Daily Archives: December 7, 2009

Help Me Out Here

What is the way to define the differences between a Chareidi Jew and a Chassidic Jew? (I am not talking mode of dress) Are there any differences? Are Chassidim just Chareidim who have a rabbi that they run to for every little thing? How would you define Misnagid vs Chassid to the uninitiated? I get a little confused sometimes with these terms, to be honest.

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Driving is not tznius?

I spend a lot of time in Monsey. In the area where we live we have a large religious mix of people – but we are not technically in Monsey. To get to many places in the area we have to drive thru what I like to call Monsey Ir HaKodesh (the holy city of Monsey) where there is a high demographic of Chassidic Jews. Driving down Route 306 just before Blauvelt you generally see a couple of Chassidim trying to bum rides into town. As soon as they see a woman driving they retract their hands. Which is fine, because I wouldn’t want to give a ride to someone who wouldn’t want to ride with me as I am a woman and I am driving. Oh the shame!!

Why is it that in many Chassidic circles their women do not drive? I recently posed this question to a few friends. I received answers ranging from “because they might drive away” to “because men are in control and they like to know where their women are at all times”. There were answers about women in these circles not needing independence or even wanting it. That this is the way it is. Chassidic women are not supposed to be “yatzanos” – those who go out, and having the ability to drive a car might tempt them to stray from the home. Driving a car is using a Kli Gever – a man’s object (I thought that only applied to guns?). Apparently also in the olden days only men drove buggies and rode horses, so that translates to driving in this day and age. In the olden days we didn’t have telephones, so I guess all Chassidim don’t have cell phones??!! Some modern inventions are ok, and some aren’t?

I know that it would be very difficult for me if I didn’t drive. Apart from the long  way trek every other weekend. Grocery shopping for a large family isn’t easy, and delivery isn’t an option everywhere. Ferrying the kids to and from school and after school events, or to buy a new pair of sneakers – not having the ability to hop behind the wheel and do this would make it all so much more complicated. Relying on my husband to drive me everywhere – so not for me. Yes, I know there are cab companies – but it adds up after a while.

I feel free behind the wheel, in control of my life to a certain point…perhaps that is the point. Maybe they just don’t want their women to feel free? Why do the women accept this? Why do they not try to change things? A friend who has a Chassidic background told me her mom was the only class mom who drove, something against the way they practice the religion. However, when they needed drivers for class trips, who did they call? Es passt nisht (it isn’t appropriate), until you need a lady driver…..

So glad to be Modern Orthodox…

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Let it go!!

When one has been divorced, it seems others seek you out to tell you their story. One thing I have learned – a lot of divorced people cannot let go. It doesn’t matter how long it has been or who was at fault, many cannot move on and live their lives in peace.

As frequent readers will know, I do not discuss details of my divorce or my ex husband on my blog. We have children together – I must be fair to them. Obviously things were not great in our house – we DID get divorced. But we have both moved on. We are both remarried and living our lives without resentment and bitterness toward the other. We have been able to put our children’s needs first and foremost – and we both did this from day one. We have made barmitzvahs together for our two oldest sons, and will do so for the two youngest. The kids are always the first priority. I will not pretend it is easy. But there are times when you have to behave like a grown up and just suck it up. I respect my sons’ relationship with their father. That relationship is a separate entity than our marriage and subsequent divorce. Yes, it was affected by it, but he did not divorce the kids. They are still his children and I encourage them to respect that bond.

The more stories I hear, the more messed up I think the world is. Ex-spouses calling the police to arrest their ex-partner based on some trumped up allegations, and when those are proven false, getting them arrested on some other bogus charge, just to make their life difficult. Such a waste of police time and money, and such unnecessary vindictiveness. The marriage is over – deal with it in a healthy way. Laws are different in every state and province, and some states have to arrest before investigating, apparently.

Using the kids to get back at the other parent, telling them the other parent is bad, useless and every negative adjective in the dictionary. The kids did not ask for you to get divorced, why drag them into your evil machinations? Why brainwash them so bad that they cannot even enjoy time spent with the other parent, because they are so afraid that having fun is disloyal to the parent they spend the most time with. These kids will grow up one day and hopefully realize the evilness of the words that were pounded into their soul. They will learn that there are two sides to every story and the truth falls somewhere in the middle. But by then these kids’ mental health will have been compromised, having been a ping pong ball in the middle of their two parents.

And what about those divorce(e)s whose goal in life is to destroy the former spouse? To do everything within their power to ruin relationships, to spread lies, or even physical harm?  There are ex spouses who are consumed with their former partner, to such a level that it takes over their life. They do not want to live with them anymore, but no one else should have them in their life. Obsessive behaviour. Their ex spouse is all they can talk about all the time. Their life exists just to plan another day of evilness and wretchedness.

Why are these people so stuck in their bitterness? I know we all need time to grieve for a broken marriage. I grieved. I cried, oh boy did I cry and howl and feel that my soul was ripped apart – but I made a concerted effort to move past it for the sake of my kids, and for the sake of my own sanity. Maybe that’s just me – practical. Maybe some people feel they need years and years to get over it, and part of their coping mechanism is to make their ex spouse’s life a living hell?

The more stories I hear, the more it sickens me. I want to shake some of these people. I know they are hurting. I recognize the pain and anguish within their anger. I do. But it is so unhealthy to hold onto it and harbour it for years on end.  Don’t these people want a life of their own where they can actually have a chance for happiness? Do they not want to model good behaviour for their kids, so the kids don’t grow up all messed up in the head? There should be mandatory psychotherapy with every divorce that comes before the courts.

Let it go, people! Life is too darn short.

Disclaimer – this is not directed to anyone specific or about any specific divorce case. It is an accumulation of frustration from the entire system after hearing many stories. Please, no emails flaming me for talking about YOUR divorce. Thank you.

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What’s with kids?

Do they not know that when their tummy hurts them like that it means they will probably vomit in 4.9 seconds? And that they should get themselves in front of the porcelain bowl stat? I suppose I should be grateful that he at least made it to close to the bathroom. And that he apologized for the mess on the floor and the lower legs of my fave pjs. Poor kid. Poor Ima. It was a long day and an even longer night. But BH the patient is sleeping peacefully and the bathroom is sparkling clean….

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