Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shall he make our sister like a harlot?"

Hat Tip: Two readers, one who referred me through VIN and one through Crown Heights Info. (I don't trust YNet in the least, but we have discussed other more serious proposals to marry young men off earlier in response to the "shidduch crisis" in the past. And I know enough "purists" who believe that our children should be marrying earlier, I'm not surprised by the endorsement of young teen marriage, although the reasoning is, frankly sickening.).

In perhaps the largest show of corrupt and perverse "lomdus", a Rabbi I have never heard of has apparently initiated a new bill to lower the marriage age in Israel to 15 (but probably even earlier if given the choice). The reasoning, which can only emanate from Chelm in conjunction with a view that women are mostly objects, includes:
  • Girls are a Financial Burden to Their Parents. "Parents of large families who cannot financially support all their children would be able to marry off their daughter earlier so that she can move into her husband's house." In another quote, "Girls who do not want to study or work are a burden to the household," Oh, but don't expect the child-bride to be the breadwinner. Another purpose of changing the marriage age: "to change the hareidi view that has been prevailing in recent years, according to which girls must acquire an occupation before getting married." Burden if she doesn't want to work or study, but the truth comes out later: this group doesn't want educated women: "The key is to give them an opportunity to marry early and this way save them from the pressure and the feeling that they must pursue an academic track, because many are not interested in studies."
  • The worst of aveirot can be solved. . . . "We will curtail rape cases and violation of the law by allowing marriage a year earlier." Later the Rabbi is quoted saying: "No one will oppose the halacha. The Knesset has witnessed the recent wave of crimes and sexual offenses in both secular and religious families with many children, and this will solve our problems." [Because the most severe averiot are solved by creating a different receptable. . . read on if you can]
  • . . . . With increased (legal) access to a different receptacle "Sexual intercourse is forbidden until the age of 16, but after the age of 16 it is allowed if it is consensual, and we want it to be conducted in the framework of marriage. As soon as there is consent of the boys and the families, we don’t want to have any limitation." [underlining mine]

The "lomdus" is so perverse, but I think I'm hearing him loud and clear: he'd like to give those who lack sexual discipline (both those who just want to have relations, as well as those who dare commit the most serious of averiot) license to have free reign over the daughters of the poor.

And for which I say, this is an outrage and the words of Shimon and Levi come to mind: "Ha'ch'zona ya'aseh et achotaynu?"

While it is nice to see Shas MK quoted saying that even if the bill is passed: "I also don’t think parents are going to want their daughters to marry so young, except for special circumstances," and "furthermore, I believe that studies help strengthen the family," the problem is that those who are mentally unstable are certain to have "special circumstances." Let's hope this bill is DOA, dead on arrival. If not, watch the "special circumstances" bloom.


Anonymous said...

I checked the calendar to see if I was off a few months and its already April's fools day. It's not. Heaven help the children born to these 15 year olds, and to these 15 year olds themselve. Why even have children if you want to marry them off and get them out of the house as soon as possible? Wouldn't it be better to put these poor children up for adoption. I'd gladly adopt one of these 15 year old "burdens." And no, I wouldn't let her get married until she is an adult.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

This is disgusting. And these are the same guys who are threatened by vos iz neais and the like. What a bunch of idiots.

Shira and Joey said...

I don't understand the major financial burden 1 girl places on a family. In Israel, tuition is generally covered by the government, no? If tuition is the issue, just pull the child out of school.

I do think picking 15 is a random age. Why not lower it to Bar/Bat mitzvah? Makes more sense l'halacha right?

(In case anyone can't tell, this is sarcasm)

Miami Al said...

I don't understand the issue, regardless.

The legal age is now 16, some want it lowered to 15... whatever. They don't respect women, they don't respect women at 15, they don't respect them at 16, and they don't respect them at 18... they get a big fat whatever.

Whether 15 or 16, you can still marry off a minor child without much control of her life, that's pretty lame, but lowering it to 15 doesn't really change that.

Pretty sure the average age of first marriages in Israel is over 20, and plenty of people leave the country to get married if they can't legally marry in Israel.

So while I can't say I support this, I can't get too worked up over it... some people, whose culture I find abhorrent, are asking for the legal right to be slightly more abhorrent. Oh well, I guess I'm enough of a libertarian to not care.

Anonymous said...

I am very disturbed with the direction the charedi society (in Israel) is going. The women now have to sit in the back of the bus, they are not allowed to drive (unless married and unless really necessary, a seminary girl who has a license would have a hard time getting a shidduch),the newspapers and magazines won't publish (tznious) photos of women, in some charedi papers female writers will not have their full name mentioned, women can't make decisions about the number of children they want, men make all the decisions for them, now they want to marry off these women young. Oye. I fear this community is turning into Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...


SJ said...

Read my blog. XD

tesyaa said...

Like Miami Al, I don't see much point in commenting on this. I don't think most Jews who are engaged in society have much in common with the chareidi community in Israel. I don't feel connected to this community at all.

JS said...

I second Tesyaa's comment - I feel absolutely no kinship or connection with this community. Supposedly they worship the same God, but you'd be hard-pressed to prove it to me.

I think it's a modern PR miracle that a Chareidi Jew of this ilk is considered religious and respectable whereas a Wahabi Muslim is considered a radical, a terrorist, and a modern-day caveman.

mother in israel said...

I heard Gila Gamliel of the Likud party at a conference this week. She introduced a law to raise the marriage age of females from 17 to 18. 16 is the current age of marriage with parental consent, and 17 without for girls, 18 without for boys. Look at this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age
Gamliel mentioned that many early marriages get a rubber stamp from the court even when rape is suspected.

JS said...

Mother In Israel,

It would seem this rabbi doesn't believe in the "enlightened" concept that rape is even possible in the context of marriage. I have no idea what the halachic opinion is on this matter, but it's clear that this rabbi thinks rape within marriage is impossible:

"Rabbi Idan said that lawyers are currently examining the legislative aspect of the bill, 'We will curtail rape cases and violation of the law by allowing marriage a year earlier.

'This one year is significant. Nowadays boys and girls cannot have relations, and we will allow this by letting them marry, while encouraging and guiding them,' he said."

Further, girls don't have to consent to sex, just the boy and the respective families:

"'Sexual intercourse is forbidden until the age of 16, but after the age of 16 it is allowed if it is consensual, and we want it to be conducted in the framework of marriage. As soon as there is consent of the boys and the families, we don’t want to have any limitation,' he added."

Other great lines include the fact that women shouldn't be educated and that marrying them off earlier will prevent the horrible influences of female education, that women have no reason only emotion, and that women should not have an occupation.

I'll say it again: Some mullah in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan says this kinda stuff and he's a backwards, misogynist, radical, terrorist who is perverting his religion. A Chareidi rabbi says it and he's a pious, religious, frum, upright leader looking out for the spiritual health of his community.

Anonymous said...

While my first inclination was to agree with the comments that there is no point in commenting on this nonsense and that these are just some fringe extremists who should not be given attention, there is a real problem of growing extremism and the spread of ideas that would make Israel a third-world fundamentalist theocracy. We also must speak out to help the children and women being harmed by these ideas and practices. Too many politicians in Israel are afraid of losing charedi support or of being labelled an apikorus.

Miami Al said...


I consider this no more relevant to me than Israel's problem with Bedouins or Druze. Strange non-Jewish minority groups in Israel that the government has to carefully manage problems with. However, as an American Jew, I have no skin in the game.

While these guys are technically MOT, so conceivably a connection could occur, to be honest, I think I'm about as likely to become related to a Protestant friend through one of his kids converting as I am to have to deal with these people.

Regarding the Apikorus issue: that's a generally spineless MO problem... The MO Rabbi care more about the RW Communities that their children live in (after going to RW schools) and their Rabbis than defending MO as "correct."

Oh well, this issue is pretty minor on it.

In Florida, you need parental consent to get married under 18. If the woman is pregnant, this consent requirement is waived. If the woman is under the age of consent, no issue is made of this in getting married, and then nobody has standing to bring it up (this applies to statutory rape, NOT molestation).

Honestly, I know it's the law, however, the concept of a 15 year old girl marrying her 21 year old boyfriend is so outside my social realm that the legal right to do so doesn't matter to me.

anon1 said...

Those who can't adequately provide for a 16 year old bride will be no more able to provide for a 15 year old. If we speak now of a shidduch crisis based on an "oversupply" of girls relative to boys, this innovation would make matters worse for the girls.

Hesh said...

To be dan l'chaf z'chut, Gluckel of Hameln got married at 14, and she turned out pretty well. Of course, that was 350 years ago.

mother in israel said...

My point was that this law has no chance of passing, Gamliel's does. "No one wants to violate halacha." Ha! I think it's just hot air, and if it were serious Gamliel would have mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

I know some rabbis in Israel are discussing bringing back polygomy to deal with the shidduch crisis. To those who think this does not affect them, you are wrong. If you look at Israeli demographics, while currently chareidim are only 10-15% of the population, over 50% of first graders in Israel are charedi. What do you think this means for the country? The secular will keep on appeasing until they take over and turn the place into a theocracy run much like the Taliban.

mother in israel said...

I read the article more carefully. Not one person is quoted who takes this seriously.
""At the moment we are feeling the pulse, and it seems that certain members of Knesset are showing interest. Some will be willing to take up the gauntlet," claimed Cohen."
A joke, but a good headline for Ynet.

Orthonomics said...

I don't think this law will pass, but given other signs of extremism it isn't so far out to imagine that there are some who would like to push this practice. I also don't consider some of the thought process that far removed. I've heard Rabbis talk about 14 or 15 really being the ideal age of marriage. Of course, off kilter others have more to say. What makes this particularly meshuga is the misogyny of it all.

mother in israel said...

There have been stories floating about of illegal young marriages. The quotes from this guy are over the top. I guess I don't like it when you Americans point out all of our crazies, we like to set the tone of the discussions.I can certainly imagine the ladies I've written about recently getting married at 14 or 15, and no one would do anything about it. It's very different from changing the law, though.

mother in israel said...

I just posted:
Marriage Age in Israel: 18, 17, or . . . 15?
There are already some interesting comments.

Anonymous said...

I know some rabbis in Israel are discussing bringing back polygomy to deal with the shidduch crisis.

I thought they’re bringing back polygamy because these days it’s too hard for a family to get by on just one income.

Anonymous said...

BTW, in New Hampshire, girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 14 may get married with parental consent; however, someone who gets married while under 18 can sue (or his/her parents can sue) to annul the marriage.

Chavi Beck said...

In what way is it harder to feed an 18 year old high school graduate than to support a (maybe pregnant) 18 year old daughter and her husband and two babies?

megapixel said...

this makes no sense at all.

in the charedi society, girls are more self sufficient than boys.
girls work, boys dont.
so it makes more sense to get the boys out of the house earlier, no?

also, this society has to support their young married couples, so the earlier they get married, the longer they will need said support.
it is easier to support a single daughter than a married daughter.

dont understand any of this...

Chavi said...

My thoughts exactly, megapixel. And if it's the boys' aveiros the good rabbi is worried about it - how does marrying girls off earlier help that situation? It's the boys who should totally be in shidduchim as soon as they've memorized their bar mitzva speech.