Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eshes Chayil Mi Yimtza? (Mi Rotzeh?)

Now and then, in a most serendipitous way and at the most least expected times, I am struck by the wisdom of our sages. Just the other day the New York Post made mention of a relatively new web site that is run by frum Jews that promotes extramarital affairs. In a sense it is a shidduch site but dedicated to married people seeking sex outside of their marriage. Of course, I found the site and logged on to see if it was true.

As I was surfing the site I recalled the Tamud (T.B. Minachot 44a) which referenced the “man” who was very particular about his performance of the mitzvah of tzizit. Finding himself at a house of ill repute he excused himself after reminding himself of the purpose of wearing tzizit. It is a simple story but a profound one. It teaches us that the purpose of the mitzvoth aren’t an end in and of themselves but are only the means by which we can arrive at a desired end. That end happens to be better Jews, living ethical and moral lives. The mitzvoth are only a practice - a means by which we can arrive at the higher ground. So when I read about the most recent crisis in the manufacturing of talitot, that there is a question as to whether or not a certain brand which is imported are kosher because they may be laced with shatnez, I want to cry. There is such concern over the nonsensical that the main point is being lost – is lost. Those most concerned with kosher tzizit, mehadrin esrogim, glatt meat, and sheitels woven in India are the ones turning to this site for illicit extramarital sex.

The site is quite professional and slick and states its purpose in very clear and unadulterated manner:

“Shainda.com is a site for married people who are looking for love and affairs outside of their marriage. This is a site where you can speak and interact with married man and women with out jeopardizing your marriage and get support from other married men and women who seek the same. This is a site where you can concentrate on men and women of the Jewish community, and meet like minded people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do this.

“Shainda.com” was created by a Jewish couple from the NY area, after they realized that there is many in the community who are looking for a site like this one. This was created mostly due to the fact that there are hundreds and thousands of jewish people who are miserable in their marriage or just need a little something extra , and looking for a fling, love or one-night-stand, but don’t want to jeopardize their relationship. Shainda.com will allow you to lead a normal life and enjoying it as you go along. HOWEVER, YOU DONT HAVE TO BE JEWISH TO BE A VIP ON THIS SITE, AS A MATTER OF FACT SOME JEWISH WOMEN PREFER NON-JEWISH MEN AS ONE-NIGHT STANDS AND AFFAIRS.”

What makes the site alarming is when taking note of the profile section. In that section there is a category for chassidus where you can identify whichever group you belong to ranging from Belz to Vishnitz and everything in between. Under orientation the spectrum ranges from “frum and liking it” to “not frum anymore”. Under religious status the range runs from litvish to yeshivish. So based upon the profile section of the site it is abundantly clear that their market tends to be with the frum community.

In a way I’m not all that much surprised by this web site. I have maintained for a long time that the religious community is spiritually bankrupt as evidenced by their normative behavior documented in my essays and noted in the press as the scandals are uncovered, i.e. merchandising treif products under the guise of being glatt kosher; and slaughter houses (Rubashkin and Aron labels) that aren’t fit to be labeled kosher but supported en masse by the frum community. Let’s not forget our b’nos yisroel who when “dolled up” for a wedding in their tight outfits, high heels and heavy makeup look more like high class hookers then potential wives; but when becoming “neshei chayil” alter their appearance with an expensive sheitel, hopefully not imported hair from India. But that is only one side of the coin.

The other side of the coin are those other women who seem neglected because either they have had too many children and are finding it difficult to cope physically or mentally; or because they let ‘themselves go” because they can. They’re married and they don’t have to make the effort any longer to stay attractive. I’ve oftened times wondered about those couples. How happy are they? Incidentally it cuts both ways. Some of the men are terribly neglected and look like they are sixty going on thirty. And there is no excuse for it. Cornering one very over weight avreich whom I’ve known for years I asked him how he was doing. Here was a forty year old man who looked and sounded like he was seventy. He does not “work out” and his interests are very limited. The only thing he reads is his mail and torah texts, i.e. chumash, rashi, meforshim, daf yomi, and the like.

Life under these circumstances can become very boring, monotonous and tedious. The purpose isn’t to lay blame at one or the other spouse. Either party in the marriage can be tempted into an adulterous relationship. Cheating is the result of a poor marriage and very bad sex. But if the chareidi community always prided itself in wholesome family life and marriages that were based upon “torah true” values and not the superficial criteria of the secular community how is it possible that they have come to this – a website designed for their community in need of extramarital relations?

I don’t have the answer but I suppose it’s all ok as long as the cheating woman has been to the mikveh, an as long as the adulterous man can keep a poker face when singing Eshes Chayil too his wife on Friday night. As their mission statement says Shainda.com will allow you to lead a normal life and enjoying it as you go along.