Sunday, March 5, 2017

Divorces and Broken Families: What Can Be Done?

Some years ago I spoke to a man who was separated from his wife for ten years and refused to give her a GET. He was expelled from the local shulls but was not fazed. I suggested that we learn a bit in the Shulchan Aruch, namely, the beginning of laws of marriage, where the subject of marriage and having children is discussed. The man heard some of it and jumped up saying, “I need a wife.” He then began to talk about how he would get his wife back.

I saw from this that a Jew who believes in the Torah who cannot be moved by thunder of rabbis at the pulpit, or anything of the kind, can suddenly be transformed by the holy words of the Code of Laws, with teachings going back to the earliest biblical teaching. It is there that we find the teachings about marriage and children, and it is also there that we find how to sustain marriage and succeed with children.

I add to this my program of Shalom Bayis Beth Din, which is a program of education, at any age, to prepare people for marriage and raising children. I spoke to my dear friend a major therapist Dr. Dovid Montrose (pronounced Montray) in Chicago, and suggested that we begin classes at the age of three. He disagreed. Such a program, said he, must begin at the very time of conception, exactly when the parents begin bringing a child into the world! In more practical terms, we can stretch this a bit, of course, but education is key. And the key to education is to tell people what it says in the Torah, straight from the great rabbis who learned the Torah of Moses and the great prophets, and pass it on to us, especially in the Shulchan Aruch where are laws are.

I have ten children and they have various very senior positions, especially like my son Rabbi Shmuel Zalman in Beis Shemesh, who is a principle of many schools, which is impossible unless you have his training where he can teach the best teachers how to teach properly and not make mistakes that many people do make. Another son, Ephraim Hershel, is an assistant principal in a large school in Lakewood, NJ. My daughters are sought after teachers and senior teachers and one of them has to stand up to major rabbis who insist she became a principal in a school, but she has to take care of the children.

Then there is another issue I deal with, the problem of money. I have an entire program that explains how many of the greatest Talmudists were very wealthy. How can that be? How can somebody who spends his time learning Talmud become very wealthy? And yet, Rovo demanded from his students that they master wealth in money and wealth in Torah! (See Huriuse 10b) I have a solution, one based entirely on the teachings of the Torah.

If we can raise children to have confidence in their financial future, instead of raising children to watch television, maybe we can get somewhere.