‘Studs’ and ‘Sluts’

I find the headline of this article offensive. Nevertheless, it is intended to share a feeling.

In this era, men who are married and go in search of other women for sexual favors are considered “studs”, while married or unmarried women who yield to them frequently are called “sluts”.

Usually I look into the bible for some evidence which can sustain a feeling or a thought. The only character I could consider a “stud” is King David. I could not find evidence of a Hebrew woman “slut”.

The reference to a prostitute would be to Rahab of Jericho who hid Joshua’s spies on her roof. There is also no evidence that David had raped Bathsheba. Rather, she yielded to the king’s advances willingly.

And after the deaths of Er and Onan, Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and was impregnated by her father-in-law who did not recognize her veiled face. Tamar’s trickery was not  that of a prostitute. Both of her husbands had died and she desperately wanted to bear a child.

When her father-in-law learned that Tamar was pregnant he wanted to have her put to death but first he inquired by whom she was pregnant. When she showed him his staff and signet ring which he had given her in payment, he bowed his head in shame and cried out “you are far more righteous than I”.

I was 18 years old when I first happened to notice the secret lives of studs and sluts. My friend Avraham lived in the house next door in Rishon. I would see his father leave for work every morning. And about an hour later, another man would knock at their door every morning. As he finished and was leaving the home, I saw Avraham’s mother in a nightgown kissing the man goodbye with the same loud words each morning. “L’hitraot Machar”… see you tomorrow.

I was very innocent of extra-marital sexual relations and was unable to understand how a married woman, mother of children, could betray her husband with another man. Believe it or not, I am still unable to understand it!!

In later years I saw much more of it in Israel and I was painfully disillusioned. My oldest friend, a classmate in Jerusalem, was happily married to a very beautiful and loving wife born in France. They seemed to my wife and to me to be an ideal couple, blessed with three fine children. Both he and his wife were at our wedding in Tel-Aviv in January 1960.

My friend had joined the Israeli diplomatic service and his first post was in London. He, his wife and children remained in London for several years. Upon their return to Jerusalem, his wife took an office position in the Jerusalem Shoe Factory while he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

One morning, he came home earlier and noticed a car parked in front of his home. The car belonged to his wife’s boss. My friend said nothing but the next morning he returned home early, saw the same car in front of his home, and put the key in the lock of the entrance door quietly only to discover his wife in bed with her boss, both of them completely naked.

The divorce followed soon after. My friend was not a stud. His wife had been his only love. When he informed me of the sad and sordid event, I was at a loss for words. How can such a thing happen after 14 years of a happy marriage and family?

Two years later, the very wonderful and devoted son of his widowed mother, my friend for more than 60 years, ended his marriage of several years when he discovered that his wife had been unfaithful with more than one man frequently.

Another divorce. He got custody of his two sons who now despised their mother.

There are so many similar tales, Moshe Dayan being the greatest unfaithful husband of all ,and  a married president who had sexual relations with several young women in the presidential residence, and members of our government who take brief “vacations” with other women while the wives remain at home.

I often think that infidelity in marriage is an Israeli national sport. Of course, in some countries like France  it is expected and accepted that a husband may take a mistress. But for me, as marriage under the chuppah with a ketuba is a solemn obligation to remain loving and faithful. When love fades, divorce is a way out… a legal and acceptable way. Studding and slutting in the Israel I know still offends me.

But in our Jewish state, “ha kol b’seder”…. Everything is OK. Anything goes.

Maybe for others. Thankfully, not for me.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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