What will these crazed men do next?
Read it all, in the extended post below:
Rabbis Ban Marriage: Cite Promiscuity as Reason By David GertlerPublished with permission.
A group of 178 of Ultra Orthodox rabbis came together to sign a ban on marriages, Tuesday. Rabbi Avrohom Katz of Brooklyn, noted that he had been invited to sign a ban on a multitude of topics but this was the least contested ban meeting he had ever been to. “When we tried to ban veal, twelve rabbis walked out immediately in opposition to the ban. One even came back in five minutes later so he could walk out twice.” The issue of veal is an issue which most rabbis are opposed to banning; citing the Talmud (Taanit 11a) which claims the Nazir is punished for denying himself wine, which is permissible. The rabbis opposing the veal ban claim the ban was suggested by liberal rabbis and animal rights activists. Rabbi Shaar of Brooklyn, who did not sign to ban veal, claimed that even if the veal was not kosher, he would eat it to make a stance against those who wish to make animal slaughter illegal. Others, like Rabbi Pesach Gardner of Brooklyn, signed the ban, claiming “better safe than sorry.” Rabbi Gardner has signed an estimated 453 bans, including one on a book that he wrote.
Tuesday’s ban on marriage was signed unanimously. Each signatory was adamant that marriage was destroying the fabric of society. Rabbi Gedalia Markowitz of Brooklyn got emotional declaring, “there is no family that has not been touched by this issue.” Rabbi Shmuel Steinberg of Brooklyn was pushing for a unilateral stance against marriage for years. “We tried banning weddings in pieces.” Steinberg explained: “we banned fancy weddings, large weddings, music at weddings, dancing at weddings, drinking at weddings […] and throughout all those bans we were trying to diminish the problem but nobody listened to us. We finally drew a line that everyone can see: No weddings. Period.”
Asked if he thought the ban would hold, Brooklyn resident Chaim Edelman said he only hoped the ban would have been in place years ago. “I am currently married,” Edelman said, “I need to pray that the rabbis do not ban divorce.” Others seemed less favorable of the ban, but accepting. Shalom Bloom of Brooklyn was emphatic: “The word of the rabbis must be adhered completely, even if you don’t comprehend the Halacha the Jewish religion does not allow insubordination.” Asked where he learned the words “adhered” and “insubordination” Mr. Bloom refused comment and asked that we change “adhered” to “listened” and “insubordination” to “not listening and stuff.”
Rabbi Tzvi Finkel stated that the ban was pushed forth now because “the righteous in the community have come together on this issue after personal events with their own children.” One of those “righteous,” who asked to go under the pseudonym “Jack” and the pseudo-location “Queens,” admitted: “Now that my children want to get married, I see the evil intent behind it and also the great cost. I wish I never had children myself, and would personally vote in favor of post-birth abortion but don’t quote me on that.” Others saw the ban as a long-awaited tool to prevent misdeeds. “You raise your children with certain values,” Shimin Sheinfeld of Brooklyn said, “but once they think about getting married, all those values go out the window.” Among the most common values neglected is the separation of genders. Rabbi Dovid Rabbinowitz of Brooklyn commented, “it is becoming common for young boys and girls to meet in parks and in cafes prior to and subsequently during marriage. By banning marriage we hope to discourage such disgraceful meetings. These public meetings disrespect our community’s foundation. If people of opposite genders want to meet, they shouldn’t.” Some point fingers at parents who on occasion have permitted a boy and a girl meet in their house. Parents, however, put the blame in the hands of the Shadchanim. Rabbi Zalman Leibowitz vocally opposed Shadchanim, “these individuals are running 21st century harems, encouraging the mingling of genders and the promiscuity and the destruction of society that result.”
What will be the status of those who are already married? Yossi Himmelman of Brooklyn shared his fears, “I’m very glad that someone realized the problems that can occur from marriage. I’ve been married four years now, and on more than one occasion, I very nearly looked at my wife. I would not be surprised if she ever accidentally looked at me, not because she isn’t an amazing Eshes Chayil, but it is very difficult not to make a mistake like that when living in the same house with someone.” Asher Fried from Brooklyn shared an even more disturbing experience. “There was one time when my wife made an exceptionally fine meal and without thinking, I said ‘thank you’ and immediately I tried to correct myself and I said ‘I’m sorry.’ It was completely accidental, but it ruined our marriage.”
Rabbi’s admit that stories such as these and some much worse were a major impetus towards the ban. Rabbi Hirsch Goldman of Brooklyn spoke out against post-marital sex. “The concept of ‘Kedoshim Tihiyu’ instills within us the importance of sexual purity,” Goldman said, “after growing up with these values and then entering a marriage with the embodiment of the Yetzer Hara, even the most steadfast might become Tameh.” Asked to clarify if he believed that women were evil, Rabbi Goldman attempted to split his words and take the politically correct position but admitted that he was not capable of giving a personal opinion as he never seen a woman, and “would not know or want to know how to identify one.” Goldman did back his comments with the claim, “My teachers who were much wiser than I have said that women are evil, and even if given reason to doubt, I would never sway from their teachings.”
Some citizens were not in favor of the ban. Phil Sprung of Flatbush was outspoken: “The rabbis who signed were clearly swayed away from reason through bribes or the prospect of being able to be a “rebbe” for little boys.” Asked if he would obey the ban, Phil claimed, “I’m already married for 23 years, but I am thinking of getting married a few more times to demonstrate my opposition to the lunacy behind the ban.” Phil admitted having nine children and hopes that they each get married at their convenience.
This issue does not just affect those of the Ultra-Orthodox, Hassidish, community. The Reform rabbis are backing the ban as well. Rabbi Esther Friedman of Manhattan could not contain herself when expressing gratitude to the Torah giants for enacting the ban. When asked if she would offer a similar ban to the Comity for Reform Judaism, she smiled and responded “While I feel that the ban in question will encourage synagogue attendance, even in the Reform community, I would not impose such a ban to my congregation. Those who feel a need to live under such bans are welcome to join the Hassidic community.” Rabbi and Rabbi Zack and Sam Goldberg claim the ban will not change how the reform community preforms weddings, “The Hassidic community has rejected the validity of Reform weddings for years.” Rabbis Goldberg have been married six years and are still trying to have their first child. Rabbi David Salme, of the Israelite community, claimed “the rabbis are acting in accordance with scripture, for once.” He quoted a verse, “renounce marriage for the kingdom in heaven.”
While both extremes are adamantly in favor of the ban, the center seems blissfully unaware. Rabbi Alan Kramer of Teaneck claimed that he never heard of such a ban, and that anyone who signed on it and anyone who follows it is going against the Torah. When asked to prove that marriage was an act sanctioned by the Torah, Rabbi Kramer became vague. “It is true that there is no directive to marry,” Kramer said. “Historically, other Jewish sects have banned marriage. Those sects always died out within a few hundred years. Also,” Kramer added, “there is a Biblical obligation to marry in cases of rape.”
While the issue is certain to bend many hats in the years to come, the true rabbis feel adamantly opposed to marriage. “People think they are righteous their whole life. The first thing after a rabbinically ordained marriage, they get screwed! No more.”