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Oct 28, 2013

Religious politics leading couples to divorce

An expression I heard recently is that politics is like mud. Anybody who jumps in, no matter who they are and no matter how great they are, cannot avoid getting dirty.

When the rabbis are too intimately involved in politics, they too get dirty. In our current political system, rabbis should not be so involved, beyond perhaps having an opinion like any other person. The current fights we are witnessing are the greatest proof of how religion and politics do not mix.  Are the fights really lshem shamayim or are they about politics and control? Some rabbonim are now considering issuing an edict by which anybody who voted for the newly established competing haredi party headed by a different rav and gadol should be thrown out of kollel.

Worse than that is how personally the followers get involved. Some people might have a personal stake involved - a job they might have been promised, a connection they need, power and/or protexia they were counting on... But most people have no personal stake in who wins or loses. I prefer one over the other, for whatever reason, but the final result isn't going to make or break my life or seriously later it in any way.

It is sad to read a report of a couple headed for divorce just because of this political argument. I have no problem with the fact that my wife and I have voted differently from each other in probably every election we have lived together through. It does not bother me at all, and I do not believe any two people, even husband and wife, must, or even can, agree on everything and on every little detail of everything, especially politics. But to take it so personally that it should lead to personal argument and even to divorce?

According to Walla, and Kooker, a psychotherapist is dealing with a couple that is headed for divorce just because one follows the Bnei Braq gedolim and voted for the classic UTJ party in the recent elections, while the other spouse follows the Yerushalayim gadol and voted for the new, competing, haredi party, Bnei Torah, founded by that gadol's followers, in the recent elections.

The psychotherapist is aware that they must have other problems, because how can this be a reason by which a couple would fight and get divorced over... even if this is just the straw that broke the camels back and was the final blow in that marriage,  people are getting too personally involved in fights that aren't theirs...

As I quoted yesterday from Moshe Grylak - On ben Peles was saved by his wife who was smart enough to tell him that whether Moshe wins or Korach wins he will still be the same shlub, living the same quiet life, and it will make no real difference to him, so why take sides in a fight?

Why get so personally involved, when it will make no difference either way. Let them fight it out between themselves. Believe one is right and the other is wrong, if you must, but don't let it ruin your personal life.

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  1. Why would someone want to be married to someone who is chayav skila?

    And, from the other's perspective, why would someone want to be married to someone who seeks to destroy the yeshivos?

    The reason you and your wife can vote differently is because neither of you believes the above.

    1. And the same goes for Mary Matalin and James Carville. If you are relatively reasonable, you can get along - even when you passionately believe in competing candidates.

  2. Sounds like the real problem here is Husband and Wife both believe in "Da'as Torah", but can't agree who the Gedolim who hold the key to Da'as Tora are.

    This is much bigger than just who to vote for, it would affect every action they take, including education issues for their kids, healthcare issues, where they should live, pray and learn, even small issues (should I give blood this afternoon, or attend a shiur).

    If you have a world view that you cannot make any decisions for yourself, and you and your spouse disagree over who should make those decisions for you, can't see how a marriage could work.

    1. The education and other child-raising issues don't go away if the couple divorce, do they?

    2. they probably get worse..

    3. You're probably right, but it is totally absurd to think that only ONE gadol has "the" Daas Torah.

  3. As you imply, Rafi, a democratic system inevitably involves lashon hara, motzi shem ra, and numerous other issurim. (As Winston Churchill reportedly said, Democracy is the worst political system, except for all the others.) Given this reality, I expect that in the future I will only vote for secular candidates. For if a secular candidate is motzi shem ra etc., that's a very serious aveira. If a religious candidate is motzi shem ra etc., that's a very serious aveira and a chillul Hashem. I wish it were not so, but candidates who refrain from violating these aveirot are quite rare, and do not seem to be found in the religious world any less frequently than elsewhere. Avoid chilul Hashem; don't vote for a religious party.


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