The Transitory Marriage – Judaism Trains for Marriage, Society Trains for Divorce – 16 Lessons for Peaceful Marriage

Marriage is a challenge. Two people from totally different backgrounds, mentalities, ideals share a house together. How can it work?

Responsibility

Torah sanctions responsibilities of each partner. It is upon each partner to make the marriage work.

Similarity

Torah sanctions that people from same religion marry – Jews marry Jews. Thus people start off with similar mentalities. They have similar material and spiritual goals in life. Their family is guided by Torah.

Marrying for the right reasons – good character traits

In Torah we try to choose a mate with good middot – good character traits. This helps us to get someone with a personable personality. A  person with a kind heart, a giving person, someone with Torah values. This prevents much marital stress. Choosing a mate from a good family also can help the long term of the marriage.

Youthful Marriage

Torah says that a person should marry young – thus people are more flexible and less set in their ways. The Torah tells men of the the Mitzvah / commandment to get married.

Procreation & Children

Torah says people are to “be fruitful & multiply.” – thus people share a common goal of bringing up children in the path of the Torah. (Talmud: Yevamot 63b).

Torah as a Guide

As the Torah is a guide of the couples – the couple looks to fulfill it’s halachot / laws – thus reducing further stress. If there is a disagreement – they go ask a competant Orthodox rabbi.

Mutual Respect

The Torah tells us of the responsibility of the man to honor his wife. It tells how to act properly with all people.

Trust & Faithfulness

The Torah will tell it like it is. It sanctions the importance of trust, faithfulness, and respect of each mate.

Yielding to the Other

Torah instructs the individual of Yielding to the other party. Some things we hold firmly upon – like observing Torah laws – yet even that must be done in a tactful way.

Peace at Home / Shalom Bayit

Torah teaches lessons of importance of and how to have peace at home.

Tolerance

Torah sanctions respect for each individual – regardless of what they did. It sanctions for a person to refrain from speaking badly of others (Laws of Lashon Hara) even if that person actually did the bad deed.

Building a Family

The Torah gives individuals the Tools to build a beautiful family. The family is built through participating in Shabbat & festival meals together. In praying together. In learning Torah together. In sharing opinions and open-minded discussions together. In singing together. In vacationing together. A person’s life is intermingled with that of their family in positive interactions together.

Building Relationships

I overheard Rabbi Benjamin Yochanan speaking with a young man at a Group Shiur / Learning session. The Rabbi talked of the beauty of a Torah lifestyle. The young man replied “You have to enjoy life. I want to enjoy life.” The rabbi asked “What do you like to do?” He said “I Like skydiving.” The rabbi said – “When you do skydiving – you are living only for yourself. When you practice Torah you live thousand’s of lives.” “How so?” he asked. “When you live a Torah life – you live the lives of others. You hear people’s chalenges. You rejoice in their joys. You help people with their problems. You support others emotionally. You are participating in all their lives.”

Building a Spiritual Fulfilling Existence

Marriage helps a person achieve their potential. A man is not complete without a wife. She helps him to become the best he can be. Together they build a beautiful home in this world and the next world. They live a spiritually fulfilling existence together through the Torah.

Prayer to Hash-m

Hash-m / G-d helps a person to have peace at home. We pray for all that we need spiritually and physically.

Answering to a Higher Authority – Pleasing G-d and Man

In Torah we answer to a higher authority – Hash-m. This fact helps us to have boundaries that limit our negative reaction and encourage positivism. Thus a person who is angry – remembers that their spouse may just be an agent of G-d responding to their past imperfection in action. Thus reactions are tempered.

Ideals of Society

Now let’s take the ideals of society.

Rights vs Responsibility

Society – talks of Rights – woman’s rights, minority rights, animal rights and so on. So people live with certain expectations – “I have my right to demand what I want – it is may right.”

Now each person is demanding that their rights be met. Not a good mentality for a marriage.

Marry Whoever You Meet

Nowadays – many marry without thought of compatibility in Torah values, personality, religion, mentalities. The closer one is in mentality to the mate – the less stress. Intermarriage – not sanctioned by Torah – causes great stress between mates. One wants to observe this holiday – the other another. This one believes in one G-d this one believes in idolatry. Each thing causing stress.

Hutzpa Yazge – Arrogance

The Torah says in time before Mashiach / Messiah – Arrogance will increase. It is very apparent – in the News media – of how people who trash others are more respected. They will stop at nothing to break another individual – if he or she has done good or bad. The US court – went against a Texas state court – that made a law to protect fetus rights. People regularly destroy each friends and family members in cafes and restaurants.

Single Life vs. Married Life

Society condones personal, fleeting pleasure.If it gives a person pleasure – society says it is good. They sanction living the “Life of Riley.” Big cars – beautiful houses – the pursuit of pleasure.Distracting them from getting married.

Pleasure without purpose vs Pleasure for Purpose

More people are saying single than ever before. Why? Because they are following pleasure without purpose. The Torah tells people to enjoy life – but the pleasures should have purpose. Pleasures for Purpose – build. Pleasures without purpose – destroy, waste time or at the least accomplish nothing for the betterment of the world.

The Torah sanctions pleasures for purpose.

Family Life is Put as Secondary Ideal

People want independence. Having a family introduces responsibility. Some people refrain from birthing children – because they want to enjoy life.

Homosexuality vs. Being Straight

Society accepts and condones homosexuality. The Torah says homosexuality is forbidden. Although the Torah says to respect all people – it forbids same gender marriage and homosexuality. Homosexuality leads to great reduction in population growth, goes against the commandment to procreate and causes a person to live a life devoid of children. A person who chooses their life as such – will end up alone at the end of their life. They will not have a legacy to continue their genes – for they will have chosen this lifestyle.

A person who chooses marriage to the opposite gender – brings life into the world. This helps them to keep the marriage going because they are involved in a great Mitzvah to build the world together.

Ideals of society as a Guide – You are What You Read

A rabbi I was learning with said – if a person reads newspapers – their mentality will be based upon that newspaper. Newspapers and media usually project ideals contrary to faithfulness and morality. Immorality sells newspapers. In marketing they use the term “appealing to the lowest common denominator” – meaning to values and feelings of even the most immoral portions of society. I don’t think that that is a preferable way to bring up a family or lead a married life.

Promiscuity vs. Faithfulness

The more you see a certain thing – the more you find it to be acceptable behavior. Promiscuity is sanctioned by society, movies, media. Yet it is a total marriage breaker.

I could go on on both lists of How Torah strengthens marriage and society has the opposite effect – but enough said.

Materialism vs. Spirituality

Materialism is a very important aspect of society’s values. Keep up with the Joness it says. Thus Having the latest gadgets puts stree on the marriage when one of the spouse doesn’t deliver materially. Material issues, I believe I read once is one of the Top reasons for marital discord.

Glamor vs. Reality

The world lives on glamor, entertainment, games and sports. If used sparingly – it is ok. But if a person bases their life on these ideals – it could cost them their marriage.

For instance a person may want to marry a glamorous woman or a rich man. Ok – he is rich or she is glamorous – but will she be so spoiled to beat the husband when angry? Or will the rich person be stingy? Will she teach Torah values to children or go shopping on Shabbat or sit and have a Shabbat party together with the kids. Will he watch sports all day or have a conduct a beautiful Shabbat meal with songs and words of Torah?

Will the mate be stuck to their telephone or be concerned about maintaining a healthy, fruitful relationship with others?

The Me Generation

It’s all about me.

Your Mentality Choice

You choose your lifestyle. I chose many years ago. It took effort, fortitude and persistence. It was a gradual, long-term process. In the end I am so happy for my choice.

How to Improve Your Marriage

A good starting point to following Torah as a guide is by reading Torah books on the subjects of your interest. When I was starting out I liked to read stories and aggadah. Going to Shiurim / Lectures of Orthodox rabbis or listening to them online is also a good starting or continuing point.

Listening to Torah Lectures

See our links section for more info. TorahAnytime.com is a great source to find out the Torah view or learn Torah lessons on any subject of interest – for instance marriage. I searched it – and they have over 640 lectures on the topic of marriage from a Torah perspective. Find the rabbi that speaks to you. If one does – listen to their lectures. If one does not try another rabbi on the same subject.

The Secret to Shalom Bayit – Peace at Home

I wear many hats – literally & figuratively. I wear a black fedora. Sometimes I wear a fez. Both fit – I was born in fez – where they wear those hats. I went to Yeshiva – where they wear black fedoras.

Over Rosh Hashana – I found myself auctioning the mitzvot of the day at the Synagogue. I told them a story – maybe I’ll relate it in another blog post.

I mentioned a Pirkei Avot (2:7) on Materialism & Torah:

7. He [the Great Sage Hillel] used to say –
more flesh, [leads to] more worms,
more property, more worry;
more women, more sorcery;
more maidservants, more lust;
more servants, more theft;
more Torah, more life;
more Yeshiva, more wisdom;
more counsel, more understanding; more charity, more peace.
One who acquired a good name he acquired it for himself. One who acquired words of Torah acquired life in the next world [ie, a portion in heaven].

I didn’t understand – what is the connection of more charity – with having more peace. At the Rosh HaShana Table – someone said – perhaps by you giving tzedaka / charity to a worthy person – they will have less financial stress and they will have peace at home. I heard that one of the main reasons for divorce or stress in the couple is financial concerns.

The Charity Dilemma

I thought and Hash-m enlightened me with an answer. My rebbe asked me a question – what is better – to give $1000 to one person or $1 to 1000 people? It’s better to do the latter. Giving $1 to a 1000 people trains you to be a giver.

Becoming a Givier

If a person gives tzedaka – he or she becomes a giver. One of the reasons for a lack of Shalom Bayit – peace at home is because we feel we have rights. We are due service. The man comes home – dinner is not ready the house is a mess.

The “taker” will say “Why is dinner not ready?” Why is the house such a mess?

The “giver” will take a broom and start cleaning up. He will go in the kitchen and ask if there is any way he can help.

Be a Giver.

The Hot Pot that Broke the Glass Table Cover – Calming Your Anger

They just installed the glass cover on our table top. Looks nice. I see them install it. Coming home later that day, I see a big crack in the glass. What? The first day we get it?

All is for the Good

Gam zu leTova. Also this is for the good. Perhaps it was a Kapara – an atonement for a deed. This is the lesser bad of two options of atonement.

The Evil Eye

Some will say it is Ayin HaRa / the Evil Eye. If someone sees something and they admire or desire it – they might cause an eventual damage to that object. How? We explained it before – G-d listens to the prayers of people. He also hears the heart of people. If someone wants something that you have – Hash-m pulls out the books of deeds of both people – He judges between them and if the one that lacks the object is more worthy or the one that has the object is unworthy – something happens to the object. Was it Ayin HaRa? Perhaps.

The Hot Pot

I find out someone – it doesn’t matter who – happened to put a very hot pot onto the glass. The tension caused by the heat in the glass caused it to break.

The Physics – A Free Physics Lesson

Heat causes objects to expand. Cold causes things to contract. If one places a Hot object on the glass – the glass heat is expanding the glass. The molecules in the cooler area around it is remaining stable. The expanding area is restrained by the cooler area and it breaks the glass.

A Lesson For Us – Don’t Get Heated Up

We sometimes get into a heated argument. The extreme heat breaks the relationship. It wasn’t worth it for a small matter to break the relationship. How important is the matter to you? Is it important enough to break the relationship? Decide it before the heat breaks the glass. Cool yourself down – don’t add heat to the fire. You won’t have to pay another $250 to replace the glass again or pay for a broken relationship that you will have to rebuild.

4 Types of Temperaments

In Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers 5:11 it says – There are 4 types of people – one gets angry quickly and calms down quickly. One who gets angry slowly and calms down slowly. One who gets angry quickly and takes much time to appease. One who gets angry slowly and is appeased easily. Let’s make efforts to be like the latter.

Rehearse Reaction to Situations that Anger

How? Rehearse in your mind how to react to particular things that anger you. And how to react in general. Count to 10 before you react. Take a glass of water before reacting. Act don’t react. Control Yourself – don’t let anger control you.

 

Why Judaism Treats Women Differently than Men?

I was walking down the street looking for a man to complete the minyan (quorum of 10 Jewish men) needed to recite certain parts of prayer – like Kaddish / the Mourners prayer for the elevation of a soul that departed. I see a man – he’s Jewish. I ask him reluctantly – “Hi sir – can you help us to complete a minyan? Our synagogue is just down the street.” I might have added – someone needs to say Kaddish.

Gathering a Minyan

The woman next to him – apparently his wife – gives an upset look. She says something “You Orthodox Jews differentiate between men and woman!” She was right – but I didn’t have a chance to explain why the Torah differentiates between men and woman – they both walked away with some kind of righteous indignation.

Learning Judaism

I encounter many people like that. They have righteous indignation that I try to offer them a card to help them find meaning & spirituality – by making a connection with Hash-m. Or they outright reject it – apparently they have a fear of becoming closer to G-d. Perhaps I should give them a copy of “The Bible for the Clueless but Curious – Finally, A Guide to Jewish Wisdom for Real People Nachum Braverman. I was perusing it just today. He’s also a co-author of The Death of Cupid. The author has an informal but eloquent – and meaningful righting
I mean writing. Wow I think – it’s the first time I used this strikeout function. OK.

Why People are Reluctant to Follow Judaism

So I understand people – they are reluctant to believe or have a close connection with G-d. Why? Some because they feel it will cramp their lifestyle if they believe. If they believe in G-d – Jews will no longer be able to get a Big Mac. (Hamburger & Cheese is a No no.) Gentiles will no longer be able to eat live animals. (Sorry to mention repugnant things – but some people still do this.) Big loss? I don’t know. I did it. I gave up the peperoni pizza. Nowadays – you have a kosher alternative to almost anything. The Rambam / Maimonides brings 24 reasons – which cause people to avoid Teshuva – Repentance.

The Difference Between Judaism & Other Religions

Some don’t want to believe because they are turned off by religions – that killed millions and keep killing in the name of their religions –  and they stereotype from other religions to Judaism. I hear that – so investigate the difference. The Bible for the Clueless is a good starting point.

Weighing the Losses & the Gains of Judaism.

I was in both worlds – the secular & the observant world – and I find that the benefits greatly out weigh the sacrifices. No more shopping on Shabbat – but a much better relationship with the family. No more eating Big Macs – but a much more spiritually satisfying diet – a Kosher one. They say that non-Kosher food clouds the heart of a Jew. Thus a Jew who eats non-Kosher has a harder time understanding mitzvot than a Kosher eater.

Did I get off tangent? Sorry.

Thanks for Not Making me a Woman

All Jews – men & women – say Morning Blessings daily to thank G-d / Hash-m for all the Good He supplies daily. Like the ability to see, the ability to walk, the gift of clothing, etc. The man’s blessings of the Daily Morning blessings are slightly different than a woman’s. A Woman says “Blessed are You Hash-m … that You made me according to Your Will.” Men say “Blessed are You Hash-m … that You did not make me a Woman.”

Q & A on Woman’s Blessing

You should have 2 questions – one on the woman’s blessing and one on the man’s. The one on the woman’s blessing – “Does that mean that G-d didn’t make the man according to His Will?” One Answer: G-d made a woman more complete than a man – a man has to strive to perfect himself – a woman is closer to where G-d want’s a person to be initially. Apparently, she can grow and she can fall. We all have freedom of choice.

Q & A on Man’s Blessing

The question on the man’s blessing: “Why term it that I am thankful to not be a woman? Since a woman – is closer to the connection with G-d – she has less mitzvot. Mitzvot are  to help a person reach spirituality, spiritual perfection and a closeness to G-d. A man needs a Talit, Tephillin, Lulav, and other external items to become closer to Hash-m. Thus a man has more Mitzvot to become closer to G-d. Thus the man thanks G-d that he did not make him have less Mitzvot – like a woman.

G-d didn’t first create man & woman and say – this would be an appropriate law for them. G-d first created the Torah – then based upon the Torah – he found it appropriate to make a creature called a Man and one called a Woman.

The Error of Society – Not Appreciating Differences in People

I heard in some societies & public schools – they are erasing the gender differences. They say no more boys line or girls line – there is the A line or the B line. It is prohibited in the schools to say “Boy” or “Girl”.

To do what society is doing today – to force a man and a woman to ignore their differences will in the end create confusion and psychological problems. If I can’t appreciate my strengths and weaknesses – so I become like a marshmallow – devoid of form, and purpose and uniqueness. A rabbi said “If one tries to be like someone else – he is not that person and he is not himself – he becomes a non-entity.”

The Torah on the other-hand appreciates the difference between men & and women. It tells a man how he is to talk with his wife – with kindness. It teaches how a man should appreciate his wife – with words & gifts. It teaches how a woman should speak with her husband – with respect – like all people.

Each gender is given their particular laws that suit their psychological and role in the family. These laws bring out their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

Say No to the Marshmallow Movement

Say No to being a Marshmallow!

 

 

What is True Love? – the Torah View

The Foundation of the Torah

Once a Gentile came to Shammai – He said “Convert me to Judaism, if you can teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot.” Shammai – thinking he was mocking him – drove him away with his measuring stick. The gentile came to Hillel. He said “Convert me to Judaism, if you can teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot.” Hillel said “what is hateful to you – don’t do to others – this is the entire Torah. The rest is all details based upon that foundation.” The gentile decided to convert to Judaism.

You Shall Love Your Fellow as Yourself

Rabbi Akiva said – The foundation of the Torah is veahavta lereacha kamokha – “You shall love your fellow like Yourself.”

Reasons Why a Person May Divorce His Wife According to Torah

When discussing Divorce in the Talmud – Rabbi Akiva said a valid reason for divorce is “One can divorce his wife even if she burns his meal.”

His opinion seems contradictory. If one should love his fellow like himself – why should he divorce his wife on such a trivial matter?

The Foundation of Love

Rabbi Akiva reveals a foundation of the Torah that guides a person to live a life of Truth. Rabbi Akiva says that his love for his wife (and his fellow) should be true love. Love based upon the appreciation of the person – not based upon – what do I gain from the person. If burning a meal is enough for someone to get upset and want to divorce his wife because of it – then it is not true love – and if he wants he may divorce his wife.

Fish Love

Once a person said “I Love Fish.” His fellow replied “If you loved fish – you wouldn’t catch it, skin it, cook it and eat it. You just love yourself.” A question to ask is our love based upon a matter or based upon the other. This is what it says in Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers – (Chapter 5:16)

What is Love?

16. All love that is dependent upon a matter – when the matter is nullified the love is nullified. And when it is not dependent upon a matter – it will never be nullified. What is the love that depends upon a matter that is the love Amnon & Tamar. And that that is not dependent on a matter, that is the love of David & Jonathan. [At times the love of someone is really love of self-gratification – like one who says: “I love fish.” If he really loved it he wouldn’t kill it. This is love that is dependent on a matter].

What is True Love

Real love is an appreciation of the person. Many today marry on because they think consciously or unconsciously “what’s in it for me?” If you ask a person – why do you want to marry this person? They will reply “Because I love him or her.” Scratch a little deeper ask “Why do you love this person?” They will say “They make me happy.” That love is based upon what they do for you – not your appreciation of them.

What’s More Important a Good Meal or Respect for Your Spouse, Child or loved one?

When trivial matters annoy you about a person, it means that that trivial matter has in a sense more importance than the respect of the person. If you express anger at your spouse because they burned the meal, it may mean that your eating a good meal is more important to you than the honor, respect or feelings of your spouse.

Let it Go

The wise person, the loving person will say “Let it go.” “It’s OK” “everything doesn’t have to be perfect.” While I was saying this Dvar Torah / Word of Torah at the breakfast Table – someone accidentally spilled my cup of Orange Juice on the Table and in my plate. My immediate thought was to have a reaction – but I realized I was saying a Dvar Torah to forgive others and be accepting of others faults and imperfect acts. So I said calmly “Let’s get some Towels and clean this up.”

You Overlook Your Own Faults – Overlook the Faults of Others

Torah wants a person to have real love for others – as one loves themself. A person overlooks his faults – he should overlook faults of others.

If you want to correct someone – correct them, at the proper time, with the proper voice, in the proper place with love -for them – not anger – because of the slight to you.

King Balak was afraid of the Jews after they killed two giants Sihon & Og. Balak took – the gentile Prophet Bilaam to curse them. Bilaam had one blind eye. An alusion that we too should sometimes close our eyes to the failings of others. If we see their failings – we should ask what can we do to help them – rather than jumping on them for every small detail. Give people room to grow. Give people leeway to make a mistake. Usually mistakes are not done on purpose.

Lack of Self-Serenity Causes Dissatisfaction with Others

Their first two letters of For both Balak and Bilaam are Bet, Lamed. Together they Spell – bilbul – Confusion. The Inability to think or reason in a focused, clear manner. Lack of peace of mind or Confusion causes a person to be unsatisfied. If you have a calm state of mind – it’s easier to control your immediate reactions. If you learn mussar works you are better prepared to deal with stress. Believe it is good and it will be good. Believe Hash-m sends only good – and you’ll see the situation in a positive light.

One Rabbi said that the Hebrew Letters of Balak represent veahavta lereacha kamokh / Love Your Fellow as Yourself. A student said “I don’t understand Balak is spelled with a Bet, Lamed and Kuf – the first letters of the words veahavta lereacha kamokh – are Vav, Lamed, Kaf.” The Rebbe replied – If you love another you will overlook the small mistakes, slights and faults.

 

Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home ABCs – 14 Ideas to Help Save Your Marriage

Little things make a big difference in life – especially to a wife. A Nice word. A little smile. A small gift. A note of thanks. A meaningful moment together.

The Purpose of Marriage

The purpose of marriage is to be able to make a relationship between man & woman who will live a meaningful, loving, satisfying life spiritually and materially. This union – through the guidance of the Torah – helps a couple achieve their purpose in life. When this foundation is understood – it is more likely to thrive and survive.

Kindness

One of the foundations of the Torah is doing Kindness. The world stands upon Kindness. Kindness starts at home. According to Torah, A man is to give a gift to his wife before each Jewish holiday and when he finds something to her liking. It is recommended for him to buy flowers for Shabbat. He must talk with her with respect. He must satisfy her, material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. She is a partner in the marriage. Their couple is one of personal and spiritual growth.

Your own needy & the needy of your city – your needy take precedence. Some are kindly with strangers. Yet, at home they are a tyrant. That is not the Torah way. The Torah way is to give more attention and kindness to those closer to you.

All kind things are recommended by Torah to have at home. Shalom Bayit / peace at home allows a person to live a productive and meaningful life. If peace is at home, children live a more serene, secure, stable and balanced existence – which allows them to have a more balanced personality. If bickering is at home – children are affected negatively. There is no magic cure for Shalom Bayit. Yet there are recommendations.

Learn to Do little Nice things

Help around the house. Take care of fixing something. Say thank you. Say I appreciate all that you do. Appreciation is one of the foundations of Judaism. We are called Yehudim – which comes from the name Yehuda – which comes from the Hebrew word for “giving thanks.” Appreciation can be expressed with word, gifts or action. If you don’t know what to say – leave a note. We – Ohr Binyamin – give out free Judaica cards. Once someone asked me – Do You have a card on Shalom bayit / Peace at Home. I said Yes – “It is called the You are Special Card – read one of the things to show how special you are to your wife every day.”*

Pray to Hash-m for Shalom Bayit

Pray to Hash-m / G-d for Shalom Bayit. He will give you opportunities to have peace. At times divorce may be in order – but discussions with a competent Orthodox rabbi must precede it. Grounds for divorce in Judaism – if a partner is unfaithful or other things. But as mentioned before, a competent Orthodox rabbi should be involved.

Learn About Shalom Bayit

To have Peace at Home one should have a goal to have Peace at Home. Read Jewish books, attend Jewish Classes, see Jewish seminars on the subject of Shalom Bayit. You can do it together or alone. One book I read even before I got married was – the River, the Kettle & The Bird – which is based upon a Gemara / Talmud Tractate in Berakhot. It says that one who dreams of those things will have peace at home. The book explains the entire concept of the 3 different forms of relationships that one can have in marriage. In short 1) a give and take / business-deal relationship, 2) a company employee relationship – you take care of kids – I’ll make the money 3) A single unit relationship – like a bird that soars to the sky and lands on earth – as one unit they soar to spiritual heights.

Learn Torah or Pirkei Avot Together

It is good to have a small learning session together – regularly. It could be 5 minutes daily or bi-weekly. Communication is key to speak together at least 1/2 hour a day.

Send Your Children to an Orthodox Torah Day School

When children are in line – it helps parents to get along. If one parent thinks children should do A – while the other thinks B is more appropriate – it is an tension builder. Torah schools Teach Kivud Av Vaem – Honoring parents, Derech Eretz – proper conduct, Respect of Others, Respect of Elders, Respect of Rabbis. If they are acting properly – it reduces stress & strain.

Be into Self-Improvement

The Torah way is to be better every day. Today I am good. Tomorrow I am better. This is only done through Torah Self improvement works – called Mussar.

Make Torah Your Guide in Life

Orthodox Jews usually have stable marriages. One major reason is they base their life, actions and thoughts on Torah. Torah is a detailed guide of how to live a meaningful, peaceful, productive, purposeful life. Basing one’s life on Torah – will help set foundations for a peaceful home. Shabbat – allows us to enjoy time with the family. The Torah recommends to and commends people to marry. It is a Mitzvah / commandment. The commandment to marry – pushes people to marry and not tarry. The Torah sets peaceful foundations at home.

Don’t Procrastinate

My uncle – a Shachan / Matchmaker – asked an older man why he never got married. He replied “I forgot to.” Statistics show, many Jews outside the Orthodox community are either marrying later or choosing a life of being single. Apparently, one reason is that they view not the importance of marriage as the Torah proposes.

Other reasons may be – they don’t find the right one, they have other priorities, they prefer being single, they don’t want responsibilities involved, they are involved in other things  – like a career, education. When one learns the proper hashkafot / Jewish outlook of marriage – one becomes more interested in tying the knot. Pushing marriage off – without making a serious concerted effort – at least as one would do to find a job – might make it harder later. As a youth – one is more idealistic and set in their ways. There are more opportunities – thus many Orthodox Jews get married younger – to found a family according to the guidance of Torah.

A Compatible Mate

One most important thing in having peace at home is choosing a mate with similar goals, values, mentalities, and aspirations. A statistic that supports  Interracial marriages have a divorce rate of 41% after 10 years while – same race marriage had a divorce rate of 31%.

Choosing the Right Mate – Finding Similarities

We try to choose people as mates that come from a good family and have good character traits. G-d matches people with similar values. If you want a better mate improve yourself. I give that as advice to people. “If you are hanging out at bars, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you attend Torah Lectures / Shiurim, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you study Torah and pray daily, , you will likely marry someone who does the same. Thus if you improve your level of Torah observance – you will likely get a mate that also does the same.”

Do Your Due Diligence

Thus many Orthodox Jews do extensive research on a mate prospect before agreeing to a date. They involve Shadchanim / Matchmakers, Rabbis, Friends of the spouse prospect, roommates & more. They do their homework. They ask about if they have good Middot / charachter traits, are they psychologically stable, are they diligent in studying torah, are they responsible, can they support a family, where is their mindset. If they do their homework – there are less surprises once married. It makes sense – you do your research for buying a car – which may last 10 years – then marriage that is a relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime – homework is in order.

Deal Breaker – Judaism & Good Character Traits

A Jew searching for a marriage mate should have several deal breakers. One of them – their potential spouse should be Jewish – for the reasons mentioned in the article. The second is that the spouse should have good personal character traits / middoth. Good middot make the difference between a peaceful marriage and a stressful one. A person who is learning Torah has an advantage in the sense that they usually adhere to the precepts of the Torah in the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers. But it is not a guarantee.

Avoiding Intermarriage

Jews who marry Jews have a more peaceful marriages than – mixed marriages. According to Torah it is forbidden for a Jew to intermarry – for it causes the children to leave the Torah faith & follow after foreign worship. Statistics show, Most married Jewish parents say they are raising their children as Jewish by religion. Yet, Statistics also show, Intermarried parents much less likely to be raising their children Jewish.

A Jewish woman in a mixed marriage documentary said: “Our marriage was going smoothly until the birth of our baby boy. I was thrilled and wanted to arrange for a Bris (circumcision). But my husband thought I was crazy and said, ‘I won’t allow that …” Egon Mayer, a professor at Brooklyn College who studies interfaith issues and published a study linking intermarriage with higher divorce rates, Children of intermarried couples frequently suffer an identity crisis. “Where do they go? Who do they Identify with? Which holiday should they observe?” Are questions they ask.

If people are already intermarried – the couple should consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi – see OU.org synagogue finder – to see what is involved in converting the gentile / non-Jewish spouse to Torah Judaism. Usually the spouse must agree to a Torah Study program, to Follow laws of Shabbat / the Sabbath, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher and Family Purity Laws. Practical advice for any person who wishes to convert to Judaism – is to seek an Orthodox Rabbi – that know the laws and can guide you to a Beit Din / Jewish Court of Law who will perform a conversion that is accepted by all Orthodox Rabbis. If you are going to do it – do it right.

Conversion to Judaism

I knew a Ger / convert to Judaism who was converted through one Beit Din that was not so reliable and decided to do another conversion – through a more reliable one. His Name was Charlie.

Gentiles who Marry Gentiles

For gentiles, the way they live also affects their mate. If they learn their 7 Noahide Laws from the Torah – they will more likely marry a mate that will do the same.

Judaism & Self Improvement

If each member of the couple has a goal of self improvement – it makes for a better marriage. I want to make the other person happy. I want to make Hash-m happy. Thus I try to be on my best behavior. My goal is to make a peaceful home – not to show that I am right. The best Self-improvement works you will every find are based upon Torah sources. What the world calls self-improvement – we call Mussar.

Do Kindness at home and you will find kindness.

One of the Pillars the world stands upon is kindness.

The Raison d’Etre of the Universe is mentioned in Pirkei Avot 1:2:

2. Shimo’n the righteous was from the remainder of the men of the Great Assembly. He used to say: Upon three things the world stands [ie, its reason for its continued existence]– On the Torah, on the [Divine] Service [ie, prayer or korbanot / offerings on the altar] & on acts of loving kindness.

Make it your goal to do kindness in your world and kindness will come back.

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*We have many cards that can help Shalom Bayit – Like Derech Eretz / Proper Conduct CardThe Gratitude / the Basket of Compliments card, Prayer for Protection of Children & How to Show Your Love & Appreciation, and the Tehillim / Psalms for Shalom Bayit)

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Caveat – we sometimes link to Sefaria.org. Although it is a valuable resource for providing Jewish sources – the site also has works that are contrary to authentic Torah values. Some translations of authentic Torah sources might be suspect as well. The sources we link to are authentic. To not be misguided by false Torah values masquerading as Torah – be wary – on the site itself – to use the sources there that are authentic Torah values.  Here is a list of some of them. 

If you are unsure it is authentic Torah – ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi. Authentic Torah sages & commentators include Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Abarbanel, Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim), Alshich , Avi Ezer, Bartenura on Torah, Bekhor Shor, Birkat Asher on Torah, Chatam Sofer, Chizkuni, Chomat Anakh, Daat Zkenim,
Gur Aryeh, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, Haamek Davar, Kitzur Baal Haturim, Kli Yakar,
Malbim, Minchat Shai, Minei Targuma, Mizrachi, Ohev Ger, Or HaChaim, Paaneach Raza, Penei David, Rabbeinu Bahya, Ralbag Beur HaMilot, Ralbag on Torah, Rashbam,
Recanati on the Torah, Riva, Rosh, Shadal, Siftei Chakhamim, Torah Temimah on Torah, Tur HaAroch, Tzafnat Pa’neach, Tzror HaMor)

 

 

 

Improving Your Dating Resume and Should a Matched Date be Picture-less

Jewish Orthodox singles have the dating process down pat.

Firstly – the reason they date is to find a suitable marriage partner. That is their main goal. This allows for more focused dating. It’s not a matter of courting – like in the general society – but a matter of searching for real answers to questions that you are searching for in a marriage partner. Are they reliable, can they provide for a family, are they mentally stable, do they have Torah values, etc.

This is much different than today’s society. In society – they court the person and then find out if they are a suitable mate for marriage. In Torah Judaism we first determine if they are a suitable mate for marriage – then once all the requirements or preferences fall into place – then it sets up a foundation that the marriage will last. Once common points are found – it is easier for the marriage to last. Similar goals, similar backgrounds, similar mentalities, similar Jewish outlook, similar values make for a better chance of a solid marriage.

We search for a mate that has the criteria we are looking for – Learning Torah all Day or Part time, Open minded, From a particular cultural background, that is a growing individual, that has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook  – the list goes on. So we ask around – friends, rabbis, acquaintances and/or Shachanim / Matchmakers – to find prospects with these critera.

Once a person sounds in the ballpark -the “matchmaker” or intermediary asks both parties if they are interested in exchanging resumes. If yes, they exchange dating resumes.

It is good to have a good intermediary – because they can help make or break the potential couple’s success.

A dating resume is similar to a career resume – it lists schools, employment, goals and references with phone numbers. It also lists siblings & Members of family and to whom they are married or what they are doing in the present.

Should You Include a Picture?

Several points are up to discussion. Should the matchmaker include a picture to send to the potential dating prospect? I am of the opinion that one should not include a picture. A picture tells 1000 words. But it doesn’t necessarily tell the complete picture. Pictures may put a person in a negative light. The portrait may be old or of the person on a bad hair day or in a bad mood or before he or she got braces to straighten their teeth. So I feel if the person is in the ballpark – it is good to give a date a try.

Obviously this is after all the references were called, the pointed questions were asked to references and non-references – like What good character traits / Middot does the person have? What problems or issues does the person have? How is their temper? Can you give me a particular incident or situation that can give me a clearer picture of who this person is? Can you describe their Yireat Shamayim / Fear of Hash-m? their Chesed? Better to ask open questions than for yes or no answers.

Caveats for Your Own Bio or Resume or Self

Know your audience that you are trying to attract – is one of the most important points in making a resume. A woman wants an appealing man and vice versa. It is a Torah recommendation that a person not get married without seeing their mate. This means a person should not get married without seeing their mate. It does not mean they should see a picture before they go out on a date.

If one is including a picture – it should show the person in the best light. With a kind, positive smile. A picture that brings out their positive points. If they have crooked teeth – it might be better to close their mouth or get braces. If they are a bit too casual – perhaps they should consider wearing more elegant or conservative attire – especially on a date. One should look good at every moment – meaning they shouldn’t walk around with a ring of keys on their belt or with their shirts unbuttoned or with spots on their clothes.

You resume should put you in a positive light. It might be good to be romantic – but to include “I am Romantic” on a resume may turn people off – especially if the other person is looking for a Ben Torah / a Torah Learner.

It is good to inform others of your family’s occupations, but some occupations may turn other people off. Not because they look down on the occupation – but because they think what you put as a positive point may be negative in their eyes. An example – Someone put on their resume – My Brother is a Sharp-Shooter for the Israeli Army. It is commendable to be defending your country. But to go into detail that his brother targets people might turn others off.

Get a Dating Resume Critique from a person who has Daat Torah – like a dating Coach that is a Ben Torah. Show your resume to a good friend to see if they have any recommendations for improvement.

Your Acts Generate Attitudes Towards You

People are on the lookout for deficiencies. Although that might not be the best attitude – it is an attitude out there. So if they see you eating a Felafel walking down the street with a beer in your hand – that will most likely portray a certain attitude.

Look at the Entire Picture

No one is perfect – Except Hash-m – so expect that there may be things about a date prospect that may not please you . Perhaps they are a bit heavy – people can lose weight. They have spaces in their teeth – a person can get braces. Know what is a primary requirement and secondary priority. See what can be changed and what is hard wired. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Evaluate the entire person – not just the things that you find unfavourable. Look at the good in others – it’s a positive trait for life.

Don’t Let Your Tears Go to Waste on Others

Babies cry. Adults cry. A baby cries when hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable or in pain. An adult cries more often because of emotional pain.

Although the gates of prayer were locked, the gates of tears remain open (see Talmud :Berachot 32b) . Thus we have another way to get our prayers answered. Tears.

What happens? A person needs a shoulder to cry upon. They relieve their hearts of their burdens by speaking with another individual or to Hash-m. They relieve their burden, but they forget to ask for salvation.

Yes – tell your troubles to Hash-m. But don’t stop there. Cry out & pray to Hash-m for what you need. “Hash-m give me strength, patience & wisdom to deal with this class of rowdy students.” “Hash-m, please help me to find the best job to support my family in a dignified manner that will also let me dedicate time to learning Torah.”

Use your tears to improve your lot. Don’t use them to destroy someone else’s lot. You might be angry at another that brought you to tears. You have a choice to pray for their detriment or for your uplift. Pray for your uplift. G-d will listen.

You gain not by someone’s downfall. You do gain from your uplift. Use your emotional pain to thrust your tefilot / prayers to heaven.

Be specific in your prayers. Don’t just say Hashem – find me a mate. Pray, please Hash-m find me a mate that has good middot / character traits, from a good family, that learns Torah & will be able to support a family by the end of the month. You fill in your requirements.

Even tears of gratitude, or just verbal gratitude to Hash-m, should be accompanied by prayer. Once you say thank you – you insinuate that you are satisfied with the outcome. Ask for more benedictions, even when you say thank you.

G-d will turn your tears of pain into tears of joy. Amen.

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Just like with a simple face to face conversation, you find out good things and where a person’s head is – so is true by social media. Two aspects to consider are your own usage in the eyes of others and the usage of a prospective mate in your eyes.

Relying on Photos – a Caveat

Today it is easy to get information on people. Some people hear of a prospect match and reject dates because of a photo. That may not be prudent because meeting a person gives a much more accurate idea of the person. Also the picture you see may not be a good picture of that person.

Some peruse pictures – searching for a match. It much is more lucrative to call Rabbis to seek someone that has similar hashkafot / Torah outlook and values, good middot / character traits, and aspirations – than to waste time perusing photos. You marry a personality not a picture.

Are You a FB Person

Whether the person uses Facebook or not already gives an indication about the person. Non usage may indicate their refraining from technology to avoid temptation or being involved in things more productive or in more productive relations with actual people – rather than with a computer screen.

It might be better to avoid social media – like it says in Pirkei Avot (1:17):

The Value of Silence & Action

17. Shimo’n, his son, says: All my life I grew among the [Torah] sages & I found nothing better for the body than silence. And that learning is not the priority rather it is the [putting it to] action [that is the priority] & whoever who is excessive in words brings [upon themselves] transgression.

It’s not for nothing that people take the fifth in court.

Be careful what you post.
Usage of social media reveals people’s views and personality.  A person’s home page pictures reveals their interests. I know people who lost Job and shidduch / potential matches opportunities because of what they posted on the social media.  Over-usage of social media also tells about a person.  People might think – doesn’t this person have better things to do than posting constantly their political views, selfies, etc. Be careful what you post. It might come back against the person.

Some have to give their opinions on every news item. If that’s you,  then it might be time to do a self evaluation of your attitude and your posts – and work on improving both. Perhaps in expressing your opinions, people are forming a non-flattering opinion about you. If one has a very critical attitude – people might shy away from introducing you to others. People shy away from critical people. If one’s hashkafot – Torah outlook – are controversial – that also may also be a turn off for prospective mates with a good hashkafa.

Relevance of information.
The time of the post might also help you to decide how relevant is info. For instance if you see a post from a person’s teenage years – it may or may not reveal what their interests are today.

Make a small effort to start the momentum to find a marriage mate.  Each call becomes easier.

When Hashem sees us making a concerted and consistent effort – obviously accompanied by prayer – He sends his blessing.

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Follow this page for Previous Getting Married Advice Posts – Fast Track to Jewish Marriage

Save Your Marriage – 4 things to Do to Save or Improve any Marriage

You have to give credit where credit is due. Thus I must confess that the suggestions to improve any marriage are from a book called “Garden of Peace” by Rabbi Shalom Arusch. He writes one version for Men and one version for women. Each version is geared to teaching what the other spouse needs.

But some advice [that I must also try to apply more often myself] is what I learned over the years from learning Torah.

So yes – if you apply these rules you can save thousands of dollars [of marriage counselling fees]- and possibly your marriage.

First For Men:
To have a successful marriage – understand that your wife wants your appreciation. So the main things that you can do to make her happy are – Say thank you for what she does many times a day. Give gifts to show your appreciation.

Secondly don’t criticize condemn or complain. A woman is called a help mate – know that she can help you become a better person. She is focused on that issue – so what you think is nagging and screaming is an opportunity for you to become better. “Why do you leave your books lying around?!” You can either think – oh no she is criticizing me again or wow this is an opportunity to become better and to be more concerned for my living environment and the others around me. She is attuned to your emotional and spiritual growth.

Don’t treat your wife as your psychologist or therapist. Don’t downgrade yourself in her eyes. She might get the impression that you deserve this lack of respect that you told her that you received from the boss.

Go to Shaharit / Morning prayer services at an orthodox synagogue everyday before you go to work.  A woman who sees her husband lying in bed when she is awake may get a negative impression of her husband. Don’t talk too much with her – that might also lower her esteem for you.

Many men will find fault with the woman. It becomes a shouting match. A big no no! Because you can’t win an argument with a woman. She will either be insulted and you gain nothing. Or she will get you back one day.

A woman wants things to be taken care of. she wants to feel that the husband is responsible and taking care of things. Thus if she asks to do something around the houlse make sure it gets done. If you have to hire someone – fine but get it done.

The idea of a marriage in Torah is to bring up a wholesome family that respects one another, other people and G-d. This is done through following Torah. If a woman can help you be a better person – you should be thankful – not resentful.

For Women
A man wants respect. He needs to feel that you are on the same team – not trying to break or outdo him or use him as your cleaning lady. Obviously he must help around the house – but the things he does should be respectful. Talk with respect – not with anger and condescending remarks or threats.

Mutual respect is what the Torah wants from both from you. Your acting with respect to your husband will prompt him to act with more respect to you.

Part of the idea of marriage in Torah is to have a positive relation where one completes the other. One helps the other. Together they raise children that are beautiful people in the eyes of man and G-d. Thus The wife should encourage her husband to learn Torah. She should also enroll her children in a Torah day schoool . This is how she assures that the next generation will be respectful and serve G-d. He example will also serve as a lesson to children to act with respect.

The Torah is the greatest guide for self-improvement. It teaches a person to act with respect and kindness. Thus encouraging the husband and bringning kids to Orthodox Torah day schools – will engender a more peaceful and loving home. For that – her husband will become greater and appreciate her more for that.