What Do I Need To Know When I Speak to My Rabbi?
Margaret E. Retter, Esq.
If you are contemplating whether or not to stay with your spouse, (him or her) and you think that you need the advice of your Rav, Rabbi, or Rebbi, here is a list of the questions, that he will most likely ask you. Review these questions carefully so that you are PREPARED and REMEMBER the issues of Confidentiality. (Please see the article entitled “When you speak to your Rabbi,…”.) I cannot stress this enough!
* Remember to tell the Rav that must keep everything told to him as CONFIDENTIAL!
* DO NOT have any other person in the room! Unless it is your attorney, NO ONE ELSE should be in the room (not your mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, child, etc.)
*DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERS!
The Rabbi’s first question should always be:
ARE YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN IN PHYSICAL DANGER BY YOUR SPOUSE?
And then the Rav should inquire as follows:
1. What do you think about your spouse, him/her generally?
2. How do you feel about him? Do you still have feelings for your spouse or feel nothing?
3. What do you think his feelings are about you?
4. When do you think the trouble started and why?
5. What happened?
6. Are you and your spouse communicating? How are you speaking with each other?
7. Are you living in the same house? And if yes, are you sleeping in the same bedroom? If not, where does he sleep?
8. Are you being abused? How? (physical, mental, emotional)
9. How do you feel you are being abused? If physical, are you in fear?
10. When did the abuse start? Did you tell anyone? Did you go to your doctor or to the police station? Do you have any police or medical reports? Any photos?
11. Were your children present when this happened? Did the children witness what happened? If yes, what did the children see? What did the children say? If no, how do the children know you are being abused?
12. Was anyone else present?
13. How did the abuse manifest itself? (Please give some examples.)
14. How did the emotional abuse manifest itself? (Please give some examples.)
a. Calling you names, yelling, cursing you, threatening you
b. Withholding money
c. Isolating you from your family,
d. Taking away credit cards,
e. Locking you in the house,
f. Keeping you from contacting your family,
g. You are constantly in fear.
15. Does your spouse have any addictions? (drugs, gambling, drinking, smoking)
16. Do you have a computer? Is it used primarily for work? Is your husband using the computer late at night? Do your husband look at pornography?
17. Do you have a TV? What shows do you watch? Do you and your spouse watch together?
18. Who are your spouse’s friends?
19. Who is your husband’s Rav? Where did he go to Yeshiva? Who was his Rosh Yeshiva? Does he “learn”?
20. Is your husband close to his Rav? Does he confide in him? Does your husband discuss his problems with his Rav? Would his Rav be helpful if he was apprised of the situation at home?
21. Where does your husband go to Shul? any shiurim? any Tzedaka organizations?
22. Have you seen a marriage counselor or therapist? If yes, what was the professional opinion?
23. How many do you have? Ages?
24. What yeshiva and/or schools do the children attend?
25. What kind of relationship does each child have with his/her father?
26. How much time does he spend with the children? How do they spend time together?
27. Does their father give you money for the children’s needs, clothes? Does he pay tuition?
28. If your husband is not physically living with you, does he financially support the family?
29. Where is your money located? Are they joint or separate bank accounts?
30. Do you and/or your husband own any property? Stocks? Bonds? IRAs? Pension plans?
31. Do you have any credit cards? Are they jointly held?
32. Do you have any safety deposit boxes?
33. Do you get an Allowance?
34. Do you think that there are any assets hidden?
35. Do you have any accounts in your name only?
36. Did you receive any money, property, from your family prior to your marriage? If yes, what did you receive?
37. Did you receive any money property, from your family after your marriage? If yes, what did you receive?
38. Were any gifts made to your children? By whom?
39. How are you supporting yourself now?
40. Are you currently employed? If yes, where do you work and what is your income?
41. Who cares for your children when you are not at home?
42. Did you sign a prenuptial agreement?
43. Where did you get married?
44. Were you civilly married? Where?
REMEMBER again…tell the Rav that everything said is to remain Confidential, AND DO NOT SIGN ANY PAPERS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
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