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Some people marry for money. I am
convinced that some people marry for smell. It's clear, at any rate, that many people do
not get married because of smell.
People vary in the manner to which they let smell affect their lives. Perhaps you aren't
enthralled with the body odor of your husband or wife, but you go on living with them
anyway. On the other hand, what happens if you don't get along well?
In this case, ostensibly minor inconveniences (including smells) may take on elephantine
Thus, on occasion, a wife will bring her husband in (or vice versa) for consultation. We
smell the husband's mouth and ask the wife to do the same. We find that the husband has a
low level odor, but the wife proclaims: "Do you smell that? It's awful."
In extreme cases, the spouse's malodor becomes grounds for divorce. I was once asked to
appear as a witness in such a divorce dispute (luckily, I was eight thousand miles away
and was spared this unpleasant situation). Actually, according to ancient Jewish law, if a
man marries a woman, and finds out after the marriage that her breath stinks, not only can
he divorce her summarily, but he is exempt from fulfilling the terms of the marriage
Islamic tradition tells us about the sultan, whose breath was so terrible, that flies were
afraid to come near his mouth. He once gave his wife an apple, and was surprised to find
that she cut away the part he had eaten. When he inquired as to the reason, she told him.
He immediately got rid of her.