Find the husband
Miriam discovered that her husband was carrying on an affair with another woman and asked to divorce him. The husband is willing to give her a get – but only if she withdraws the other lawsuits she filed against him concerning related matters, and in the meantime – go look for him abroad. The wife’s life has come to a standstill
"Do you locate missing husbands?" Miriam (not her real name) asked me this week over the phone. "No," I answered truthfully. “But tell me your story and maybe I’ll be able to help you some other way, "I told her.
Miriam is a Haredi woman, married for 20 years. She and her husband have five children. Several years ago Miriam discovered that her husband was carrying on a hot affair with a woman from an adjacent neighborhood.
While the husband told his wife that he was spending his time in the synagogue – he was in fact spending time with the other woman. After Miriam confronted her husband, she decided to put an end to the disgrace and get divorced.
Miriam filed a complaint with the civil court regarding all of the matters ancillary to the divorce and the husband rushed to the rabbinic court. In the meantime, the husband did what many men do who want to give the get only according to their conditions – he left the country. With the other woman, of course.
The other woman had not been religious, but decided to return to the fold in order to commit adultery with the haredi husband! The other woman was even summoned to a rabbinic court and appeared and testified before rabbinic judges that they had received permission for their affair from a rabbi! (I’m a bit mystified – why did the rabbinic judges hold a hearing on the question of whether or not the two had received permission to live in sin?)
According to the other woman’s testimony – the only demand of the rabbi who gave permission was that she observe the laws of family purity – and she does that.
Miriam asked to meet the rabbi who gave permission for the husband to live with the other woman while he was still married to Miriam. However, he died suddenly, and it was not possible to get an answer as to whether or not the rabbi had actually permitted them to sin.
In the meantime, the other woman became pregnant from Miriam’s husband and gave birth to a son. She’s now pregnant again.
Demand – close all lawsuits in Civil Court
"What does he want from you? He himself doesn’t want to go on living with you?" I asked Miriam. "He is demanding that I close all of the civil court files," she said, "and I won’t ever agree to that." "Most of them finally come back to Israel," I tried to encourage Miriam. "At some stage they get homesick or something happens that makes them come back for a visit, and then they’re caught," I told her.
"Not at all," Miriam explained. Two months after he ran off to the States, our son had a bar mitzvah. That didn’t convince the husband to come back. The husband wanted to say mazal tov by phone and asked us to put it on a microphone for all the guests to hear. But I wouldn’t embarrass the boy that way.
I wanted to say to Miriam "wait until there is a death in the family," but I decided that it wasn’t nice to speak that way. In the meantime, Miriam offered the following information: "His father died in the meantime and he also didn’t bother to come to his funeral or shiva."
Since she’s haredi, Miriam doesn’t surf the internet. But yes, she very much wants her story to be told on Ynet Jewish Scene and to get publicity. Whoever thinks that I invent the stories I tell here is invited to come to my office to see the fat files containing the background information behind each of my columns. Every story has a name, phone number and documents.
I wonder how many more cases there will be before the public figures out that the ease with which a man imprisons a woman in a dead marriage is unbearable.
How many more stories will I have to post on this site before we internalize the absurdity that a man can go on to start a family and have children, unlike a woman whose family life is meant to stop with the disappearance of her husband. How many more stories will I have to tell until we understand that it could happen to every woman? When will the public do something to save the daughters of Israel?
Rivka Lubitch is a rabbinic pleader who works at the Center for Women’s Justice , tel. 02-5664390.