Profile Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

Showing posts with label even in the Torah community?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label even in the Torah community?. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why are there so many Horrible Broken Marriages and Divorces? Part One

Why are there so many horrible broken marriages and divorces? First of all, just what is so horrible about divorce? For the husband, divorce is a disaster because he loses his wife, he loses access to his children other than visits, he probably loses his home, he must give his ex-wife a fortune in support, and often he ends up losing his income or job, either directly or indirectly because of the divorce or broken marriage. If the divorce goes through a Beth Din he pays a lot of money for the Beth Din, for toanim, and if the case goes to court he spends a fortune on legal fees, and may be in fear of prison and the judge who can easily ruin his life with a ruling about the children or payments, even jail.

For the wife a divorce is a disaster because children always need a father on the premises, especially children troubled by a divorce and by an absent father. And if the mother plays the game of teaching the children to turn against the father, the children may eventually go back to him, and be upset with the mother for denying them a father for so long. The mother is also all alone in dealing with the family, and is not always able to deal with rough children, especially boys who need a firm hand.

For husband and wife the stigma of being divorced is painful. And then comes the question of remarriage, and the pain of who rejects and who accepts the divorced person is a sad spectacle. Often the mother is driven to think: If I would have stayed with the first one, with all of his faults, it would be better than what I am faced with now. HaGaon Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky zt"l  once told a Gittin Rov. "Tell the lady who wants a divorce to think if she would take her husband as a zivuge shayni." That is a sobering thought. But sometimes, it occurs too late. And of course,  a single mother with children is limited in her income, and it is unlikely to improve. She has to marry off her children, and maybe herself, all alone.

So why are people breaking marriages and seeking divorces? When we talk about people who are Torah Jews, steeped in musar and yiras shomayim, the number of broken families is incredible. What is going on?

There are several factors. One is that marriage in general has gone out of style in America and surely elsewhere. No longer are the majority of Americans in functioning marriages. Some are technically married but only because they have no intention of remarrying, so they remain married with no actual marriage. Others never married in the first place, but go along as if marriage is not important. And everyone realizes that even somebody who wants to be married must run the gauntlet which often ends in broken marriages and divorce. Some feel it is better not to marry. Today, even some children from Torah families are refusing to think about shidduchim. There is a huge element of single people of all ages. Getting married today is scary.

Another factor in the huge divorce rate is that there are people of all types, even in the Torah community, who have taken upon themselves the obligation to warn people about staying in a bad marriage. Now there are people who actively encourage people to face the fact that their marriage is bad, and to consider a divorce. A lady who put her husband in jail told me that she does not want a divorce. But the ladies she respected told her to do it. Sometimes parents are so upset about something the other spouse did that they encourage a broken marriage. This is a major problem.

In this, Part One of our discussion of why there are broken marriages, we have described the basic scenery of marriage today, in the Torah world. It is in danger. And we see that the highest level of Torah families are engulfed in hideous battles, even going to secular court, even publishing in secular newspapers attacking the other side. I never heard of such things. But one thing I know, tomorrow will be much worse. Therefore, we have to think deeply into this. What is going on? Why is the holiest of all institutions, the home, being destroyed? (The Zohar says that BERAISHIS the first word in the Torah, spells BAYIS ROSH.) We have discussed here in Unit One the basic scenery of despair. But now let us turn to Unit Two. We want to know why all of the Torah being learned, all of the good education a couple receives, does not enable them to survive the vicissitudes of marriage today. We turn now to Part Two.