Published On: Sat, Jul 11th, 2015

Divine Intervention – A New TV Series by Rabbi Shmuley

rabbi-shmuley 1Today we started filming my new TV series “Divine Intervention, ” which will air nationally in Canada on Vision TV. G-d willing, if it does well here it might be picked up in the United States and beyond. Regardless, it’s a show that I absolutely love. Here’s a link to the pilot .

What I love about the show is that it follows in the same vein as my earlier TV series “Shalom in the Home” on TLC. It repairs families that are in crisis. Over the next few days, I’m going to try to give you a daily update of the episodes that we’re working on, the problems confronting families, and how I try to resolve them.

Today we did three episodes. The first was a woman that we called Jane to protect her identity. She is a victim of violence and domestic abuse. She’s been married to her husband for nearly a quarter of a century. At one point over the past 12 months, he picked her up and threw her against a wall, severely bruising her arms. At other times, he regularly calls her a dog and threatens all kinds of violence against her. The question was why does she stay on this marriage? Of course, there are many women that have experienced domestic violence, yet remain in their marriages. Often, their answer is because of children. Or, they have no place to go. But for other women, it’s because they’re in love with their husband. It takes a lot of convincing to explain that there’s no love in allowing yourself to be beaten.

Some women have such low self esteem that they will tolerate violence in the toxic belief that they did something to actually invite it and deserve it. In this particular case, this woman told me she’s not in love with her husband. Indeed, I gave her a love test consisting of 5 questions that I ask people, and her answers seemed to indicate that she was not in love with her husband.

I came to the conclusion that what she was most afraid of was being left alone–being abandoned and discarded, even from an abusive relationship. At that point, she became very emotional. It became clear that that was the principal reason. My advice her consisted of giving her the courage to undertake a legal separation from her husband, if not indeed an outright ultimatum that he has to get treatment for his violence. It was a very moving episode and Jane was very courageous in discussing her situation. She was shown only in silhouette and we altered her voice to protect her.

Interestingly, on the second episode, we had a man who is Jewish who felt that he had failed his family by not communicating the Jewish tradition to them and all of his children had married outside the Jewish community. It was an intriguing episode given that this is not a Jewish show and it’s for a mainstream audience in Canada. For me, it was a show about identity. Our religious traditions aren’t only about ritual observance. They also constitute an important part of our identity, especially for Jewish people who have kept their traditions for 3, 000 years.

On the show after that, we addressed a couple who have been together for about a year. The husband is an entrepreneur and successful in many businesses, one of which is a women’s lingerie company. As a result, he spends time with the models on photo shoots. His partner is jealous and upset and feels that she constantly has to live with competition from beautiful models in their undergarments. The show examined the nature of jealousy and whether it’s something destructive or something fair. Was Melanie right to be jealous or not?

I hope that you’ll all watch the episodes when they start to air on VisionTV in Canada. There are some great pictures up and I’ve included a collage here. Please also follow the daily Twitter feed as we’re putting up pictures in real time as the show is taped. Wishing you all the best and blessings to all your families.

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