On Wednesday night, there was a film on ARTV., called "Kadosh" (Holy). It was obviously in Hebrew and filmed in Jerusalem but because TV viewers are too lazy to read subtitles, the producers translated the film the way they do for English movies. It was weird because they also translated the prayers. But anyways…
It was about two sisters living in an ultra-orthodox community in Jerusalem, probably around Me’a She’arim. One of them was married with this guy for 10 years, and was having trouble getting pregnant. The second, the younger one, was in love with this religious guy (but apparently not religious enough) and had to marry this other guy she didn’t love.
I personally don’t know much about these religious communities but I hope that what I saw in that film was nothing more than a twisted and disgusting exaggeration of these people’s reality.
In a nutshell, the husband of the first sister was forced to divorce her (after his father convinced him he was living in sin because his wife cannot bear children, so his seed goes to waste) and marry another woman and have kids with her. A couple of times in the movie, it was mentioned that the Talmud says that a woman who cannot bear children is dead, or is not a woman. That was infuriating to say the least. Ironically, it turned out that the woman was perfectly fertile and the man was the one with the problem, but it was unclear whether anything came out of that at the end of the movie.
The younger sister finally married the guy she was not in love with. Their first night together disgusted me even more. The husband was a complete animal. He stripped his wife of her virginity with the utmost violence and cruelty. He covered her mouth with his hand suffocating her cries. It wasn’t love-making, it wasn’t fucking, it wasn’t even rape. It was worse than rape. It was "voluntary" rape. The woman didn’t even try to fight him off. It was as if it was her duty to serve her husband and satisfy his sexual needs as well as give him a child. Whether it was the intention of the director or not, the image of this asshole banging his wife looked like a machine – a perfect baby factory.
Later on in the movie, the woman sneaked out of her house in the middle of the night and went to meet the man she loves and slept with him. She came back the next morning to find her husband with a belt in his hand and he eventually beat the living shit out of her.
Again, whether this is the reality or not, I have no way of knowing (thank God). What I do know is that this is not the way God intended it to be. God gave the Jewish People the Torah to live by, not to suffer by. And I don’t know if these fanatics teach their sons that the marriage contract literally states that a man has to satisfy his wife. He has the obligation to SEXUALLY satisfy his wife. And if he doesn’t, she has the right to divorce him.
Another thing that I know is that if you’re a woman and you walk by Me’a She’arim with pants, or a short sleeve shirt or a short skirt, you’re gonna get stoned (as in have stones thrown at you). If you drive by the area during the Sabbath or any High Holiday, you’re also gonna get stoned.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you can have your own beliefs all you want. This is what living in a democratic country is all about. But if you hurt other people in the process, you deserve to burn in Hell. There are extremists in Israel on both sides of the spectrum (religious and secular), and they’re always at each other’s throats. I like to think that I’m somewhere in the middle. I wear pants but I keep Sabbath. I fast on Yom Kippur but I like to have premarital sex. I believe in God but I also believe in myself. Basically, I use the religion the way I feel comfortable without hurting myself or other people in the process.
This message is not only for Jews but for anyone who feels any kind of belief or a connection to a divine power. Religion and spirituality is a beautiful thing in essence. Our ability to believe in a higher power that cannot be seen is what separates us from the animals. It is when people abuse of these beliefs, and use them to hurt other people through socio-political means, that they become animals themselves.
Peace, love and add to the Ketuba "Should the husband not fulfill his marital duties, the woman may kick his ass."