A dear friend of mine has a family member who is in the midst of a bad divorce. Tamar has been legally divorced from her husband for several years, but he has refused to give her a get. Until he does, unless he does, Jewish law views her as still married to him and she, like every other married woman, is forbidden from marrying another man. People were urging Tamar to publicize her situation, hoping that her husband would cave to the ensuing social pressure and grant her a Jewish bill of divorce. Initially, she did not want to do this. Her reason? It would cause a chilul Hashem. It would make G-d look bad.
G-d hurt this woman. He continues to hurt her. It is His law that is putting her through all this pain. And yet her response to G-d is, I will suffer, I will obey Your law, because of it I may never remarry, but I will not hurt You. I will not make You look bad.
Along similar lines, in an article entitled “Unchain Her Heart,” Erica Brown asks
If Jewish observance hurts women, then why stick around? Yet you almost never hear an Orthodox woman say that she is leaving. Why? They find that their way of life is one of beauty and everyday holiness. They may be technically “chained” to their husbands, but they are held by stronger bonds to their Judaism . . .
In Tamar’s own words, “Judaism is so much a part of who I am and throughout this difficult process, if anything, my faith in God and in my religion has been reaffirmed. Aharon has hurt me in many ways, but I’m not going to allow him to take my faith away from me.”
Tamar and hundreds of women like her will live bounded by law and not walk away from Judaism because their love of Judaism is stronger than their despair or their anger.
The medrash (Bereishit Rabbah, Vayeirah 55) writes:
Rabbi Yonatan said, when a potter examines his vessels, he does not check the shaky vessels. Why? Because if he would only tap them once they would break. Which vessels does he examine? The strong vessels, that even if he taps them many times they do not break. So too the Holy One, Blessed is He, does tests not the wicked, but the righteous, as it says, “G-d examines the righteous” (Psalms 11:5).”
Until now, I don’t think I really understood what that meant.
This special young woman has decided to go public to raise awareness of her problem in an effort to help other women avoid it. Please help Tamar by signing this petition or by liking this page on Facebook.