Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marital Compromise? Give Me a Break!

There is a website that I like. The owner of the website is a woman who came within a hair's breadth of divorcing her husband. She then made a series of decisions that saved and strengthened their marriage. She writes on various marital issues. The website is set so that those of us who wish to comment may do so.

One of her recent posts was entitled "20 Reasons that Monogamy Rocks." It was a good post. In some of the comments though, there were apparently people who thought otherwise. Monogamy was not for everyone.

Needless to say, I commented. I thought I wrote some respectful, but nonetheless blistering responses to those who support the idea of open marriage.

Some of those who thought it is acceptable stated that as long as the couple had it within their basic ground rules, there should be no problem.

I caustically disagree.

For the record, adultery is marital abuse. Adultery says the following things:
1. My other partner is better in bed.
2. What you give only to me I can get anywhere.
3. You do not "put out" enough.
4. You bore me.

Those statements are abusive.

Let us look at another type of abuse. We witness one partner screaming at another with threats, nasty names, and various insults. The offending partner leaves. We ask the offended partner about it. The offended partner says "it is okay. I gave permission."

No. No no no no no. A thousand times no.

The permission slip does not make such abuse acceptable. If the permission slip does not make abuse acceptable in the case of such a verbal onslaught, I fail to see how it makes the abuse of tawdry affairs acceptable.

In this case, having the trappings of marital compromise is nothing more than compromising one's marriage.

My friends, it is late. To all of you married folks, if you are going to have a tawdry affair, have one with your spouse. It is not so difficult. Do it tonight. It is one you can start right now.

Go to sleep...or not...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Longing for the Days of DDT?

Hi all...

Until I was 10, I lived on the North Shore of Eastern Long Island. We were there until April, 1980. The North Shore was hilly and forested. In my youth, I never recall once seeing a bird of prey.

We took the kids camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains last week. Birds were everywhere. We saw hawks and vultures. We even got to see a barred owl, which we named 'Shakespeare.'

In the United States, the bird population suffered greatly from DDT. I have clear memories of many a failed attempt to get a nesting pair of bald eagles to lay and hatch a healthy egg. Thankfully, their numbers are back up. They are not at all endangered. They were removed from the endangered species list in 2007. It is wonderful to know that we can bring a proud animal back from the brink of extinction.

On the other hand, the bug population of the world has also rebounded quite robustly. This is not as good. You are all also aware that the bat population in the US is dying off in droves right now due to a fungal virus that scientists cannot control. The gnats were simply awful.

This presents a quandary. I understand that "they" are starting to experiment with DDT again in limited amounts. I do hope that some balance can be found, either with DDT or with something else. Birds are wonderful. Gnats...not so much.

Good night folks.


How the Mighty Hath Fallen...

I have any number of books that I have considered writing. Amongst them would be a thesis on the structure and writing of a Sefer Torah or a thesis on the polemic of the person/people who divided the parshiyot and the aliyot. Another one on my mind for a couple of years now is entitled "Eikh Naflu Giburim." We know this phrase. It is David's lament upon hearing of the death of Saul and of Jonathan. It is usually translated the way I have it in the title.

One of the reasons I have not written this book is that I do not know why I want to write it. Let me tell you about a few 'colleagues.' One is in jail for being a pedophile. Another is in jail for life after contracting a hit on his wife. Still another died in jail. He had broken the terms of his parole. This one ended up in jail for pilfering $85,000 from his discretionary fund. He used the money to move his mistress from Memphis to the Mississippi coast, and then to move a family facing difficult times up to New Jersey so that the family (his mistress) could have a fresh start after Katrina. He also purchased a $5000 rock for her finger. Yet another was videotaped with a prostitute.

The three mentioned received their ordinations from schools in every denomination. This type of behaviour is not restricted to one movement. As well, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The concept of the book is intriguing. The reasons to write it are elusive. If it just turns out to be another expose of tawdry behaviour, to write such a book is unjustifiable. I often wonder though what keeps most of us from making such egregious decisions with our lives. I would like to figure that one out.

All of that being said, the crimes listed above are more than just crimes in the eyes of the law. They are a betrayal to the people these 'rabbis' are supposed to serve. It is not just short-term. "Okay..we fired the Rabbi, burned his files, and moved his furniture out of the house. No one with that Hebrew name will ever be allowed to receive an aliyah again." That does not make it go away. It requires a new Rabbi with a gentle demeanour and a kind heart. It will take time for the congregation to learn to trust that person. Building trust is difficult enough. Rebuilding it is nearly impossible.

The translation of our verse can also be rendered "how did the mighty fall?" It is a question with which I have wrestled for years. The answer is elusive. The inability to find an answer is frightening.