5 January 2018

Published January 3, 2018 by rochellewisoff


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Although we think of arranged marriage as something that happened in Fiddler on the Roof, many cultures still adhere to the custom today, including Ultra Orthodox Jews. The following is a scene from my first novel PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME. The year is 1902 and takes place in a little village in Eastern Europe. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

BEHIND THE VEIL

“Mama?”

White satin gleamed in the lamplight. Straightening to ease the ache wracking her spine, Fruma Ya’el set the gown aside.

“What’s troubling you, child?”

“This wedding’s a mistake.” Gittel knelt and laid her head in Fruma Ya’el’s lap.

Fruma Ya’el’s heart ached for her girls. Any fool could see Havah and Arel had fallen in love. What could she do? Betrothal papers were signed years ago.

 She combed her fingers through Gittel’s auburn hair. “Some things cannot be changed. Arel’s love for you will grow over time, as will yours for him. You believe this don’t you?”

“Do you?”

 

133 comments on “5 January 2018

    • Dear Gabriel

      The irony with Gittel is that when I first conceived of the situation I saw her as being a shrew who would rub her betrothal to Arel in Havah’s face. From the first draft on, Gittel ‘wrote herself’ as a truly wonderful person. Through it all, Havah loved her and never blamed her. Admittedly, Havah’s not always the easiest person to like. While she’s not selfish, she is determined.
      I’m happy you stopped by to read. 😀 Thank you and Happy New Year.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Really great piece, Rochelle. Arranged marriages are still the norm is a few cultures. In a way it makes sense, since the idea was that offspring form alliances between families (and even nations). The concept of marriage being a legal contract that compels both parties to be happy is a relatively new one.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Beautiful story.. bit sad.. but reality. Arranged Marriages are the norm in our culture in India. But, that doesn’t mean our family is against love marriages. Many in my family are having love marriages. Both have their own benefits.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A great “slice of life” scene and my heart aches for the person who marries with serious doubts like this. You have such a gift for lifting out a scene that will generate discussion. 🙂

    Although I’m not at all in favour of arranged marriages, one can’t say that marrying for love is batting a thousand these days, either. The biggest advantage of arranged marriages is commitment to marriage as well as commitment to the person. In those cultures there’s seldom a back door, no OUT if it doesn’t work. (Which is the biggest problem if they end up hating each other.)
    As our cousin Rose said with a grin, “We’ve been married fifty years and never once talked divorce. Murder, yes. Divorce, never.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Balaka,

      Thank you for weighing in on the subject. It does seem that India’s in the lead for arranged marriages. I’ve heard both pros and cons. But then, the results of love marriages aren’t exactly glowing endorsements. 😉

      Shalom and Happy New Year,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • The arranged marriages in the novel laid a foundation for intrigue, love-hate relations and the possibility of many outcomes. Of course, that means you don’t want to lay the book down because you have to know what happens. Well, anyway, that is what happened with me. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Decades ago I knew a young woman from India whose parents tried to arrange her marriage. She rebelled and complained bitterly but they asked her just to meet him and get to know him. She did and eventually they did marry quite willingly. Of course, I’m sure it doesn’t always turn out that way, and didn’t in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I could picture this scene in my head very easily. It’s actually lovely and warm even though Gittel is being pushed into a marriage she doesn’t want. This story felt real to me. That’s due to to some great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Another thought-provoking snippet provided. 🙂
    I chased my wife until she caught me. We’d been married about ten years, when I overheard her tell a neighbor, “I married him because he was very intelligent, and I thought that smart men made a lot of money.” Oh, you seductive vixen, you had me at ‘credit check.’ We just passed our 50th wedding anniversary, so I understand the ‘murder, yes – divorce, no’ idea. 😯
    Happy and productive New Year, guys. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Archon,

      Congratulations, you’re officially an oddity. Anymore 5 years is some kind of a record, let alone 50. We’re 4 years behind you unless one of us does the other one in. 😉 Thank you re my snippet.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • One of the benefits you gain from reworking these excerpts from your novels is that you have thought intensively about all the characters. They have back stories that are adequate for a novel. And that really shows in what you contribute to FF every week. Good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    You know… I figure there is a 50/50 chance that the marriage will work out. As mentioned above, more than half of the “love” marriages end in divorce. That said, having read the novel(s), I so know how this will play out 😉

    Lotsa love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

  • Like Dale, I know how it ends but it was a nice revisit. I love the question “Do you?” I played tennis with a young girl who was in an arranged marriage. She was happy and didn’t have any regrets (although she had a lot of children for her age) but I think these days she may well be the exception, especially in a western society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      In the book there’s not a lot of silence following. However, Fruma Ya’el, who is in a loveless, arranged marriage, knows what the answer is. 😉 Thank you and Happy New Year. ❤

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Anurag,

      I’ve heard a lot about arranged marriages in India…especially this week. 😉 Both pros and cons. Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off…either way, marriage is a hit or miss proposition, isn’t it?

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Good excerpt from your book, Rochelle. Fathers were trying to provide security for their children but it was as hard as life at the time. In some parts of the world, it still exists. In my husband’s family, the arrangement is with the consent of the woman and man and isn’t forced. Some make love marriages. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  • It’s a tough call. Many of us have a knee jerk reaction against arranged marriage, but who’s to say a well considered match agreed on all sides couldn’t be just as successful in the long term as a love match. Goodness knows most of those don’t work out! A poignant scene, Rochelle and I love how you’ve made it so for all concerned, conveyed the fact that there is an inevitability about such things as far as the characters are concerned. Brava!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      In my books I also have arranged marriages that did work out well. But I wouldn’t want to divulge too much. 😉 It is hard for us who have so much freedom of choice to imagine being subject to such ‘oppressive’ customs. On the other hand what we call love doesn’t always endure, does it? 😦 Thank you for your affirming comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so right on all counts Rochelle. It’s impossible to predict which relationships will endure long term, arranged or otherwise. Respect, understanding, tolerance, all count for a lot even after the passion fades. A great read

        Like

  • My heart aches for Gittel. No one should have to go through this cruelty . However, in my part of the world it still is a common scene, you know, not allowing one’s sons and daughters to marry the person of their choice if he/ she is not ‘suitable’ enough.
    Mine is an arranged marriage too but thankfully our hearts were still with us and we happened to like each other right from the first email.
    I love your wonderful excerpt,Rochelle. Makes me want to know more about them and their future. Also , makes me think how love in a marriage is much more than mushy words and feelings.
    A very Happy New Year to you and your family.
    Best wishes,
    Moon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Moon,

      Naturally I hope you’ll read the book to find out more. 😉 (And the other two after that. How am I doing on the pushy scale?)
      I’m glad that things have worked for you and your husband. I don’t believe arranged marriage is all bad. It’s worked for many for centuries. Orthodox Jews in America still practice the custom.
      Happy New Year to you and yours.

      Shalom,,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Such a sad situation here. It makes me wonder how they all got on in the book. In India, arranged marriages still happen and people just grit it out. Love is not expected, and people perform their roles with a sense of duty. If love blooms, it’s a bonus. 🙂 I guess both kinds of marriages have their pros and cons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joyful,

      This has turned out to be an interesting topic of discussion this week. Love it! For Gittel it’s particularly sad because she knows her sister Havah is in love with Gittel’s husband to be.
      On the flip side, an increasing number of ‘love’ marriages end in divorce. Commitment is a word that is hardly understood any more. :/ Thank you for reading and commenting. Nice to see you back amongst us this week.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • My first marriage was arranged at our births, so very close together. My first husband and I grew up knowing that we’d always have each other, all our lives. We didn’t think any differently and we honestly, truly, and whole-heartedly loved each other as friends long before the day of our marriage. It was our dream come true the day we said our vows. Two and a half weeks later, when we lowered him into the earth I wanted nothing more than to go there with him. Still, even today, when I think of him, my heart bubbles over with love and joy. I am beyond thankful for having him in my life. Not all arranged marriages are a negative experience. I so loved your story, Rochelle, and how they grew to love one another. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have it on my nook and am re-reading what I have. Still waiting to hopefully get the last one you wrote. Maybe later this month. Got a grocery card for Christmas…not arguing as it was what we truly needed.
        Shalom, Jelli

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Stevie,

      That’s actually not a bad idea. I mean we have to renew our drivers’ licenses, food handlers permits, liquor licenses…why not marriage licenses? I wonder how many renewals there would be. Thoughts to ponder. Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget your tube of Preparation H and grab some Fruity Pebbles on the way out. (Made with real pebbles).

      Shalom,

      Countess Purpula W(T)F

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just a word of forewarning . . .
        I’m turning Criminal Mimes into a longer story (possibly novella length). In addition to stealing the invisible box and Do Not Remove tags, our little white-faced fiend (that’s right fiend–not a typo) is a cereal killer. Naturally, she only finishes off varieties that are high in fiber and taste like hay–talk about one sick individual.

        Even if Lowry does catch her, I’m not sure what kind of institution they’ll put her in.
        I sure feel sorry for her poor, long-suffering husband. 🙂

        Perhaps we should collaborate on a children’s version of this. You could do the illustrations and I write the story. Together we could be Dr. Sheesh. What’d ya think?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dan,

      As you can see by going through my comment section, this has stirred up quite a discussion. For many in India and in Orthodox Judaism, this custom still works. And we can see just how many love marriages end in divorce. Thank you for reading and commenting. Always appreciated.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • There are a lot of love triangles in opera, too, but not many happy endings there. When Aida’s lover, General Radames, refused to marry the princess Amneris, he and Aida were buried alive and left to die.

    Free will is always better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • Very nice excerpt from your book. Forced marriages where the bride (or groom) is coerced into marrying someone is always wrong. And so is marrying a stranger (and now we have reality TV shows that do that).

    Thirty years back who would have thought of marrying someone you’ve known only through the internet.

    And what is love? Is it really denied to people who get thrown together by matchmakers? If you cannot communicate with your partner the marriage will fail – love or arranged. But a triangle always complicates things – to the delight of the author ;-).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      If there’s one thing I have no use for it’s “reality” TV. Of course before the internet there were mail order brides and people did meet through correspondence. I guess we’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places for centuries. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I am not against arranged marriages. It is a big part of muslim culture. Although most marriages in my community are love marriages. And yes, many of these love marriages do end in divorce. Arranged marriages, if performed when both parties are adults, have the benefit of objectivity which long term partnerships require. Love marriages could benefit from the brutal honesty that objectivity lends, sometimes love is all about what we wish to see in another person instead of what is really there.
    Lovely sketch, Rochelle, I am intrigued!

    Liked by 2 people

  • I have worked with people of other cultures where marriages were arranged and some seem to thrive as well or better than those of choice. The marriage relationship is complex. The reasons two people chose each other are not always for the best. Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Susan,

      As Westerners who have been fed a steady diet of movies and love stories, it’s difficult to fathom that an arranged marriages might actually work. Although, in the 19th century, mail order brides weren’t unheard of and today there’s eHarmony. 😉 Just sayin’. Thank you. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Varad,

      While I always enjoy compliments on my writing, what I’ve enjoyed most bout this week has been the feedback and discussion sparked by my little snippet. In my novels there are good arranged marriages as well. 😉 At any rate, I love the cultural exchange and am happy to know that your marriage is one of the good ones. 😀 May it always be so. Thank you

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • But it worked out for them, albeit in a tragic way.
    I’ve read a few books where the marriage was arranged and it seems people mostly grow to love one and other. I wonder what the real percentages are. I have married twice and didn’t choose well either time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dawn,

      There are no guarantees, are there? Even when you’ve married the love of your life. Poor Arel really did love both Gittel and Havah and I’m sure would have stayed with Gittel…but, hey, I’ve already given too much away. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Lovely excerpt. I can feel the Gittel’s sadness.

    Like you, I don’t think all arranged marriages are necessarily bad. It gives a couple an opportunity to be friends and friendship can last a lot longer than lust. Considering that I write a lot of romances, that viewpoint might seem ironic. 🙂

    Like

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