Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Horrible Predicament - Moztei Shabbat Movie

Last night, my wife and I went to see a screening of 3 short films directed by students at the Maaleh Religious Film school. Following is one of them.


The movie opens with the wedding pictures of a young, religious, Israeli couple. They could be anyone you know; happiness radiating from the Kalla's face...the Chatan and Kalla posed together, looking at each other with that faraway look of planning a lifetime together.

Then the "beep beep" of a hospital vital-signs monitor.

The camera slowly pans back and you see the unconscious bride in a hospital bed, with her husband quietly holding her hand.

We slowly learn that the Kalla has been comatose for 4 years, and her husband visits her daily. His life has spiraled downwards into a depressing routine of knowing his wife will never wake up as her prognosis is no chance of recovery.

Befriended by a kind nurse, the husband slowly starts rebuilding his life; studying for college entrance exams, getting things back in order, and slowly but surely the inevitable happens.

They fall in love...and want to marry.

The young man obtains the necessary 100 signatures of Rabbis to allow for a Jewish man to halachikally be married to two women simultaneously. Such circumstances are usually extreme, and in the movie even the Chief Rabbi of Israel has signed.

Kneeling by her bedside, the young man informs his comatose wife that he is marrying someone else -- to rebuild his life since he cannot continue living as the husband of a comatose wife. He says he would do the same for her and expect her to do the the same if their roles were reversed.

Overlooking Jerusalem, the wedding ceremony starts -- the Kalla, the Chatan, the Chuppa. As he slides the ring onto his new wife's finger, we see the comatose wife's ring finger suddenly twitch as she lays in her hospital bed.

The wedding guests sing, "Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim -- If I Forget Thee, Jerusaelm," and the Chatan lifts up his foot...and brings it down crushing a glass...the comatose wife's eyes shoot open as her vital-sign monitors all frantically start beeping to life.

The doctors cannot believe she has woken up -- a medical miracle.

Our on-screen husband finds himself in a horribly awkward predicament.



His first wife has awoken, and wants to return to their normal married life.

His second wife wants him to consummate their marriage and for him to divorce his first wife.

The miserable husband now has to make the hardest decision of his life.

What do you think happened? What should he have done? What should his wives have done?


Based on a true story.





Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the movie available online?

When do we get the finale?

Aryeh

Irina Tsukerman said...

My guess is, he would probably have to get a divorce from his first wife, and retain his marriage to the first one. I'm not sure about about the halachic rules on the subject, but from a moral standpoint, he had no idea his first wife was going to come to, and did what he thought was right at the moment. He was blameless in what had transpired, but now had obligations towards his new wife. Perhaps his old wife should be compensated in some way - he'd have to take responsibility for helping her with her medical bills/recover and perhaps try to find her a new husband. But once he got married, the deed was done and it was too late to turn back.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Aryeh: Finale will be posted tomorrow. Maaleh films are too precious to be online downloads.

Irina: No one is blaming the husband, but he's in a miserable situation. No matter what he does, someone gets hurt.

G Green said...

It's not a predicament ... it's a catastrophe"

He only married second wife, as first was comatose and they could not lead a healthy relationship. It would seem that if she was not in a vegetative state, he would not have divorced her, so now that she was back to life, he should have divorced second. But that would only be if he still loved first - his feelings could have waned over 4 years. I am sure the second wife would understand if he divorced her, but it would be like killing the first if he would divorce her - visiting her daily, davening for her recovery, doing all he could to help for 4 years, and then when she does recover he marries someone else. There seems to be little logic for abandoning first wife.

I am sure there is another twist to the end of the story - I will be on the edge of my seat till the outcome is revealed.

Anonymous said...

He married second wife, as first was comatose and could not lead a healthy relationship. It would seem that if she was not in a vegetative state, he would not have divorced her, so now that she was back to life, he should have divorced second. But that would only be if he still loved first - his feeame=

Anonymous said...

He married second wife, as first was comatose and could not lead a healthy relationship. It would seem that if she was not in a vegetative state, he would not have divorced her, so now that she was back to life, he should have divorced second. But that would only be if he still loved first - his fee了点时间,整理了这个Blog的template……前天不小心选择了新模板结果丢失了Sidebar的链接……背景图片都得用代理下载然后上传到CS服务器,因为默认的背景图片是在blogblog.com上的,链接到其他站就无法显示。OK,所以现在的看起来要舒服一些

嗯,而且据说SiteSled.com在清理一些无英文网页的帐号,所以偶只能启用http://www.chinaspurs.com/blog/marc 的域名,也就是说即使换空间,从http://www.chinaspurs.com/blog/marc 总能成功找到M的……

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Ezzie said...

Based on a true story!? Really!?

Terrible, terrible predicament.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Ezzie: Thats what the credits said...and Maaleh's a very serious film school.

And wow...comments in chinese. That's a first. And I thought my first foreign language comments would be Arabic (not including Hebrew ;-)

Chana said...

I think (this has no halakhic basis, it's just my thought) he has to remarry/ keep the first wife.

He only met and fell in love with the kind nurse because he could not, as soemone said above, lead a healthy relationship with the first woman. That doesn't give him the right to summarily divorce her because of it.

Let's take a less extreme example.

Suppose a man suffers from amnesia (all right, not amnesia, but something that blocks out his memory.) He wakes up in a hospital and has no idea who he is. A kind nurse cares for him, and he falls in love with her. Later on, he decides to enter into a sexual relationship with her, and still later, he proposes to her.

Except the man is already married.

He had tried finding out about his past and family, but had failed before, so having exhausted all avenues of inquiry, thought he was free and decided to marry.

Enter the "other wife" into the siutation. She finds her husband. He doesn't remember her. Finally, he ends up remembering her.

So he returns to her, and ditches the other woman.

Then, of course, things get very ugly and unhappy.

You know where I came up with that whole scenario? Definitely not from my own head. It's from a soap opera called As the World Turns.

If you actually want to read about the whole scenario, start from the paragraph 'A year later' on this site.

Now, if we don't think soap operas are credible sources, let's talk about some classics, Jane Eyre specifically.

Mr. Rochester is hiding a crazy wife in his upstairs room. And he wants to marry Jane. It's even possible he could get away with it. Except he can't. Because, like it or not, he is married to the insane woman, and he will not be free until she dies.

It's a very unhappy, sad situation. But I think that what happens there is just. Mr. Rochester has had a very hard life, and I feel a lot of sympathy for his character, but he is married to the woman...and he cannot marry Jane, too.

Same thing here. The man was married to the comatose woman. He cannot just "divorce her" or dispose of her to get his "Jane Eyre." That's not the way a just world works.

Okay...so there you get my view, based on soaps and classics- and still, to me, the truth. ;) What next?

RR said...

Wow, I was wondering throughout if it was a true story. How tragic! Can't wait to hear the ending.

MUST Gum Addict said...

The easiest way to think about this story is from the perspective of the two women. Sure, one women is chosen and one is not. One woman will be happy and one will not.

But I wonder how many people will look at it from the other side of the coin -- the husband will never be able to live with himself. Obviously, he was dedicated to his first wife because he visited her every day and asked her permission to marry another. If he stays married to the nurse, how will he be able to live happily knowing he left her hanging? On the other hand, if the husband divorces the nurse, he will forever question whether or not he should have married her instead. It is obvious they shared a lot over the years together.

If it were an american movie, we know how it would end. The nurse would take a pillow to the first wife and make it look like she committed suicide so that her husband could stay married to the nurse...

exsemgirl said...

It is truely a terrible matzav to be in and whichever choice he makes no-one can critisize him either way. And no-one can make the decision for him...

Tobie said...

See, the fascinating thing about all this halachically is that he is married to both of them. Simultaneously. Having got a waver of the prohibition of bigamy, it isn't a question of re-marrying one or the other. It's a question of divorcing one of his two wives. (That is, assuming that they aren't okay with the bigamy thing...)

Jerusalemcop said...

why doews he need to divorce wither of them? he got the 100 signatures, so halachikly he can be married to both women.

What I never understood about halacha allowing bigomy is that it isn't easy having one wife, why would someone want 2?

J.

Jerusalemcop said...

BTW, how does LKuke Skywalker fit into this predicament? He never had a comatose wife.

J.

ליפא שנילצער said...

"Based on a true story"

hopefully the only true part in this story is that chuson and kallah got married

Tovya @ Zion Report said...

Actually, that sounds kind of prophetic really...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

J-cop: Note the 2 suns on the skyline. Sheesh, for an ex-cop, you don't seem to notice much!

Lipa: Sorry, if this were make believe, I would have said so.

Tobie: You are correct...he doesn't need to remarry anyone. In the movie, each wife expressed a definite position that he should divorce the other wife.

Chana: I knew I could count on you for an in- depth comment analysis...but using a soap opera as proof??! No Broadway musical or agadata? I'll accept it anyway :)

Must Gum: I totally felt for the guy - he was in such an awful situation...(not that the women weren't either).

Anyway - I'll post a followup on this tomorrow.

tafka PP said...

You'd better! We're all waiting...

StepIma said...

It really is an awful position...

From the point of view of "shoulds" and shouldn't"s, if he found out before the second marriage was consummated, then was it technically a marriage? (leaving feelings out of it, which is, of course, impossible).

From a real-world perspective, if he truly loved his first wife, then must-gum is right. And I need to add on to that. No matter how much he loves his second wife, she will always know that he didn't leave his first wife because of a break-up, or a true divorce, or any of the reasons that marriages normally end. It's hard enough being in a "rebound" relationship and knowing it - always wondering if the person you're with is secretly longing for the one he left behind. But to know for a fact that if things had been different he wouldn't be with you at all... her married life with him will always be tinged with an emotional past she can't erase. Even if his first wife remained in the coma, their marriage would be difficult, because she would know that a part of him wouldn't really be hers - they would probably always have spent some time visiting the hosipital together, and have a connection together over the "body" of his "former" wife. Now that shared finite past would be gone, and replaced with a living set of memories that are his alone... and a constant threat to her emotionally.

Under those circumstances, no matter how much he loved her, I would call his second marriage doomed from the start. No woman could willingly stay married to someone she always suspected was thinking about another woman. And especially not another woman he used to love, who loved him still.

I can't wait to find out how this ends... if it's really true, I feel so awful for all of them...

Elster said...

What's the difference how it ended? ztyhe fact is that each person would make a unique choice. Whatever this particular guy ended up doing doesn't make it the "rigth" choice that everyone seems so anxious to hear.

And besides, if you want to know what happens, just turn in to your favorite afternoon soap; they probably re-cycle this very stroyline every 3 or 4 years. I can verufy that with my wife if you guys want.

Jerusalemcop said...

Of course everyone knows that Tatooine has two suns, but Luke didn't have to chooss between them.

I was looking at it from the perspective that maybe you were implying that Luke was trying to make a decision between the two suns (which he wasnt). He was staring at the sunset out of pure boredom (since Uncle Owen wouldn't let him go to Toshe Station with his friends.)

Sheeesh... you say I dont know whats going on.....

Elchonon said...

i'd have jumped off the bridge!!

rockofgalilee said...

I'd say stay married to both of them. If one of them doesn't want to remain "in" then he could grant her the divorce.

Jack's Shack said...

I'd go out and get a third wife, maybe even a fourth. Might as well go for broke.

ifyouwillit said...

What is the halachic basis of the 100 Rabbi's signing the ishur to allow him to remarry. It sounds a bit like "if enough people think you can do it, you can".

I am sure it is just something I have never heard of before more than anything else.

MC Aryeh said...

Just a horrible situation all around. I think he stayed with the second wife, or they agreed to both be married to him. As to what he or they should have done? No way to answer this satisfactorily....the suspense is torturous and I came to this a day late!

rockofgalilee said...

ifyouwillit,

The ban on bigamy is rabbinic. Part of the ban included an out that if you can get enough people to say that it is ok in your situation, then the ban is overruled.

amechad said...

I want to see them deal with the aguna / meserevet get problem instead.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

amechad: actually, and obviously, they do deal with the agnua/mesarevet get problems.

more on that another posting.

ifyouwillit said...

Rock of Galilee: Why is 100 considered enough? It's not a number we really use. There are numbers that judaism considers significant, and they are usually odd numbers too.

the sabra said...

this 'horrible predicament' reminds me of those 'would you rather' books. each page gives ya a choice of two options that you must choose between, both equally atrocious. who remembers some of the absurd examples??

swiftthinker said...

I saw an excellent movie that was very similar to this. It was a foreign language movie called Brothers. There are two brothers, one very responsible with a wife and family, and one which has never really grown up and drinks irresponsibly all day. Responsible brother gets sent off to war and wife soon gets word that he is killed in war. Irresponsible brother starts coming around the wife's house more and helping her around the house due to guilty feelings of her and the kids being left alone. Inevitably they fall in love and he temporarily moves in. They feel too guilty to follow through on their feelings and nothing really happens between them. All the while the responsible brother returns home surprisingly after being held a POW. Wife does the right thing and goes back to responsible brother all the while trying to fight her feelings for irresponsible one. Even though she did "what she was supposed to" the responsible brother had completely changed due to his experiences at war. He was a totally different person than the one who she initially married. This brings me back to your story. The first wife is probably a very different person than the girl he initially married after being in a hospital for 4 years. He is different after being at her bedside for 4 years. Things might not work for them while at the time when she woke up things are working for him and wife #2.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

SwiftThinker: Thanks for your comment; you just reminded me of a smiliar situation in "Pearl Harbor" -- granted, its not brothers, and they weren't married, but they were best friends.

Jeff said...

cheating husband

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