New Rule – household help must be uglier than you.

A friend forwarded this link to me, and asked me for my thoughts. I had heard vague talk about it, but had no time to pay it any attention. Click to watch the video.

This is a video made for Aish by Lori Palatnik. In it she asks us women to do the sensible thing and make sure that the help we employ at home is not as cute as we are, not as skinny or skinnier than us, or as young. She warns us to not be stupid and to safeguard our marriages.

On the one hand I see the point she is making. Why deliberately put temptation in our husband’s way? That must be asking for trouble.

But on the other hand – are our husbands not grown men capable of knowing that it’s wrong to cheat, and that even if he sees a pretty young thing in his house, she is off limits?? Does he walk around with blinkers on, so that he never has to see someone who might look younger or cuter than his wife? Do we now tell all the bosses in this world that they are only allowed to employ ugly women lest a man might be led astray? Do we forbid our teenage daughters from bringing their friends home?

Why is she putting the responsibility on the women? Would it be our fault, then, if a husband cheated with the help? Or only if we hired someone pretty?

Most homes I have been in, when the help is there, the husband is usually at work. And even if he isn’t, he’s busy doing something other than ogling the help.

Has it happened that a religious man has cheated with the help? Absolutely! Has he cheated with his next door neighbour, his best friend’s wife? Indeed.

If a man is going to cheat, he will find someone to cheat with. No matter how hard the wife tries to keep all the women around him ugly (like it’s even possible) if he wants to stray, there will be no stopping him.

Lori Palatnik is a very learned woman, and I usually enjoy and agree with much of what she says. There is something to be learned from this video – yes a marriage is something to be cherished and taken care of. But it takes work from both. If a man cheats it is HIS fault not his wife’s.

Thoughts?

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  1. shorty says:

    i actually agree with Lori on this. My best friends dad ran off with the very cute hired help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    wth.

  3. Mottel says:

    Perhaps it’s odd for a man to be chiming in on this . . . Halachicaly it makes no difference how old or young, cute or ugly, the help is – yichud is yichud. If the husband properly keeps to these rules, most issues should be avoided.

    the power of seduction doesn’t need household help that’s uglier to lead a man astray . . . plenty a famous socialite and star has been found with cheapest lady of ill repute – despite dating or being married to the most gorgeous women in the world.

    I think the fear comes from an all too real place, and a couple that decides together to make choices in hired help is doing the right thing . . . but her attitude seems to display a lack of trust in her husband, and even more, a lack of faith in herself.

  4. Hadass Eviatar says:

    Totally agree with you, Hadassah. I think this is ridiculous. Yes, people should work on their marriages. No, it isn’t appropriate to put responsibility on the wife for her husband’s behaviour!

  5. Nora says:

    This is totally ridiculous. It doesn’t matter if the hired help is attractive or not. Do you also not introduce your husband to attractive female friends? Or ask to screen all the women he may work with? Cheating has very little to do with how attractive or not tge household help is.

  6. le7 says:

    I agree with the idea that you should generally try and insure that hired help are tznius in your household…. but come on. Would she argue we shouldn’t let our husbands get a job lest they have to work with women? It’s part of the world.

  7. shorty says:

    hypothetical situation.

    You have decided to start a strict diet. Your husband brings home the most decadent chocolate cake. He announces “its not for you, its for me.” a) how would you feel? and b) how tempted (and how likely) are you to take just a small slice for just a taste?

    • Z! says:

      yeah, but the hired help isn’t there for companionship for either spouse, so this is a slightly silly comparison. If a spouse is predisposed to cheat, they will find someone to cheat with. And why are we not giving the cleaning lady, nanny or house painter a bit MORE credit? Why do we assume they will stoop to bedding the “master of the house”?

      • batya from NJ says:

        Z! i agree (once again ;)) with your assessment that the chocolate cake analogy is not an accurate analogy b/c presumably the decadent chocolate cake that hubby would bringing home is kosher & the hired help (or any other attractive woman outside the marriage) is not :)!!

  8. batya from NJ says:

    Hadassah, let me start by saying that I am not the “Batya” who commented on the aish video even though I do agree with what she wrote (except where she said that she’s not that good-looking ;)! I actually submitted a comment under “Batya from NJ” an hr ago but have not seen it online last I checked.

    Anyhow, I feel that Lori is WAY off the mark here & seems to be showing a lot of insecurity about herself & her marriage in the video. I say this even though I have a friend whose husband ran off with their live-in non-Jewish housekeeper & left her with her alone to raise their 7 kids. Interestingly, the housekeeper eventually converted to Judaism & the guy married her & had a baby with her as well but despite knowing someone first hand who this happened to, I still feel that one cannot keep their spouse on a leash! There needs to be mutual respect & trust in a marriage b/c if a guy wants to cheat, he will find someone to cheat with regardless of how ugly the cleaning help may be. He will find a co-worker, a waitress, a neighbor, a secretary or anyone out there to cheat with if that is what he is looking to do.

    My husband currently has had & continues to have attractive young thin secretaries who have worked & continue to work in his office. Years ago, I used to tease him that I wanted to interview all the secretaries & I was only willing to hire someone who was at least 300 lbs & ugly but that joke was mainly made b/c of my own insecurities which I have since gotten over as the years have passed.

    That said, I would not want to hire a movie-star look-a-like as my housekeeper or as a secretary for the office but I’m not going to be petty & insecure about hiring a younger thinner employee if they are qualified to do their jobs. I would stay away from hiring a total knock-out b/c I agree with Lori that our marriages must be protected & safeguarded & i also believe in the Torah commandment of “lifnei eevair lo teetain michshol” which translates as “Before a blind man, do not put a stumbling block”. There is no reason to cause your spouse to be tempted but nonetheless there is no need to specifically seek out ugly & unattractive household help in order to safeguard ones marriage b/c as I said b/f men have countless opportunities to cheat if they want to & hiring ugly help won’t prevent that from occurring.

  9. anne says:

    Only hire men for help.

    That’s the easiest solution.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      you know, that’s not such a bad idea….

      • batya from NJ says:

        But Hadassah & Anne, the men may not like that idea especially if the young male cleaner is HOT ;)!!!!

        • HSaboMilner says:

          so long as he moves the fridge to clean behind it, and uses elbow grease to clean my stove, i couldnt give a hoot what he looks like. I have my KoD – no need to look at anyone else ever, hot or not.

          • lady lock and load says:

            Of course there is no need to look at another man. But even a married woman can see someone in person or on TV or a commercial and be attracted. If you have a cleaning man that is very handsome, works several hours a week for several years, I don’t think it’s a good idea. You can get very friendly with the cleaning help and it’s not like you are at work in an office surrounded with other people.
            The Torah requires us to behave in a tzanuah manner at all times. My husband’s Rosh Yeshiva instructed the men and women of the yeshiva to call each other’s spouses by Mr. and Mrs. (for example Mr. KoD, Mrs. In the Pink) in order to put a certain separation/modesty between the men and women.

          • batya from NJ says:

            & Hadassah, married women have been known to cheat on their spouses. In fact, I have a friend whose supposedly religious & chassidic (lubavitch) daughter-in-law ran off with her non- religious college professor even though she & her husband (my friend’s son) had a child together. Married women are not immune from cheating & I wouldn’t specifically recommend a male cleaner for everyone to solve the problem at hand (even though it seems to be working for Mekubal & Rabbi’s Wife & I’ve heard that male cleaners are more common in Israel than in the US).

            Personally, I’m very happy to employ female cleaning help as I have done ever since I began having housekeeping help. I’m much more comfortable walking around my house with a woman by my side rather than having a guy around for several hrs. at a time no matter what he looks like.

            In addition, as someone alluded to earlier, in today’s day & age, the husbands may be attracted to the male cleaning help as well. I just read the other day that Fran Drescher (from The Nanny)’s husband “came out of the closet” after 21 years of marriage & even though I don’t have these concerns about my husband of 20 years but personally I’m very happy to continue having female household help b/c it’s worked for us over the years.

    • mekubal says:

      That’s what we do. Though I think her argument is still absurd.

    • Mottel says:

      In this day and age, I don’t know if it will help :P (oy!)

  10. anne says:

    PS: Husbands do not always fall for the pretty ones.

    My father always had ugly mistresses.

  11. sara maimon says:

    I didn’t see the clip but I would differentiate between a woman actually living in the house, and one who comes a couple of times a week for a few hours.

    I wouldn’t have ANY unrelated woman living in the house, pretty or ugly, as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    And for the per diem worker- who cares how she looks?

  12. Mark says:

    If you are worried about your husband in this way, perhaps you married the wrong guy.

  13. Chaviva says:

    You know, statistics show that women most often cheat because their relationship is lacking something physical. Men, on the other hand, cheat because their relationship is missing something emotional, personal.

    Odd, eh? I would see it the opposite way. I think most would.

    I have to say her video rubbed me a bit the wrong way, but actually because she kept saying “the help.” Seriously? Isn’t that sort of old … tired …? Offensive?

    Anyway, I agree with what several people have said. It takes two to tango, and putting a hot piece of arse in front of your husband shouldn’t do a thing — yichud, marriage, the fact that the dude has a WIFE, these things should keep him from acting. And if he doesn’t? That’s HIS fault.

  14. Anna Bryan says:

    Gosh, this would be difficult for so many people.

  15. Josh says:

    Despite neither being married nor able to afford hired help myself, I think there are a few issues to consider:

    1. If a man is that tempted by the help there are probably other issues in the marriage.

    2. The warning could make sense in certain communities – I don’t know the statistics if it’s a “real” problem or nor, but if it is, I suppose it ought to be addressed.

    3. There’ s a story I like to tell about my year in Gruss. One day after Yoreh Deah shiur, the Rosh Kollel gave the us a mussar shmooze complaining about over fraternization between the spouses of the couples. My reaction then is as is now, that the first step ought to be to recognize that members of the opposite gender are not sex objects, but people (this is particularly appropriate for future rabbis).

  16. IMA2FOUR7 says:

    Hiring of cute, young, slim or attractive help is not tantamount to be complicit in adultery.
    I think, in the American justice system has proven that it is not right to blame the victim. There are many victims in the case of adultery, I know, I’ve been there. I can not believe that the responsibility, the culpability and the guilt of infidelity belongs anywhere other than squarely upon the shoulders of the transgressors.
    These helpful hints of hiring help, are hurtful. Lori looks me in the eye knowingly and she tells don’t be stupid. Was I stupid? I didn’t commit adultery and ruin my family. My marriage did not come with a husband tracking system, does anyone’s? I thought it was a contract between two consenting adults. I think it still is and I hope I get the opportunity to get married again and prove that truth. Either way, I don’t want Lori looking me sincerely in the eye and implying the faithlessness is really my fault.

    • vous says:

      “I can not believe that the responsibility, the culpability and the guilt of infidelity belongs anywhere other than squarely upon the shoulders of the transgressors.”

      Well said. I completely agree.

      “These helpful hints of hiring help, are hurtful. ”
      This is my opinion too. They are an insult to anybody who has been cheated.

  17. shorty says:

    i started reading the comments under the video, and while Lori used the word “cute”, i think the point is, watch the relationship between hired help and husband. Someone wants to be with someone that makes them feel good. People are right – it isn’t about how they look, more on how they behave. Someone is more likely to stray if their spouse is a nag and the hired help lends a a friendly ear and a shoulder.

    And i think it really goes both ways – my husband wouldn’t be too thrilled if a charming Brad Pitt (!) was with me all day working on the house. Now if Brad Pitt was a big jerk pants, he probably would feel less intimidated. Same goes for female staff, if they are over friendly, bordering on flirty, then some boundaries need to be set (work hours, or need be, NO hours).

    the argument is totally not black and white – what about work colleagues…what about this and that…again its all about the time of relationship. If your husband is going on private lunches with ONE of his female colleagues, or emailing him at home, i think the jealousy bug would bite just a little bit.

  18. mekubal says:

    Personally I think the rationale is absolutely absurd. The reason is that it is essentially giving men an excuse for their ill behavior. A man needs to deal with his own ta’avot, and not put the responsibility with someone else, otherwise lets start confining the women to their homes and dressing them in burqas… oh wait there are those who today think that this is a good idea.

    The husband should never know if the “help” is kinder/cuter/slimmer than his wife. Whether it be a regular employee or a Sem girl that has been coaxed into watching the kids for a couple of hours. Once he starts taking note of her physical appearance or forming a personal emotionally intimate relationship he has already overstepped the bounds of halakha. To be clear though, it is his issue, not his wife’s not the employee’s, his issue. If he is having struggles, he should confide that in his wife, show that she can help him to overcome his yetzer. Like most ta’avot a healthy dose of sunlight will clear them up.

    • shorty says:

      realistically how do you think anyone would react to the following:
      “honey,I find our nanny very attractive and i don’t know what to do.”

      • mekubal says:

        Ask my wife, because realistically we have had conversations very similar to that, though with much more tact involved. Only a Tzadik Gamur or a eunuch wouldn’t find women other than his wife to be beautiful or attractive. If it starts to become a distraction he should discuss it with his wife. That openness has only strengthened our marriage.

      • Rabbis Wife says:

        Shorty- I can tell you it’s not the easiest conversation to have, but I’d rather know than not know. Too many guys try to struggle with it on their own and end up failing. If you know, there is something you can do to help. While we currently have a male cleaner coming in once a week (when my DH is home) we have had female cleaners, Chessed girls and Shabbat guests around the house, and some of them had inappropriate boundaries (even to people flirting with my DH at the Shabbat table, right in front of me!). I always keep my eye out for this, because I think that it’s good for a female to speak to another female about boundaries, etc. so as not to put the man in an awkward situation.
        Would I hire a young, skinny good-looking girl to help around the house? You bet. Would I keep an eye on her work and try to have her at the house when my DH wasn’t there? Also yes. But mostly because it’s nice to have just family in the few hours a day my husband is home.

        • lady lock and load says:

          Interesting that SKINNY=attractive. I would say slim. whatever.

          • Rabbis Wife says:

            It’s all semantics anyway, b/c many men prefer more *ahem* meat on the bones anyway.
            In my case I’d have to say “not pregnant”, as I seem to be a breeding Jedi, preparing for my third birth in as many years. Ha-ha!
            My point still is, even if she looks like a movie star, cleans like a madwoman, listens better than a therapist, and cooks like Julia Child, she’s only a “threat” if my DH and I let her be one. It’s up to us to draw the lines in every relationship!

        • Mark says:

          Rabbis wife – Too many guys try to struggle with it on their own and end up failing.

          And many women struggle and fail as well. Perhaps for different reasons, but cheating is cheating. It all comes back to being committed to ones marriage or not – that’s the bottom line. The “weakness” is in the commitment, not the flesh.

          • mekubal says:

            No one was saying that women don’t cheat. In both cases openness and each spouse trying to help set boundaries helps. Part of being committed to a marriage is being willing to have the difficult conversations.

            Honestly if you can be open with your spouse about your failings the stronger the marriage one will be able to build. In my opinion the reason that marriages experience the kinds of downs that open it up to infidelity(as was the point of video) is because of a fundamental breakdown in communication.

          • vous says:

            Might also just be that the cheater is an asshole.

          • mekubal says:

            Having suffered a marriage that failed because of the other’s infidelity, and having been rather introspective over the whole thing, I really do think that it is a matter of both sides falling down on the job to a certain extant.

            That doesn’t excuse the bad behavior. A person’s bad choices are entirely their own, however in the vast majority of cases of infidelity the marriage itself is seriously ill for some reason.

          • Chanief says:

            I completely agree. I have always firmly believed that if one partner is able to cheat it means there are issues in the marriage that need to be addressed by both. The cheater is responsible for choosing to go that route but the problems that made that an option are the responsibility of both partners.

          • vous says:

            Well, it should not happen to you. But if it happens that suddenly you learn your spouse has been fooling around with someone else for the past 5-10 years (yes, spouse did a great job at hiding it…), I don’t wish you to hear from your friends what you just said…

          • Chanief says:

            Don’t be so sure it hasn’t happened to me. It hasn’t happened in that exact way, and despite my experience with the issue, I stand by my opinion. I will concede that it is not an absolute – for example, if someone is married to an individual with a sexual addiction or some such – but in general if a spouse cheats there are preexisting issues which need to be addressed by both partners.

          • vous says:

            Well, I can just tell you about the experience in my own family:

            As a wife, the more “escapades” you tolerate, the more shamelessly the cheater will take advantage of it.

            It’s “Avera goreret avera” in the most pure sense of the term: the first time, cheater is ashamed, the more often it happens, the less the shame.

            So ultimately, cheater ends up presenting “affair” to everyone but spouse.

            Spouse pardons the first time, the second time. Result: cheater becomes more and more cheecky and ends up taking “affair” to the bedroom while spouse in house…

            That’s how I see it, based on what I say in life.

            So to me, the best solution is:
            1) Do not believe “it was just once”: in general, they do not tell until they are caught, and just admit what they cannot deny.

            2) never, ever believe “It will not happen again”, because it will happen again.

            3) Do not take bullshit guilt feelings upon yourself. Cheater will just use it to manipulate you. (like: the raavad allows it, Yaakov avinu had 4 wives, the real intention of Torah was polygamy, just this Rabbi Gershon prohibited it because of the christians)

          • mekubal says:

            2) never, ever believe “It will not happen again”, because it will happen again.
            With adequate treatment from a competent mental health professional, or a good marriage and family therapist, rates of reoccurrence are actually pretty low. However it does require both parties to move past the guilt and blame and own up to the actual problems within the marriage. If you want to ride a wave of self righteous indignation yes it will probably reoccur again and again.

            Do not take bullshit guilt feelings upon yourself.
            Sorry but if you want to have a healthy relationship(even with your next spouse if this really is an absolute deal breaker for you) you would be well served from figuring out your part in the disintegration of your marriage, and not take that, along with all of your new baggage into the new relationship with you.

            Mental health professional concur that in most cases of infidelity, it is a matter of the relationship being sick, but the unfaithful partner(because women cheat as often as men do) isn’t necessarily ready to throw the towel in on the relationship, and thus look outside the relationship to find the fulfillment of the needs(often not sexual) that are not being met in the relationship. Typically speaking the “sex” is the currency with which the unfaithful partner buys the fulfillment of other needs.

          • vous says:

            So you did not get divorced when you learned that your wife cheated on you?

            You gave her a second chance, accompanied by a good family therapist?

          • Rabbi's Wife says:

            Unfortunately, this is not an option for a Cohen.

            Which is why you should consider carefully marrying one. There are a lot of complications being married to a Cohen, not the least of which is what happens if infidelity takes place.

          • vous says:

            I think this has nothing to do with cohen or not cohen, it is not an option within halacha.

            But as a matter of fact, for what reason ever, you did not try and “save the marriage” after spouse cheated.

            So why would you suggest to other people (incidentally, they all happen to be of the female species) to do exactely that?

          • mekubal says:

            I think this has nothing to do with cohen or not cohen, it is not an option within halacha. But as a matter of fact, for what reason ever, you did not try and “save the marriage” after spouse cheated.

            Actually for non-Kohanim it is very much an option within Halakha. What I did or didn’t do is actually beside the point, and I have no intention of laying out my life story for you to judge.

            My advice, which is incidentally aimed at both males and females, also has never been that they should do something. Rather that if they so desire they can, that is a highly personal and individual decision, which the individual must make within themselves. It is based on my own education as well as years of practical experience as a Rabbi which has included shimush rabbanim an apprenticeship under one of the most sought after kollel madrikhim in Jerusalem.
            What I did absolutely advise is to seek therapy either way, which I did do, with someone who I knew from my professional contacts was one of the best marriage and family therapists in the US.

          • vous says:

            You say you counsel couples as a rabbi:

            In the configuration where the wife is the spouse who cheated, halacha says they must get a divorce. So I suppose this is what you will tell them as an (orthodox) rabbi.

            So the only constellation where you as a rabbi would say “work it out (go for therapy), perhaps you can stay married if you both agree” is the constellation where the husband cheated, isn’t it?

          • mekubal says:

            In the configuration where the wife is the spouse who cheated, halacha says they must get a divorce. So I suppose this is what you will tell them as an (orthodox) rabbi.

            That is absolutely not true. That is not the halakha. Someone may have misrepresented that position to you as halakha, but it is not the case.

          • vous says:

            I think there is a little escape window:

            If the husband does not believe his wife cheated on him, they can stay married (same holds true for a kohen too, so this is a solution you could have used if you wanted to “save your marriage”)

            The only difference between kohen and non-kohen in this respect occurs when the wife was raped.

            Otherwise, the din is the same for kohen and non-kohen.

          • batya from NJ says:

            Mekubal, i’ve heard the same thing that Vous has mentioned regarding there being no second chances for a woman who cheats on her husband b/c I’ve heard that if a married woman sleeps with another man she is then Halachically forbidden to her husband. Perhaps there are exceptions to this rule or loopholes but that also was my understanding of the halacha although i will admit that i’ve never studied these halachot first-hand & hardly consider myself to be an expert in these matters.

          • mekubal says:

            It starts as a three way makhloket in Perek HaMegaresh(9th perek of Gittin). It is never fully resolved. The question is whether one is required to, or if it is good advice. However as stipulation there, and as is brought down by the Rishonim we are dealing with a perfect case. In other words there were at least two witnesses who tried to warn and prevent them from committing the act.

            Going on from that with that lacking we are in a different case all together.

            Secondly any such halakhic ramification is only if the relations were K’darkha. If they were not(such as was the case with Bill Clinton and the infamous blue dress), we are also in an entirely different realm. Even a Kohen is not forced to divorce his wife if it was not k’darkha.

            So the issue is much more complex than a simply cheating wife equals divorce equation. Which aside from that not necessarily being the halakha even k’darkha, cheating is not always k’darkha.

          • vous says:

            Well, anyway: you decided to divorce your wife because she cheated you (perhaps the “legal situation” according to halacha was also murky), and you advise other people to do what you did not.

            This is weak, in my view.

          • mekubal says:

            You make sweeping judgments with very few facts. If you really must know. Initially I tried to work things out.

            However, when it became clear that she had no actual intention of attempting to repair the marriage, AND that on account of my kohanut and her specific actions to go forward with the marriage was a halakhic impossibility(though quite honestly considering where I was hashkafically at the time if she were willing to work it out I may have ignored that), yes I did seek a get.

          • vous says:

            Let me get this straight:

            First, you said you HAD to divorce her for halachic reasons.

            Now, you are saying that back then, you did not take halacha so literally, so you considered staying with her, but it did not work.

            Let’s assume it had worked, she had made all the necessary efforts to stay with you. And then you discover that halacha, as you claimed in an earlier comment, did not permit you to stay with her. What then? Tell her: “Honey, I know you made a great deal of efforts, it’s not really against you, but now I am becoming really super-duper-frum and this means we have to divorce?”

            Are you aware of how contradictory you are????

          • HSaboMilner says:

            STOP! please. take it to email or somewhere else. this is getting way too personal. ENOUGH.

          • mekubal says:

            I have already said that I have no intention of laying the full details of my past out to be judged by you or anyone else in the cyberverse. If you really want to dig into my closet for the skeletons that you think you will find there, I have a post here specifically about that. However right now you are making(yet again) broad assumption based on a severe lacking of fact.

            I have stated the case halakhicly and what I would suggest someone do. In respect to Hadassah I consider this topic closed on her blog.

        • vous says:

          This boundaries question you address here is very difficult.

          I am single and female I have married (female) friends.

          Now how do I behave towards their husbands?
          - ignore them, without building any relationship with them: fine for my friend, but akward for myself and especially for the husband who will feel less than human if I never talk to him.

          - be friendly with him: fine for everyone, except friend, who might explode and be jealous

          -stop contact with friends as soon as they marry, not have married friends…

        • vous says:

          “But mostly because it’s nice to have just family in the few hours a day my husband is home.”

          And this is the second problem that crops up when you are single and have married friends: You are good enough to go and play with the children and “be company” while husband is absent, but as soon as husband is home, ciao, we don’t need you anymore. We are a family, you don’t belong….

          • Rabbis Wife says:

            About having family time when my husband is home…

            I was speaking of not having HIRED people around during that time, not friends. Friends are family, as far as I’m concerned.

            As to how you should act around friends’ husbands…I think there is a line between comfortable acquaintanceship and being “friends”. Ignoring the husband would be odd, yes. But neither should you try to form some kind of intimate/personal relationship with the man. I treat most of my friends’ husbands the same way I treat our Rav. I speak with him when necessary, greet him cordially on the street, but never try to have a “relationship” with him on any level.
            My question is, why do you as a single woman, want to be spending time with married men? I’m not suggesting that you’re trying to do anything wrong with them, Chas v’Shalom!, but if everyone is given a limited amount of relational “energy” why would you spend any more than necessary on a man who is not available, and ought to be spending his energy on his wife and children? If you’re not working on building a relationship with an available man, please focus on your relationships with other women and family members, as those relationships are the most fulfilling and least problematic.

          • vous says:

            Well: it’s a bit akward to play with someone’s children for so and so many years, to be at his house, to be occasionally one of the guest around his shabbat table and to claim to have “no relationship whatsoever”.

            The longer it goes on, the akwarder it becomes.

            It’s especially strange when you have a quite close relationship with his wife and children.

            A kept the formal “voussoiement” for one of my friend’s husband during about 15 years, seeing his childrne grow up, etc: I tell you, it is akward and he did not like it (although being hareidi). So in the end, he was fed up with his wife having friends at her home and he not being involved, so he limited contact (no shabbat invitations any more, hubby is too jealous…)

          • Rabbis Wife says:

            I guess it depends on what you’re expecting. I’m not expecting to have male friends, nor to be “close” with my friends’ husbands. And where I live, they don’t expect it either.

            AS to your particular situation, I can’t say, not knowing more, but if my husband reacted that way, I’d start spending more time with him and less time with my friends. By us, it would mean we hadn’t had good boundaries about how much time we needed as just a couple, to nurture our relationship. Like I said before, everyone has a set amount of “emotional energy” and if one party is consistently spending all of theirs outside the relationship, that’s a problem. I’m not talking about not being there for a friend in crisis, but knowing the long-term limits.

  19. lady lock and load says:

    Don’t worry Hadassah you are way cuter that Rosa! Did you know they came out with a tznius uniform to give to cleaning woman? I am thankful that the Rabbonim have not come out with a ruling that one may not have cleaning help lest hubby become tempted. They say that learning Torah helps men overcome temptation, I say let them learn Torah and work on themselves, this is what Hashem wants.

  20. kisarita says:

    I think it is a hundred percent normal for men and women to be attracted to eachother. These normal feelings do not go away just because you get married. The fact of being married does not automatically mean you are immune, safeguards still need to be taken.
    Even if it never gets to the realm of action, having other distractrions around can’t be good.

  21. shorty says:

    i talked to my husband about this last night, and we agreed its really more about behaviour than looks. flirty, touchy, inappropriate behaviour = bad. period.
    its also really how much of a distraction the hired help will be. finding someone pretty or attractive, well, we’re not dead. we can appreciate beauty in all its forms while we are alive. however, if spouse is fantasizing about this person, perhaps comparing you to them, or flirting, then something should probably be said/done.

  22. Ruth says:

    Aren’t you still living separately from the KoD, most of the time? I can’t imagine how you would live if you thought he could be seduced by any good looking woman in the vicinity. If I felt that way about my husband, I wouldn’t be able to cope with him going to work in the morning!

    I just don’t think this is how people really operate. They don’t decide to violate the terms of their marriages because of uncontrollable sexual urges. A person whose sexual urges are truly uncontrollable is a psychopath. Is a person also supposed to refrain from working with money because he might steal it?

  23. What a load of Horse Hockey! As a married man of 23 years, I find this video to be close minded and insulting and NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH HALACHA!!

    Not sure I follow the logic. Does anyone remember Hugh Grant? Back in the early ’90 he was a big draw Hollywood Actor. He was married to Elizabeth Hurly a equally well known and “pretty” Actress/model. In 1994 he was arrested along with the LA Street Prostitute he was caught with, in the middle of an unmentionable act in his car.

    Personally I do not find the “media promoted representation of Pretty” as my taste. The women that Mrs. Palatnik describes in her video are probably not my taste either. Does that mean my wife now needs to keep my away from every middle aged woman that looks like she gets 3 square meals a day? Where does Mrs. Palatnik’s logic end?

    I work in a company with roughly 3000 employees on campus. Statistically speaking that equated to about 1,500 women that I see and some of who I have to interact on a day to day basis. What should my wife do? Insist I quit my job and work as a Men’s room attendant?

    If professionally I was a lecturer, like Mrs. Palatnik describes in her video, I would love it if my wife came to hear over my lectures. That is if she was there to hear me, and see my interaction with the crowd. If she was there to hold up a sign saying “Hands off Ladies he’s mine”, Lets just say I couldn’t deal with a relationship like that.

    A marriage should be built on trust. If you don’t trust your husband or wife to the degree that you have to hand pick the people they interact with, then your marriage really needs help. I say that in all seriousness.

    As a Jew we have laws of Yichud (A Prohibition of Seclusion amongst member of the opposite sex in private areas). True, like Mrs Palanik suggests, it helps build a fence, but it does so from a halachic standpoint… regardless of Pretty or plain, Skinny or not so skinny, young or old. Yichud is Halacha. Hiring the “not so pretty” cleaning woman is NOT. In the case of the lecturer that Mrs. Palatnik details in her video, she even has an issue with interactions in a non-Yichud public environment!

    So what to do in situations where Yichud is unavoidable? You see someone walking from the store caught in a pouring rain storm, and you give them a ride home. (Just as an example, there are probably better examples) Again, a marriage should be built on trust. I would hope my wife would thank me for being a Mensch and giving Ms X a ride home as oppose to be suspicious that “something happened”.

    As Jews, it’s not only important that we lean Torah, Gemara, Halacha and even as some of us do Chassidus. We need to ACT with the proper middos. As Avos 3:22 says “Anyone whose wisdom is greater than his deeds to what is he comparable? To a tree whose branches are many and whose roots are few, and the wind comes and turns it over”

    Hiring not so pretty “Help” is not going to prevent your spouse from straying. Having the proper Middos will.

  24. Chanief says:

    I feel sorry for Mrs. Palatnik, I think she must be terribly insecure in her marriage!

    I can’t stand the way the video implies that men cannot control themselves and that they are therefore not responsible for their actions. To take it a step further, it would be the wife’s fault for hiring someone more sexually attractive than she is – a completely screwed up message!! I find this message in line with the excessive focus on women’s tznius lest men have lustful thoughts because they saw an exposed ankle.

    Bottom line, if a man wants to cheat he will cheat regardless of what the help looks like. If the help is unpalatable he will cheat with a secretary or a neighbor – or whoever! If a man (or woman) cheats it’s because there are problems in the primary relationship that need to be fixed, not because the woman (or man) the cheater cheated with was just so damned attractive that they couldn’t resist.

  25. sadfa says:

    I don’t understand. All things being equal, why not give fewer tests to the males around you? It’s like saying to minimise nails on the road that could burst a tire, and saying that since there are plenty there, it doesn’t matter if I add more. Be real, and show some sensitivity to men, who have a VERY hard time with this sort of thing. It is insensitive to make their struggle more difficult. I applaud Mrs. Palatnik for her article, and I would suggest that those who condemn it really don’t understand what a difficult time many men have, and they speak from ignorance.

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