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When My Aryeh Broke

Shimon Breitkopf and Aryeh Ehrlich

She’d always dreamed that he would be a rosh yeshivah, but Rav Ovadiah encouraged her to stand by her husband as he skyrocketed through the very public and stormy world of Israeli politics. In round two of Aryeh Deri’s Knesset career as returning head of Shas, Mrs. Yaffa Deri stood enthusiastically at her husband’s side — and remains there, even as he’s been shamed and shattered.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Last Monday, a few hours before Aryeh Deri submitted his resignation as Shas chairman to the Council of Torah Sages — in an unfolding drama which has yet to close — he telephoned his wife Yaffa with an urgent message: “Come to Palmach quickly,” he said, referring to his brother’s office on Rechov HaPalmach in Jerusalem, where he often goes when he needs to think in solitude.Mrs.Derihad no inkling of the revelation her husband was about to spring on her.“I was very surprised,” YaffaDeritold Mishpacha in an exclusive interview after her husband submitted his resignation from the Knesset — while still alluding to a possible comeback. “Aryeh has never called me to come to the office. If he ever wanted to talk during the day about something important, he would just come home. I realized that he was planning to do something drastic. I dropped everything and ran to meet him.”WhenMrs.Deriarrived, her husband was in turmoil. “He said to me, ‘I’m going to drop out of politics. This is just the beginning. Over the coming days, many things will be done that will dishonor the memory of Maran. I don’t want to be a part of it. This is not the reason I returned to politics,’ ”YaffaDeriremembers. “So I asked him, ‘Aryeh, does this mean you’ve already decided, or do you want to hear my opinion? If you already decided, you could have called me and told me. Why did you ask me to come here?’ He replied, ‘I want to hear what you think about it.’“I thought for a few moments,” YaffaDerirelated, “and finally I told him, ‘I’d rather not offer my opinion. I’ve stood at your side through everything, even the tough things.’ Throughout our life together, he’s always made good decisions; he can foresee the consequences of his choices and look at the big picture. When I saw that his decision came from a desire to protect the honor of the Torah, I decided to support it. After all, we are here only to increase kevod Shamayim. If we aren’t achieving that, then we should close up shop.”

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