Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Rav Avigdor Miller on the Divorce Epidemic

class #646, Mind of Control, 1:23:45

When the great dread day [death] comes, when finally Hashem says you are free, you are absolved, does the neshama feel relief, does the neshama celebrate that it's all over? Oh no. It's the yom hamara, the great and bitter day. Because our happiness in life is the duty of being in control. Ta'avah ni'hiya, when a desire is broken, is repressed, te'erav le-nefesh, [Mishlei 13:10] how sweet it is for the soul.

Disappointments when you accept that in good will, that's a great success for you. Success doesn't mean anything. Anybody can rejoice with success. When a person who keeps his mind calm even in disappointment, that's the person who is gaining shelmaius. And that's why HaKodesh Baruch Hu created us.

Life is full of disappointments. It's full of joys. If there are joys and successes we have to celebrate by thanking Hashem. Certainly we should [also] be grateful and express our gratitude for all the difficulties of life.

Here's a woman who had seven children with her husband. Then she put her eyes on a strange man. And she fell in love with a strange man. This mishugenah woman decides that she's unhappy with her husband. Now later she gets over this infatuation with this strange man. He goes away and moves out of the neighborhood. Now she's disillusioned with her husband. A woman with seven children. She lived like a Jewish woman until now.

But she has deep down in her heart gentile attitudes, attitudes maybe there's such a thing as romance yet in life. That's a gentile attitude. And she feels unhappy. And the husband is a hum drum husband, an ordinary decent Jewish husband. Maybe a handsome man too. But still you're accustomed to him already. He's too accustomed to be romantic anymore. And so she starts becoming dissatisfied. You know what she's doing? She's ruining her neshama.

Of course she's not going to commit adultery. She's going to force him to give her a get. She's going to break away from him and she'll look for somebody else to marry. She'll be disappointed. No question. The second time will be worse than the first time. No question.

But the breaking away, that's a corruption of the soul. Your perfection is to take what Hashem gave you (.... ) Cling to Hashem all the days of your life. V'dovak b'ishto. Control yourself. Squelch the imaginary romances that you think are waiting for you in life. It's all false. Make up your mind that what you have is what's good for you and people who live that way into their old age. No romance. Just live dutifully, live loyally, loyal to Hashem Who gave this to you. And don't be a nirgon, don't complain.

How long is life after all? The great day will come when you will finally be relieved then you'll say, ah now I look back and see how fortunate I was, I was loyal to my husband all these years. I didn't complain. I bore my burden dutifully as a bas Yisroel what HaKodesh Baruch Hu wanted me to do.

[1:27:36] Unfortunately today there's a rash of divorces and in most cases it's Jewish women.  Even the frum Jewish women are demanding divorces from their husbands, all over, everywhere. It's an epidemic and a tragedy of tragedies. They are ruining their lives, but most of all they are ruining their neshamas.

People are not willing to make peace with their circumstances. Say I'm going to live the best I can with the circumstances that Hashem gave me. These are the people who are going to succeed and they are achieving what's called shlaimus of parishas haratzon. They are conquering their passions. They are ruling with their minds over their emotions. And that is the greatest perfection.

See if you can do it with yiras shemayim, with fear of Hashem, very good. Even if not, any which way you succeed in living dutifully and accepting what Hashem gave you, you are successful and you live your life with a grand purpose.


  1. So... men have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever? They just have the right to treat their wives as ---- and that's it. She must accept it.

    Wow! This article is so wrong.

    Replace the word 'romance' for 'attention' and you'll find the real problem here.

    Women are not seeking irresponsible romances, they're seeking a confirmation of their own self-value that could be helped if their husbands appreciated them with words and small actions. Accepting to be NEGLECTED and keeping silent about it is just a sick concept.

    I have a book, 'Our Family, Our Strength' and 2 stories there could be way more helpful in reinforcing Jewish marriages than the absurds I read above. The first is about this rabbi who took his wife to the doctor and said "her feet hurt US"... the second is about this other rabbi who every single morning prepared tea to his wife to the amazement of his guest. The guest thought she was sick, but no... the rabbi just enjoyed prepare the tea and take it to his wife every morning.

    When was the last time "divorced men" prepared tea (or did any small gesture of appreciation) for their wives? I'm not talking about jewelry, I'm talking about gestures.

    When was the last time they felt their wives pain as if they were their own?

    That's my point. It's not romance that is lacking, it's attention. Just normal attention.

    A guy can't marry a girl who was always treated as a precious pearl by her parents and community, neglect her sense of self, crush her personality and expect that it will work.

    In general, men and women who want to "jump out" their marriages are not looking to love someone else, they're just thinking in confirming their own self value. Nobody that I ever spoke with about these matters ever said "Ah... I would like to divorce my husband to make someone else happy"... nope... what most people tell me is "I want to divorce to FEEL BETTER, to find happiness"... that's it.

    People want to feel better and there are 2 ways to deal with it: accept the neglect, as the article above indicates... which will bring damage to the mind and behavior (oh yes... people always take their frustration somewhere: self destructing actions, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, insomnia that leads to dementia later in life etc, etc, etc) or start to advice the men to appreciate their wives with gestures... actions... and words. I say 'men' because by reading the article, they're described as the 'poor little things'.

    If husbands (and wives) appreciate one another enough, the divorce rate will not disappear, but it will drop considerably.

  2. I would think the first woman's husband is partially to blame by not creating romance in the marriage and creating a lacuna in her life. If you don't like the word romance, call it what the Chazon Ish speaks about - a wife's feeling that she is special to her husband. Rav Miller's portrayal of marriage is absolutely bleak.

  3. I also do not buy Rav Miller's assertion that romance is an illusion. On the contrary, I consider it an important facet of what makes us human. The difference between man and animal is man disposition to imbue physical necessities with intellectual richness. The instinct to eat edible food is transformed into a desire for well cooked and tastefully presented meals, admiration for a pack leader becomes passionate politics, instinctive song and dance become symphonies and ballets, and reproduction is imbued with romance. These things make us human beings.

  4. By clinging to spirituality a person can rise above human norms, but woe betide the person who rejects human norms before reaching such levels.

  5. Too many of us have replaced the Torah's idea of marriage with the American idea of marriage. This is what Rav Miller zt'l correctly identified and speaks of.

  6. Wow, do I like what Rabbi Miller writes! “And she feels unhappy. And the husband is a hum drum husband, an ordinary decent Jewish husband. Maybe a handsome man too. But still you're accustomed to him already. He's too accustomed to be romantic anymore. And so she starts becoming dissatisfied. You know what she's doing? She's ruining her neshama.”

    What’s an ordinary decent Jewish husband to do with an unhappy wife?? I quote Ester 10:3 “For Mordecai the Jew ranked next to King Ahasuerus and was highly regarded by the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brethren; he sought the good of his people and interceded for the welfare of all his kindred.”

    The ordinary decent Jewish husband must do for his wife, even if she’s unhappy, as Modercai did for the Jewish people,: always seek her good and always intercede for her welfare.

  7. Shir Hashirim was based on the American love ideal.

  8. Good Purim satire.

  9. Romance has no intellectual richness. It's just getting drunk on fantasies. R' Miller certainly advocates a life of intellectual richness, but that has more to seeing Hashem's hand in life than a candlelit dinner that costs you $200.

  10. He is not portraying the ideal marriage. He's not excusing the husband. He's saying if you have a hum drum spouse, you can still find happiness in the joys of a basic frum existence and attachment to Hashem. He's saying divorce doesn't improve anything. Rather it ruins even the basic frum existence and attachment to Hashem, which is the greatest joy.

  11. Wow. What a disgusting post.
    Perhaps, instead of blaming women, you should blame the fact that religious men are being brought up thinking that women are sex objects that must be hidden from sight. That they are not people you can talk to or socialise with. You can't even look at pictures of women to appreciate their beauty. They are objects of lust that must be kept far away. - That is until you need them to go bring money into the house; but then they should not earn too much because that might make the man feel inferior.

    As long as boys are indoctrinated that women are different and evil, they will never know how to relate to them and divorces will just go up.

    Blaming it solely on the women themselves is just blind and stupid.

    And to say that a divorce ruins their neshama? Says who? How can you make such a claim?
    Live a life loyal to Hashem? Since when does loyalty include unhappiness? Where in the Torah does it say to be unhappy? In fact it says the opposite! Serve Hashem with joy! If you are in a unhappy marriage how can you do that - in fact, you should get a divorce!

    Don't complain? Is this guy for real? This rabbi's attitude towards women is exactly why there are so many divorces. He and the rabbis like him are the cause. Not the women. Disgusting.


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