56. Reason #2 why I was told never to even consider a חיוב to divorce: The clear הוצאת שם רע which is also recorded.

    Doesn't it strike you as odd that the accused (myself) clearly and consistently demands for facts to be checked, while the accusers do everything possible not say their טענות face to face????

    I'd think that regular people would accept that an unwillingness to "put everything on the table" would hint to who is using "power politics", but alas, I've lived through שבעה מדורי גיהנם because of people who live off לשון הרע ורכילות.

  57. yes.

    They sent a rov to try to get ME to טענה that she is מעוסה עלי. It didnt work

  58. If a wife refuses to go to the mikva, beis din is not halachicly empowered to require she go to the mikva?

  59. Berel - This none of my business and if you don't want to respond, I understand.
    I'm just wondering, why, in a case such as this one, you wouldn't be absolutely dying to give a get and move on with your life? Is there something that she's holding over your head that makes this a dangerous move? Do you still hold out hope that you can make your marriage work? Is it something else?
    I'm asking out of curiosity - not because I'm taking sides or expressing an opinion, but it seems to me that if someone did what you're alleging to me, I'd be out in a jiffy. What's the hold up?

  60. The letter from the frum therapist you updated the above post to quote is well written and meaningful.

  61. what age range were your children when she separated?

  62. what will they do? dunk her in???

  63. Halacha gives beis din the power, when a party is in contempt of court and refuses to do their halachic duties (I'm speaking in general rather than specifically regarding a specific halachic violation) to enforce their order to comply with halacha by using corporal force after the requisite warnings were ignored.

    As an example, see Rambam Hilchos Ishus 21:7 and 21:10.

  64. I can't speak for Berel and he'll respond to your question if he chooses to, but speaking generally divorce is traumatic. Often more traumatic than living with even a not great marriage. Furthermore, divorce is lonely. Divorce means needing to find a new spouse. Who says the next spouse will be better than the last spouse? He/She may even be worse and the next marriage worse. The next spouse will probably be a divorcee him/herself and carry their own past baggage and faults.

  65. I believe that's if she refuses to do the various labors required by the kesubah, but not for refusing marital relations.

  66. The Mishnah in Kesubos (63a) says that for refusing relations they reduce her kesubah by seven dinarim a week. When there's nothing left, he divorces her. The Gemara there brings a mishnah acharonah that in order not to drag things out, they were מתקן a four-week period of announcing in public that she's a moredes and will lose her kesubah, and afterward, he divorces her without a kesubah.

  67. That's painful. Are you saying she did this on the advice of "professionals?"

  68. What is the name of this therapist? Is there a way for me to reach out to her/him?

  69. I was in a very similar situation, everything was going well, I felt we had a great marriage (but like any other could've used some improvement) , no arguments , spent alot of time together, kids etc. she got involved with a "rov" that manipulated her to leave the marriage and move out. I will not mention his full name but just say he's from monsey and last name begins with a B ,as my comment will most likely get deleted, even though I was told it's a mitzvah to do so in order for others not to fall into the same trap. He has destroyed many many families.

  70. Sadly this scenario is now very common in Lakewood. Lakewood is experiencing a very high divorce rate. marriages are noe broken up by therapists and support groups convincing a lady that she deserves better. The feminist movement is thriving there. Rabbonim involved with shalom bayis issues usually side with the women. There are many inexperienced therapists operating in lakewood due to the fact that the Government pays alot of money for therapy. There are two agencies that accept medicaid and push a lot of patients to meet with their social workers. If a woman wants a divorce in lakewood the system is set up to immediately take out a restraining order on the husband, have him removed from the home before any Beis din is contacted. There are askanim and a powerful Rabbis that have a relationship with the local prosecutors office and court system. They then press child molestation charges and remove the children from the father. This has become standard now in Lakewood. This is used as a bargaining chip in order to get the husband to agree to the financial and other demands of his ex wife. There is a mafia of askanim community activists and Rabbonim who back this practice. There are Rabbonim who are aware of this but cant stop it they are threatened with mesira and are afraid to speak up.

  71. It is not. It is actually a terrible letter full of obfuscations written very condescendingly as if a therapy-god on mount therapy olympus is speaking down to us non-therapeutic fallible chumps and mortals who are not privy to the higher wisdom of the great therapists who rule our modern universe! It is also is trying to "share the blame" and pin all the troubles on the Klei Kodesh who are the ones who promote the ideals of Torah marriage (in good old blame the victim style!!!) while therapists are not to blame at all since in any case they come from a secular world where marriage is NOT important anymore. Don't you get it? This poor therapists does not realize how far-gone and deep-rooted his views are in the secular NON-Torah world. How stupid can you be? May as well praise Achashverosh for being a great king while you are it with your Purim Torah.

  72. I believe you are referring to this piece from EH"E 77:2

    If she rebelled against her husband in order to torment him, and says: "I am tormenting him thus because he did such-and-such to me," or "because he cursed me," or "because he fought with me," or the like, we send her away from the court and tell her: "Know that if you continue your rebelliousness, you will lose even the 100 mana of your dower." Then they make proclamations about her every day in the synagogues and study halls for four weeks--Rem"a: some say that the proclamations need not be made every day, but only on Shabbat (Ran and Hagahot Maimuniyot, and it is also implied by Tur), and this seems to be the predominant opinion--saying: "This woman so-and-so rebelled against her husband."

  73. @Moe - a wife is not forced to be with her husband by beis din. the husband has no right to force her.

    I really don't know what you are talking about at this point. Please cite the specific sources that you think disagree with my views

  74. @RaP - sorry but you have grossly misread and/or read into things ideas which aren't there and were not intended by the author.

    He said he might write some specific examples of his points.

  75. you can't blame one group or ideology for divorce.
    We live in a world which is very different from 100 years ago.
    100 years ago, Jews did not have the luxury of free society, ivy league education, becoming multi-millionaires, TV, internet etc.
    Expectations were not the same. people may have read the occasional novel, but did not have glamour magazines and and usually did not think they could live like movie stars or rock stars. Being frum or not is a red herring. Divorce is big business today, but 100 or 200 years back was associated with shame, and people would try to get on with their short lives , not knowing when the next pogrom would be.
    The letter from the therapist has some insights, from the personal experience of one person.

    Also, there is a problem that is like a hereditary disease, and it is called bad marriage. Each generation from a bad marriage is more at risk of repeating this pattern, so there is always a bigger pool of potential divorces, etc etc.

  76. "We're long-term separated, not divorced."
    So this would imply that you are paying for her upkeep?

  77. I believe it would worthwhile to add what percentage of divorces are initiated by women. I did a quick search and got some numbers. The sources are not necessarily reliable, but certainly consistent.

    80% initiated by women.\

    93% of divorce cases were petitioned by women


    68.9% initiated by women

    And here it is. Hashem understood precisely what He's doing when He gave us the get laws (you know, the real ones).

    כד ברא קוב"ה עלמא אסתכל בה באורייתא וברא עלמא

    נשים דעתן קלה עליהן

    It can be a woman's greatest advantage. And, it can be her greatest disadvantage. This what the religion of feminism has brought us. Study after study will prove that women are generally much more unhappier in our feminist world, than those living outside of it. No, they may not be repressed. There is a large area in between, which can facilitate their achieving of true happiness.

  78. I doubt that phenomenon of false accusations is as widespread as it is made out to be here.
    I think that this is red herring, and many truly violent or abusive men hide behind it.

  79. If she wants her upkeep paid for, she is welcome to move back into his home where he said he will welcome her back with open arms and pay for her upkeep. He has no responsibility to send her checks to pay for her upkeep in some other home when she is being a moredes or refusing to live in his home where she has an outstanding offer to be supported by him.

  80. Most therapy is based on the Freudian concept that SELF-DISCOVERY by
    itself “should make us good”. I believe that’s where a lot of the emphasis
    on SUBJECTIVE feelings comes from. Clients are encouraged NOT to notice
    their biases, as that will inhibit their ability be autonomous and that
    will fill them with self-doubt. Subjective feelings very often are blind
    to simple REALITIES.

    Even when we are forced to face those realities, we
    negate and downplay information that doesn’t fit our (or the therapist’s)
    biased world view. Clashes become inevitable between opposing parties. Add to the
    mix the view of “advocacy groups” that women, children .. etc.. are being systematically abused and therefore require special protection – and we not only deny the rights of the counter-parties but even more importantly lose track of what these “endangered” and “weak” populations REALLY are yearning

    As step #2 for a win-win, I think that we need to address the problem that
    even after we’ve noticed our biases we often don’t know what to do about
    them. The advocates – I believe – are making a fatal mistake in judging
    their client’s REAL wants: The happiness that they’re trying to win for
    their clients, namely “subjective happiness”, isn’t always accessible and
    the source isn’t always stable. A better choice is something I’ll call
    INTRINSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL HAPPINESS, which IS always accessible and
    where the source IS always stable.

    An example:

    Imagine an affluent family with ties to the Italian Mafia. Imagine that the

    wife is disgusted with the murders, extortions and loan sharking. She wants
    to leave, but the husband says “family first”. Family helped him get rich,
    family “has his back” – it sure FEELS good. Who is right? If our yardstick
    is subjective feelings, the only solution is for the couple to divorce, if
    we have some clear objective “code” to follow, “truth” would win and
    they’d leave. I suspect that most of psychology would say that “culture”
    and “social support” wins out.

    Now comes “the kicker”: Let’s say the couple agrees to leave. They move
    away from Italy and start a modest life far, far away. Imagine that they
    now both start suffering from depression… It’s not hard to see why. They
    left riches behind because they followed “truth”, but now they’re
    struggling to make ends meet….

    There’s an solution – but the solution is often difficult to follow: The
    “couple” needs to retrain themselves to live by an alternative concept of
    happiness, which I’m calling INTRINSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL HAPPINESS, to take
    the place of SUBJECTIVE HAPPINESS. Subjective happiness downplays the
    actions we do that negatively affect others – it’s okay t murder and
    extort, that’s just how the world works .. everybody does it... But we
    need to find our personal dignity and respect in being able to say
    to ourselves again and again and again .. until it becomes part of us: I

  81. Ouch! I see now that my comments were posted TWICE... I'm sorry folks - after I didn't see the first one get posted I re-posted wit a note to delete the first.

    My apologies!

  82. It is a major problem no red herring. There is a Rav who is known to only listen to one side. They will never do their due diligence of listening to both sides before issuing a psak. This has only wrecked more homes when shalom could have been restored. The Rabbonim and home wreckers are very well connected and protected bby the Lakewood establishment. Its easy to spread rumors of Molestation and abuse, No one wants to defend it.

  83. RaP Alot here to agree with - but i think it needs clearer guidelines that would be acceptable to BOTH sexes, after each gender can be convinced to take off their blinders...

    And yes, I DO believe that "Torah Chinuch" is "an infallible blueprint for successful marriages". I just think that we've barely scratched the surface to try to figure out what that entails. We're missing "data" and the right "program" to synthesize and organize the data.

    We need DETAILS.

    Should we give up on seemingly unrealistic expectations or should we find ways to systematically grow? If the latter, how do we do it? Can we avoid pain of growth? What antecedents are necessary for sustainable growth?

    Are those that make us suffer evil, or just arrogant and working off false premises? Can we raise awareness concerning what the PREMISES should be? What exactly are the "right" premises in a Torah society?

    Lots of grunt work to do here.

  84. Shalom - i came close to having an OOP against me, too. The therapist we both saw who ended up taking my side DID receive anonymous threatning phone calls that he should stay out of it, because he doesn't understand abuse...

    I'll never know for sure why it didn't happen, but I have some ideas.

    One Rov who hated me from before (because of my private comments regarding how he ran certain communal matters) facilitated the Police calling and told another Rov to "stay out of it". Interestingly enough, this same fellow is a prominent signature of a letter stating never to go to authorities in cases of sexual abuse. I made sure he found out that I knew about his letter.

    Also, many of my children knew things were overdone. I was never known to be abusive, and the family was considered by many to be ideal ... pleasant, dilligent, good marks etc.

  85. Of course that's possible. My point, again and again, is that someone has to carefully check the facts.

    This never happened in my case, regardless of my protestations that I WANT EVERYTHING to come out.

    Doesn't that seem odd to you?

  86. The Rov who gave my wife permission to leave without even talking to me is also from Monsey, but his name doesn't start with "B".

    I'm flabbergasted how these people continue to be considered Chashuvim, while they clearly are arrogant ignorant people.

    there's no doubt in my mind that to a certain extent they're simply trusting the "professional" advice of all-knowing therapists, who are themselves relying on theories they don't understand and aren't aware of how those theories have already been supplanted "all the way from the top".

  87. RaP - Why not give him the benefit of the doubt? I've spoken to some excellent therapists who are extremely pained by what's going on.

    maybe, being in the field, he can actually help advance an agenda that doesn't overgeneralize and is open to discussion?

    Maybe he won't plead "executive privilege" whenever some simple person like myself points out the incongruities in his reasoning, but he'll instead work things through and get to the bottom of the theories they're relying on?

  88. Eddie - i happen to agree with you.

    Problem is in defining "bad marriage".

    Another problem is assuming that BAD character traits are like "hereditary diseases". No, they aren't.

    Heard about positive neuroplasticity? People can change, and they do change - but it takes a lot of effort.

    What I've witnessed is that the necessary ingrediants of change don't carry any Cashivus in society and social circles work more around nepotism and protecting our own, rather than nurturing real change and teaching the necessary skills.

  89. Does it make a difference? There are still plenty of children home.

  90. Once again - what's your agenda? Why do you keep beating around the bush? i am doing exactly what halacha requires of me. In fact, I believe that the "other side" knows that.

    Would you kindly agree or disagree - is there a right for due dilligence and fact checking, or not?

    does the right slant more to either the men's or woman's side, or is it the same for both?

    Would YOU help make sure that the facts of my case are checked and interpreted according to the best that science has to offer?

  91. Correct - she tried that, before she left but after she was מוצא שם רע on me. I told her I would only pay for the minimum required by Halacha, until she is willing do sit down and talk.

    Her advisors are obviously adamant that there should be NO talk.

    Instead they turned the children against me and then argued that something is wrong with me, since they hate me.

    Never mind that here again they made sure that none of the children should talk to me.

    I'm imagining that part of their reasoning is that it makes no difference, as whatever "small" misjudgements they've done "pale in comparison to the "gigantic" evils I've done.

    Nice game, no?

  92. Definitely.

    when things got bad I went through her purse and found the written notes that had the instructions.

    When they called Police the second time, I showed the Police a copy of the note.

    They understood, and attempted to talk her into going to joint therapy.

    Yes, you read that right. The POLICE tried geting my wife to go to joint therapy after seeing her notes about how to dehumanize me.

    she wasn't interested.

  93. Moe touched on a lot of the reasons.

    most importantly, i see her as a victim, not a perp.

    She was always the overtruting simple type that felt she couldn't think for herself. For 25+ yrs. she wanted to have me make every decision, regardless of my protestations.

    When the therapists opened her eyes (with the help of my b-i-l's who hated me) she simply shifted this blind trust to other parties that believe in SUBJECTIVE wellbeing.

  94. I will actually be HAPPY to do so - once there is a fair determination made of which "data" is important and which "program" is used to analyze such data.

    you see, after their strong-arm tactics failed they started talking again about asking Daas Torah. But they wanted to choose whom to go to and they also wanted to give that person the ability to choose what's relevant and also the right NOT to do fact checking.

    How's that for fairness?

  95. Please see what I just posted to "guessed".

  96. In several of my comments, I mentioned "data" and "program".

    i want to explain what I mean.

    First - I took the metaphor from an excellent book I've read, called "Beyond Your Ego", written by Dr. Judith Mishell and based on the insights of Dr. Shalom Srebrenik, founder of Arachim, the hugely successful organization.

    The book was written some 25 years ago, from the perspective of a mental health profession contrasted to a deep, Torah true perspective. Rabbi Wolbe, Rabi Matisyaho Salamon and rabbi Bullman offer approbations. Yes, it's a bit dated, but I found the insights very keen and incisive.

    In the introduction, she writes thus:

    "In his book "The Mind's New Science", the renowned cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner concludes that human beings do not approach complex cognitive processes "in a manner that can be characterized as logical or rational"

    Then she adds: "Our conclusions, which usually seem so right to us, are often not very logical and rational at all. To use a computer metaphor, the solution is only as good as the program and the data provided. our programs are imprecise and biased, and our data is often flawed and almost always incomplete.

    I think she's right. If we want to do something constructive we MUST attempt to get data; like PFT said - don't overgenalize - there are good and bad men and women & the same goes for therapists.

    more importantly - we need a better "program"; Clinicians are forcing actions on the unsuspecting, based on disproven theories.... It's time for a "better" program...

  97. Let me get more specific about the problems with the "program".

    In such highly charged matters, everybody has an axe to grind, and my word should rightfully mean absolutely nothing. After all, I'm a נוגע בדבר.

    how about the word of the TOP mental health professional in the USA? I'd hope that HIS word would and should mean a lot. And imagine if the "head doc' speaks out AGAINST his profession, I'd think that should REALLY give reason for pause...

    The head doc's name is Dr. Tom Insel. he's the director of the natioanl Institute of Mental Health - that's the organization in charge of Mental Health in the USA. I think they also happen to be the LARGEST FUNDING organization for MH in the WHOLE WORLD.

    Here's what he wrote:

    "Mental Illness Awareness Week this year began with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Which begs the question: what do we (in the mental health community) need to atone for? There are so many answers. For some, it may be the culture of blame and shame perpetuated for years by clinicians who explained all mental illness as being caused by trauma and evil parents. For others, it may be the singular reliance on medication and modifying behavior rather than holistic care and the provision of skills. Others will name the paternalistic structure of mental health care, which can undermine rather than empower individuals and their families. The list goes on. Maybe it would take a week, not just a day, to capture the many complaints".

    "My own favorite atonement issue for Mental Illness Awareness Week this year is the lack of humility in our field. Mental disorders are among the most complex problems in medicine, with challenges at every level from neurons to
    neighborhoods. Yet, we know so little about mechanisms at each level. Too
    often, we have been guided more by religion than science. That is, so much of mental health care is based on faith and intuition, not science and evidence. On the plus side, we put a premium on listening and compassion. We help people to change through understanding. But not enough of our care has been standardized to a high level of quality, as expected in the rest of medicine."

    see the whole post @

    Get that?

    i understand that he's saying FIVE points that the MH profession needs to atone for:

    1) The culture of blame and shame perpetuated for years by clinicians who explained all mental illness as being caused by trauma and evil parents.

    2) The singular reliance on medication.

    3) The reliance on modifying behavior rather than holistic care and
    the provision of skills.

    4) The paternalistic structure of mental health care, which can undermine rather than empower individuals and their families.

    5) The lack of humility in our field. Mental disorders are among the most complex problems in medicine … Yet … so much of mental health care is based on faith and intuition, not science and evidence.

    Is anyone listening?

    AFTER we hear his message, I think we need to carefully craft a response, based on our unique circumstances and religion..

    Thank You!

  98. She tried what? Making you pay her upkeep while she still lived in your home? What more did she demand from you than halacha requires?

  99. Berel, thanks for all your comments. I'm still unclear on something. You've made it clear why you don't have to give your wife a get which is fine. But why do you desire to remain in such a marriage?

  100. hey honesty, I guess it behooves us men to put in that much more effort to make our wives happy as nothing is more important than shalom bayis. Don't be a statistic, make the wife happy.

  101. hi Shalom, can you bring proof that the men you refer to did not molest their children? How do you know it's not true?

  102. Berel addressed this point earlier. I also provided some insight that will answer your question. See:

  103. I know of two specific cases where this was claimed and then retracted after proven completely false.

  104. Did you notice that this "life happens" (whatever that is supposed to mean, just signed up today? He posted three comments, and all received an upvote by "guessed". Hmmm.

  105. The Ort story is painful to read. Had I not lived through something similar although not SO harrowing - no court cases here, at least not yet - I would have thought "there must be something more going on". Now I know that yes, there always IS something else going on, but that "something else" isn't necessarily anything that justifies the actions taken AT ALL.

  106. Dear blog author:

    Would you like to facilitate a meeting between the "prominent frum therapist" and myself?

    Would the therapist be willing to comment on the points Dr. Insel mentions in his "atonement" post, which i posted earlier?

    Would "prominent frum therapist" be willing to work together with other well-meaning people to raise awareness about the negative outcomes of some mental healthcare, as the top Mental Health professional in the USA sees them?

    Would "prominent frum therapist" be willing to address specific, well reasoned points that we would prepare, or be willing to either find other qualified professionals who can address them, or lend his name to a list of those advocating to abandon those theories that have found to cause more harm than good?

  107. that's correct, you can't speak for Berel. I would prefer it if Berel explains things. I don't think he would cite the same overly generic and simplistic reasons you gave, with all due respect. Berel, how is the status quo better and happier for you than divorce?

  108. my dear friend, what is "honesty" supposed to mean?

  109. First of all The men were cleared after the children went through countless evaluations by court appointed psychologists. Second how do you know the children were not molested by their mother? does anyone to say other wise. Third how many children in the frum community are molested by their father?? why does it always come up only after divorce proceedings begin and is never brought up prior to it.

  110. Berel did address your question. See the link I gave you to my answer. Berel gave his own response to it directly above mine. (He also said that my response was in fact accurate.)

  111. For one, exposing you for who you are. Why don't you stick to just one name?

    Are you related to Hershel Goldwasser? :)

  112. Berel said: "The Rov who gave my wife permission to leave without even talking to me is also from Monsey, but his name doesn't start with "B". I'm flabbergasted how these people continue to be considered Chashuvim, while they clearly are arrogant ignorant people."

    Berel, what you fail to understand is that your poor naive silly wifey was advised by a member of the Eruv RAV peshuto kemashma'o! V'tavin!

    You were facing EVIL incarnate in the form of a black hat and bekisha! No less than when Yaakov Avinu was attacked by the Malach so that Chazal ask how could he have left himself open to that? And they give the answer that "KeTalmid Chochem Nidmeh Lo" -- the Soton appeared to Yaakov Avinu as a "Talmid Chochem" and when Yaakov moved away to give him Kovod, the Evil Malach struck him and wounded him (in the Gid Hanashe, which as the loshen nekiah and symbol of procreation and as Chazal explain he essentially damaged and emasculated Yaavov Avinu who could not have children after that!)

    That is why it is so important to have CHOCHMAS HACHAIM in addition to any formal Torah education, in order to sniff out the BIG BAD WOLVES and SNAKES lurking in our midst waiting to pounce and seduce the innocent. Just as the primordial Nachash HaKadmoni lay in wait (like the snake that he was) and then tricked Chava with his cunning words to betray her husband.

    This is very complex what we are up against in these Acharis HaYamim!

  113. Berel, the problem with the this so-called therapist's words can simply be described with how the old "red indians" used to describe the early American settlers as: "white man speaks with forked tongue"!

    The so-called therapist's words sound very mealy-mouthed as if speaking out all sides of the mouth rather than saying one clear thing. And the tone is terrible, as if he's an "adult" talking down to "children"!

    We need to level the playing field and get therapists to act as equals of everyone else since they are right now, on balance, causing more harm than good. They are not stopping the plague of divorce in the frum world, they seem to be part of the problem and clearly not part of the solution. The world was a far better place when there were no therapists.

    A core problem is that people do not realize that psychology and social work are part of the SOCIAL SCIENCES, it connected with Psychology and Sociology that believes it can save the world, or more specifically the SOCIAL SYSTEM, (read up on Max Weber, the father of modern Sociology and Social Work) by changing it through putting everyone into some form of "modification" or "therapy" or accepting its principles and basically the end result is that whoever resists this form of social totalitarianism, is well, as you know for yourself, is declared an "enemy of the state" to be hunted down and destroyed (if this sounds like a form of "communism" it is, just in the West it comes as part of "sociological" theories and practice as taught at secular colleges and universities where psychologists and social study and qualify -- very far from what is taught in Yershivos and Bais Yaakovs!!!), which is what is happening right now as lots of these stupid vulnerable women go for therapy, fall into the grasp of therapists, and the turn into pawns and zombies in far larger and more complex struggle between an aspect of modernity that is incompatible with traditional Torah-true life.

    This does NOT mean to say that therapy is bad, it is not, only as long as it it is the service of society, but in today's world the therapy culture sees itself as in control of society, setting its values and goals, and whoever does not comply is cast out as if in a new form of "cherem" and subjected to public "crucifixion" and this nonsense has to stop because it is all a clear Ma'aseh Soton, a new form of "ism" and "treifkeit" that has to be identified, attacked and outlawed from Torah society once and for all.

    But, we are far way away from that right now, because the therapy culture and its allies in the legal and judicial world (the secular law uses psychologists and social workers as if it's the Gestapo working with the SS under the authority of the Nazi party) and far too many rabbis have made a pact with the devil for mutual benefit so that the whole Torah system is out of whack.

    We are dealing with something VERY serious here!

  114. What is the "minimum required by halacha"?

  115. Berel,
    Here's where I am not getting it: you have a massive personal problem on your plate right now. I would think that resolving the matter - even (or perhaps likely) in a less than desirable manner - would lift an enormous burden off your shoulders.

    Once that's done, you might be better positioned to aid society. But I'm feeling that you have 'fardreit the yotzros', looking to tackle the frum world's problem even while the fire is still burning under you.

  116. Daniel :

    Actually, I was put - against my will - into a position where i have absolutely no other choice.

    If you followed my comments here in this thread you might notice that my children are totally alienated from me, based on evaluations from therapists and rabonim who had absolutely no compunction interpretating my personality in the darkest possible ways - without ever meeting me - while being told not to talk to me about any of this and leaving me absolutely NO AVENUE to talk to them.

    As things stand now, there can be NO RELATIONSHIP between us. I know what they think about me, I know it isn't true & several prominent Rabbonim that attempted to get to the bottom of things where met with a wall of silence, coercion (as in anonymous threats) and deception.


    SOCIETY is where these evaluations come from. I have no choice in trying to get through, unless Hashem helps me somehow awaken the "pintele yid" that beats in the hearts of every thinking person:


  117. What Moe says is correct. I also added my own comments.

    Another point is that since I tapped my phone, there is no doubt in my mind that my wife and children SINCERELY believe in the professional's evaluation of me.

    The therapist we went to - first together & then seperately - (who they later dropped after he came out against them and he was threatened for doing so) told me that he could tell from talking to her that she very sincerely "bought into: the narative that was ingrained in her.

    He's the one that warned me that if she went to a judge and cried (like she did by him) the judge would immediately give her an OOP.

    The therapist was bewildered, because he told me that she never told him any complaint with substance.

    I'm very, very far from being the bullying type. My wife's family disliked my analytical bend & my insisstance on communication and together they POISONED them.

    I should drop my whole family simply because evil people poison minds????

  118. Rap

    למעשה - how do we change things?

    Will demonstrating in from of his Shul / home make a difference?

    An extremely chushiva mashpia from E.Y. tried calling him and talking to him, he just brushed him off..

    Truth be told, this monsey rabbi - like my family also BELIEVES in what he's doing....

    The problem is ARROGANCE..

    גס לבו בהוראה!!!

  119. I have the impression from what you said that some of these children were adults when you separated. If that is correct, how did "they" turn these adult children against you? That isn't so easy.

  120. there is no possibility of checking the facts. you are an anonymous blogger and withhold pertinent information.

  121. I hear what you're saying, but am still uncertain whether you are taking a ׳חייך קודמים׳ approach.

    Does RDE have an email for you? I would like to take the discussion offline. I and many others occupy a different seat on the same boat. I support your idea of a grassroots effort.

    RDE, if you can facilitate me reaching out to Berel, it would be much appreciated.

  122. I would definitely be open to your idea, daniel. I will share my email with the blog owner.

    I am also open to discuss taking another approach - any respectful discussion is fine with me.

  123. I'm a bit perplexed with "guessed" comment.

    I asked you earlier to help facilitate "fact checking" but you ignored my offer and now you're telling me that there's no way to check?

    If I supply you with phone numbers of prominent people that have been stonewalled, what trick will you pull out of your hat, then?

    Here's our earlier exchange:

    Guessed' RaP_Commentary • a day ago

    I doubt that phenomenon of false accusations is as widespread as it is made out to be here.
    I think that this is a red herring, and many truly violent or abusive men hide behind it.

    Berel Guessed' • 21 hours ago

    Of course that's possible. My point, again and again, is that someone has to carefully check the facts.

    This never happened in my case, regardless of my protestations that I WANT EVERYTHING to come out.

    Doesn't that seem odd to you?

    I also wrote:

    " I would also like to connect with other
    commentators here who agree to seek a win-win solution for situations like my own, including, RaP, Shalom, ST & yes – even “guessed” who obviously is starting from an opposing viewpoint. We don’t need to agree on everything but we need to see what we CAN agree on.

    What exactly is your problem?

    You remind me of those that say that anti-semitism doesn't exist because they haven't experienced it, and then avert their eyes when it's right in front of them....

  124. Daniel: My sense is that you're advocating Berel give a divorce. Yet I don't see how doing that will "resolve the matter" for Berel or in any way "lift an enormous burden off [his] shoulders." Giving a divorce wouldn't solve Berel's issues.

  125. the answer is obviously yes. drop your family, I assure you the status quo is worse for you and your family.

  126. um...I'm related to a Hershey Goldberg. does that count?

  127. came across this rabbonim in Brooklyn wrote a letter against a therapist breaking apart marriages

  128. Im not making any such specific suggestions, but I would think there comes a point where someone needs to make the best worst choice so that they can have a productive life.

    It sounds like a number of Berel's kids are adults. They are alienated. They've bought the entire story hook, line, and sinker. So now what? Shall we force them to reconcile? Force them into therapy they don't want? At one point does Berel need to stop living as the victim and move on?

  129. Berel isn't living as a victim. He already has made the best choice from a bad menu. He already is making the best of a bad situation.

  130. Daniel - I AM taking a חייך קודמים approach - but not of the hedonistic type....

    I see the blog author just posted about people joining Islam in their quest for meaning, etc. I've been fortunate to be "forced" by Hashem into finding other types of happiness, besides the hedonistic type. But I'll stick with Judaism, LOL.

    There are certain things in my current situation that where "handed to me on a plate" - therapists and family members who I believe over-generalize, shoddy advice of all types, etc.

    I don't have the ability of rebuilding any meaningful relationship with my alienated children, regardless of whether I want to divorce or go back and live together - since their justification for all of they've done to me in the past IS BASED on my assumption of guilt.

    In most cases, I don't think it's being done consciously on their part, (since bias is often unconsciously), but I'm pretty sure that's a big part of why they constantly switched "authorities" (whether Rabbonim and / or therapists) as soon as those they originally relied on felt that something was wrong with their narrative and INSISTED on absolutely no "discovery of the facts". I'm convinced that's behind my b-i-l's doing so - we've had prior disagreements, and their best way of "saving face" is most definitely to paint me as crazy...

    Of course, they don't it's so - they'll convince themselves that it isn't necessary .. because that's what (their chosen, overgeneralizing) experts say...

    Bottom line is - there are ways of not being wrapped up in oneself, and being able to function well, even when all those around you think that you must be very miserable and "covering up".

    No daniel - I'm not "living as a victim", because everything that Hashem does is a positive learning experience, ESPECIALLY traumatic situations like what I've been dealt.

    BTW, are you going to email? The blog owner has my email address.

    While the details of each person's "story" are unique,

  131. Hi Moe - I just saw your post, after finishing mine.

    Are you a mind reader?

    have you / are you going through the same / similar?

    Interested in a grass - roots movement?

  132. Please see my reply to Daniel.

  133. Assure me ... based on???

  134. I cringe when people make these things out to be a "battle of the sexes" type of thing. Witness the Beth Alexander story posted on this blog - it's just a modern variation of power hungry opportunists finding the means to get their way. Murder isn't (yet!) acceptable in our communities, so character assassination by "expert" opinion is the next best thing....

    I think that things CAN change, though I have no idea if I'll be fortunate to either be part of such change or benefit from it...

  135. Focusing in this issue of rushing to divorce by BOTH men and women in the frum world, it is probably time to come up with some new ideas to put a break on the easiness with which all parties seem to think they can "get away with murder" and destroy their marriages, ruin families, cripple children emotionally, inflict untold pain and suffering on spouses, create scandals and Chillul Hashem all over the place, and much more...

    So what can be done? Maybe, since almost all the battles devolve into monetary questions and disputes, with greed and gain being huge motivators, maybe it is time to hurt them where it hurts most, in their pockets!

    Here is a question for Chachomim and Poskim to consider: Maybe there would be a value/To'eles if a new Takana was put into place that ANYONE considering divorce would face a huge monetary K'nas/fine/penalty to be paid to the other spouse. If say, it was made mandatory that any woman or man initiating or demanding a divorce would have to pay their spouse a fine of one million dollars get a get or give a get (if it is "mutual" they must also pay to the community they belong to), and for wealthy people it would be ten million dollars, or else there can be no demanding or giving or getting a get, then just maybe that would make EVERYONE think twice, since nowadays no one fears rabbis or Halacha enough but everyone fears losing money or having to pay a huge sum to get a get or give a get?! How about every Bais Din adopts such a policy? Is it possible?

    In the olden days, in the times of the Gemora and Tanach, the Torah stipulates and Bais Din would require an oath/Sh'vua from a claimant with the knowledge that no one would want to take a false oath or take Hashem's name in vain. That would almost certainly not work in today's flippant environment. Sadly, people "worship" the "almighty buck" and that is why one needs to understand that making people realize that they would have to pay a VERY high price to get a get or give a get may be needed as the "price" to go ahead with getting or giving a get, and that would put the breaks and make the warring couples reconsider and work for peace between themselves, to "make love not war"!

    Similar to when a gentile wishes to convert, Bais Din puts obstacles in their way and makes them wait and wait (at least they should do that) and there is no rush to give a get or conversions. Quickie conversions and quickie divorces, like quickie engagements and marriages are part of an "instant gratification" mentality that is a curse!

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