The Enemy Between You & Your Spouse (or Friend)

I was listening to a shiur / Lecture of Rabbi Meir Eliyahu (in Hebrew) on the subject of Improving Personal Character traits (הרב מאיר אליהו | תיקון המידות שלך | משכן יהודה – התשפ״ב) . He talked about a small pamphlet he picked up in Florida on Kiruv / to motivate a person to do teshuva. He said the pamphlet talked about Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t know the story. But apparently – Alice ate a mushroom. Then she fell asleep. When she woke up – she saw a cat. The cat asked her “Where do you want to go? – right or left.” She responded “I don’t know.” The cat then said to her “If you don’t know where you want to go – any path will get you there.”

That was the message – that if a person has no goal, or objective in life he or she will follow any path and apparently get to no where special. If a person has goals – it will help them to achieve in life.

The Torah provides many mitzvot (commandments) for Jews (613 commandments) and Non-Jews. (7 Noahaide Laws). These laws allow a person to achieve several things – a pleasant life – the ways of Torah are ways of pleasantness. A life of connection to oneself, to others and G-d. A life of meaning. A life that has purpose and where one achieves purpose. Rabbi Eliyahu mentions that in a Sefer / of the Vilna Gaon – he says that the purpose of life is to break one’s character traits. If a person is an angry person – G-d wants him or her to become a more calm person. If they are stingy – they are to work on becoming more generous.

My Rebbe used to say – a person’s mind should control his heart – not the other way around. The way of Torah is of Peace.

So now you know. Your goal – break those bad character traits. Assure peace in the Home. Try to act pleasant.

Rabbi Eliyahu said that one who yields to the will of others (in things not against Torah) will live longer. It makes logical sense – because he or she will let things slide, let it pass, not take it personally – and live a less stressful life. But also Has-m will grant the person a longer life. In the Zohar – Rav Krospedai died. He, a great scholar, told the heavenly court – he was cut off in the prime of his life, he had much more correcting to do. He wanted to come back in the same body. They granted him his wish. Why? Because he was Maavir al Midotav – he “passed over his character traits” – ie, he let things go. He held no grudges. He forgave and forgot.

Ok – so where is that enemy?

The Torah teaches us of our greatest enemy. It is an enemy that wants our destruction in this world and the next. He is the snake. He is that voice in your head – telling you “don’t take that from your spouse”, “answer them back”, “put them back in their place” and the such to create quarrel – not peace. We call it the “Yetzer HaRa'” / the evil inclination.

Everyone has one. The greater the person the greater the Yetzer. Before this entity was a physical snake. When Hava / Eve and Adam ate from the tree of Knowledge it became ingrained in her and him.

So now you have an enemy – the Yetzer HaRa. Your wife has the same enemy – the Yetzer HaRa’. Think of this – let’s say you had an acquaintance that was a family acquaintance. He or she would come to your house. When your wife would have a qualm – they would rile her up and add fuel to the fire. When you were upset – they would do the same to you to escalate the heated exchange to higher heights.

The smart person would not get angry at their spouse. They would kick that acquaintance out of the house. Your new option – don’t get back at your spouse – kick the Yetzer HaRa’ out of the house – your mind. He/She instigates – you cool things down. He tells you get angry – you think “If I answer her/him back – I will not have peace for 10 hours. (or more) I might as well swallow my pride and do something more productive with my time.”

Hash-m also gave us the Yetzer HaTov – Good inclination – telling you “calm down”, “be patient”, “this will also pass”, “say something to calm things down”, “create peace”.The idea is to listen to the Yetzer HaTov – not the Yetzer HaRa’.

Do it for a more peaceful existence. And Remember to learn Mussar – Jewish ethical works like Pirkei Avot – and your headed on the right path.

 

 

 

Dear Rabbi – Why Can’t I Find Love?

People Love You

People Love You.

Look Around. Your Father. Your Mother.

You Should Love Yourself.

Hash-m / G-d Loves You.

He Love’s You More than You Can Imagine.

Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?

But Apparently the Question is – Let me Rephrase it –  “Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?”

I hear once that a man has 7 potential mates that are his soulmate. One is called his Bashert – the one that will help him the most to reach his potential in his Torah and Mitzvot and Avodat Hash-m/ Service of G-d.

Personally, it took me about 10 years to find my soul mate. I started in a home with a traditional lifestyle. Observing Shabbat, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher, going to Orthodox Shul on Shabbat. Torah was good to learn. I had my period of movies, discoteque, bars, dancing and the like – while I was traditional. Slowly I became more Shabbat Observant. I became more Kosher and started placing more emphasis on learning Torah – meaning making it a regular part of my daily life.

When I decided to go to a Yeshiva to learn Torah – I met my soul mate.

Reinforcing Yourself in Torah Spirituality

Apparently, Hash-m waited for me to reach a certain level of Torah observance for me to meet my bashert. That was my path. Others follow different paths.

But I do recommend a person strengthen their Torah Judaism before getting married – to get a mate that has their main focus on family growth through Torah – than going to ball games and fancy vacations.

Why Torah?

Torah is the word of Hash-m.

Torah will Bring You What You want to Be – Yourself.

Torah will Bring You Where You want to Be – Your Potential.

That act of Torah growth might be the clincher that Hash-m awaits.

But then again there are many people who have achieved significant growth and are still looking for love.

Not Finding – What to Look For – the Proper Criteria

What is their solution?

Apparently is to have proper criteria – to search someone from a good family, that has good character traits / middot, that will raise a family in Torah & mitzvot, that will send their children to a Torah day school, that will appreciate growth in Torah.

But once that is in order – now what?

Find someone that you can get along with. That you can talk to. Someone that you feel shares your values, goals and interests spiritually and materially.

I know of people who were on the verge of getting married – wedding invitations sent – and broke up last minute. Why? They realized that they had different goals. G-d sometimes allows a person to meets someone to learn something from them – but they are not in their ballpark of getting married. Perhaps the mate is too materialistic – but has a positive outlook in life. Or they act kindly – but have bad character traits.

Don’t Be Surprised

Do your research before you get married. Don’t be surprised after marriage.

I heard the divorce rate in the Jewish Torah community is around 10% as opposed to 50% in the secular world. Why? Apparently one reason is their method – they do research on the potential mate before meeting them. They treat dating as seriously as one would search for a key employee in their company. They get resumes, call references, call friends, family rabbis, school teachers – the works. Then if all is in order they decide to date. More research – less surprises latter on.

What is Love? Defining Love

Before finding love or anything for that matter – define what is love. Love is appreciation of the other for what they are and not for what you can get from them. The love of “this guy or girl can get me a diamond ring” or “will impress my friends” and the like is not love it is “self-interest” which can quickly come to an end when the significant other doesn’t produce. See Pirke Avot – or search for “fish love” on this site.

Robust Design – Good Middot

I studied quality assurance in university. One aspect of quality in product quality is called “Robust Design”. A long time ago – for my consulting company called mc2 – (mc squared) – I wrote a paper explaining 114 ways for a company to improve its quality. Number 53 sates:

53) Use Robust Designs – this is a method of designing products that allow for variations in parts without decreasing performance.

Many quality concepts can be used to improve an individual. We use Mussar / ethical works – like Pirkei Avot – but apparently you can also learn from quality assurance to become a better quality individual. A person with good middot will let things pass. They won’t demand control, materialism, respect, or other things. They will yield / be mevater. That is similar to robust design. Take shock absorbers they function to allow a car to hit a pothole without breaking the wheel. A person could take example – allowing slights to themselves without breaking the relationship.

Searching for worked on People

Meaning search for good middot.

Finding a person that you can appreciate helps you to find love. If what you discover from the partner turns you off – it might mean that your initial choice was not a best choice. Or maybe it was and G-d gave you a challenging mate to help you become a better person.

How to Write – the Right Answer

Some write and give you the answer to your question in the first paragraph. Some will give you an intro to allow you to absorb concepts before you get your answer. Here is one answer to the question:

Why Can’t I Find Love?

I was recently at a Jewish wedding – where we make Seven blessings for the newlywed couple. The rabbi said a beautiful Dvar Torah / Torah word on Marriage. He said in the Sheva Berachot / Seven blessings we make – the fifth and sixth blessing (In Talmud Tractate : Ketuvot 8a) are:

The fifth blessing is: Bring great joy to these loving friends, as You gave joy to Your creations in Eden in ancient times. Blessed are You, Lord, Who brings joy to the groom and bride.

 

The sixth blessing is: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has created joy and gladness, groom and bride, delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and friendship. Soon, Lord our God, may there be heard in the cities of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride, the joyous sound of grooms from their wedding canopy and of young people from their feast of song (see Jeremiah 33:11). Blessed are You, Lord, Who makes the groom rejoice with the bride.

Friendship in Marriage

He said that the fifth blessing starts with friendship and the sixth ends with friendship. He mentioned that the blessings express a progression in the relationship of the couple. First It calls their relationship – “loving friends.” The relationship progresses from being loving friends to joy and gladness, then to groom and bride, on to delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and reaches its peak at friendship.

The Torah that expresses the essence of a thing – calls the pinnacle of a couple – friendship.

So? It teaches us that one’s spouse – to be a successful marriage – is also to be their best friend. If their is no friendship – apparently more work needs to be done to achieve the proper attitude in marriage.

Another major point is – sometimes I suggest a potential mate to a person. Some answer – “No – I can’t marry them – they are my friend.” Perhaps they are giving me a nice answer to say they are not interested. But if their lack of interest is really because “they are friends” – that is exactly what the Torah considers as the foundation for a successful marriage. I then express that “I think that good friends make good marriage partners.” Unfortunately – it usually falls on deaf ears. Unfortunately many remain single till today.

I criticize not. I just think that a person should widen the scope of their considerations once the basics are met – as mentioned above.

Hash-m Guides the World

To help a person find the right mate – one should pour out their heart to Hash-m expressing their desire to build a beautiful Jewish home. And beseech Him to help you find the right mate to achieve your goal.

G-d’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye. Believe and G-d will help you achieve.

In the synagogue today – I found a pamphlet named “NO LONGER ALONE” from Breslev – that mentioned several things a person can do (accompanied by sincere prayer) if they are having difficulty in finding a mate:

 

1. Recite the Torah reading of the Nessiim / Jewish princes (Numbers 7:1 through 7:89) and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes.

Take to heart the advice of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “A person who finds it difficult to get married should recite regularly the passage of the offerings of the princes of Israel.”

and/or

2. Read The paragraphs on the splitting of the sea / Az Yashir Moshe (Exodus 15:1-15:19.)  daily and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes. It mentions:

Every morning in the Shacharit prayer, we recite “Az Yashir,” the song that the Jews sang at the Splitting of the Red Sea. When you say this
poem, read it with intense feeling. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said, “A person who is having trouble finding his marriage partner should recite ‘Az Yashir’ with great feeling.”
When you recite this song, imagine that you
are standing at the Red Sea at the time of the
splitting, and that in gratitude to G-d for this
miracle you begin to sing to Him.

The Zohar praises this song, saying, “Az Yashir
is greater than all other songs. The Zohar also
points out the mystical depth of “Az Yashir” in its
statement, “This song was woven of the twenty-
two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, corresponds
to the Ten Commandments, and expresses G-d’s
holy Names.”
Therefore, sing this song to G-d daily as though
you are standing among all the Jews at the Splitting
of the Red Sea. At that time, our Rabbis: say, “G-d’s
presence was revealed in the aspect of a young
man, so to speak. Then, “the righteous women
were the first to become aware of His presence.”
Recite this song exactly as though you are
now standing at the Red Sea shore. Then
you will merit to find your marriage partner.

and/or

3. Sincere Prayer -pray with an outpouring and sicnere heart to Hashem.

My dear sons and daughters! Please be
strict with yourself and pray to G-d every
day. The worth which prayer is accorded in
heaven is unsurpassed, and beyond human
comprehension.
In particular, when a person cries, his
penetrates all veils and shatters all walls. Our
Rabbis say, “The Gates of Tears are never locked.”60
The Tanach testifies that Hannah “prayed at
length’ “( I Samuel 1:10.) for a son, whom she was granted. Our Rabbis conclude, “From here we see that whoever prays extensively is answered.”
Again, our Rabbis state, “The prayer of
righteous people is comparable to a hind. Just as
a hind’s horns continue to split as long as the
hind is alive, so also, as long as righteous people
pray, their prayers are heard.”(. Yoma 29a.)

A couple more points – a person should not pray for a particular person to marry. He or she should pray that Hash-m finds them the best mate for them in Hash-ms eyes that will help them to reach their potential in serving Hash-m.

Once we were about to buy a house. I agreed on the price with the seller. I signed all the papers. I delivered the papers to the seller’s lawyer. My lawyer and his lawyer had a disagreement – and the deal was off. Shortly afterwards we found a much better house for a similar price.

Have faith in Hash-m, pray, make your effort and He will help you.

Food Prices Flying – Dealing With it the Jewish Way

Prices are flying. Eggs – someone told me – doubled their price. Good for you vegans. But for the non-vegans – what to do? Become vegan?

It seems like one of the prophesies of the time of Machiach is revealing itself – wine will be expensive.

Save? Hoard? Go on a diet?

The wisdom of Torah is greater than other wisdoms. Other wisdoms will tell you what to do from logic and point of view of the physical world. The Torah will explain what to do taking into account the metaphysical and spiritual world.

We explained before that – there is a physical nature in the world. A spiritual nature also exists. Do good – get good back. What goes around comes around is a Torah concept. It’s called Midah Keneged Midah.

Want to get – give. Want G-d to be generous – be generous with others.

Think of it. It is 180 degrees from what one would expect. If you only think of the physical world – it makes sense to reduce your spending on others. Torah it tells you do opposite. Spend for charity. Spend for the poor. You need two things also. Faith in Hash-m. Belief in the concepts of the Torah.

Obvious you are not obligated to go overboard. 10 percent to 20 percent of one’s income is the recommended average and maximum giving for for charity. What is spent for shabbat, Torah education and yom Tov is not included. Meaning if in Heaven they declared he or she would get 100K that year. They will get it. But if he is going to spend 20K for Shabbat and 40K for Orthodox Torah Day Yeshivas – he will receive $160K.

But let’s bring it down to be able to understand this concept on the physical or material plane. I told some people – an accountant or a bookkeeper should not be a company President or CEO. Why? Because if the company loses money – their obvious advice will be to reduce spending, use cheaper materials, cut corners.

The Marketing people will say – spend more for marketing, for salesmen, for better quality products, invest in new products. Spend more. Making less? Spend more.

If a person is losing money – check out his tzedaka giving. Obviously you should know what is charity. Someone will say good – I will give 10% to animal rights. Tzedaka has a very specific definition. It is for worthy, needy  people according to Torah, for Torah causes, for hachnassat Kallah – for helping to pay for a Kosher (not just the food) wedding for a couple in need.

 

What a Single Person Needs to Know to Get and (a married person to) Stay Married

I know many singles . Some Older. Some Younger.

I am sure they went on dates.

Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know.

The Dating Purpose

Firstly, When I would date – it would be strictly to determine if the person before me would be suitable to spend my life and raise my kids with. My intention was not to have a good time, pass some enjoyable moments together and then somewhere down the line see if we could tie the knot or not.

No the date is not like a job interview. It is a date to find out about the person who is in front of you. It is a platonic date to see if you share similar attitudes, Torah values, hashkafot / outlook, mentalities and more. Obviously it is not an intellectual exercise – but a pleasant way to honestly know if you are fit for one another.

The Dating Attitude

I’ll tell you my attitude – I don’t know if it is right or wrong.

When matched with a potential mate for marriage I would take the proposition seriously. I wouldn’t brush it off. Sometimes G-d introduces you to a person not for you to get marriage – but to learn how to better yourself. Obviously G-d doesn’t want to waste your time – provided if you yourself don’t want to waste your time either by dead end relationships.

G-d wants you married – so the people who are proposed to me are probably in the ballpark of marriage material.

I did have certain criteria. The girl would have to be from a similar cultural & Jewish  background – because similar mentalities make for a better marriage in general – so I think. In my case I wanted a Moroccan, Torah Observant Jewish Girl , that came from a good family and has good character traits (Middot) that would appreciate someone who learns Torah regularly.

So this is the attitude that I am unsure about. In general, I would try to go out with the girl until she would reject me. Unless I saw that it was totally off, I would try to continue dating until it became obvious to one of us it would not work out for marriage.

Even though in the back of my mind I thought “Who would ever reject me!?” It did happen more frequently than I would have imagined. Once I was about to marry a girl. I gave her a ring. She called me that evening and said can we see each other tomorrow. I said sure. When we met – she explained nicely that she didn’t think it would work out and gave me back the ring. No. I wasn’t devastated.

My reason for the attitude was that I knew that it is Hash-m is in control and He will help me marry the right one. The rejection was not a devastation – but G-d telling me – there is someone more suitable for me.

Obviously you have to have the proper criteria in place and discuss those criteria with a competent Orthodox Rabbi to get Daat / Guidance of Torah. But once those are in place an the person is in the ballpark – so go ahead.

In Judaism we have this concept that brings the validity to the term Soul mates. There is a soul. It is split in two – a male part and a female part. They enter two separate bodies – a male and a female. Marriage is the bringing back together of these souls that are in 2 different bodies. One reason the Torah forbids intermarriage between a Jew & a Gentile is because a marriage of souls that don’t match don’t achieve their purpose in life. Another reason is that a gentile mate might turn the children away from Hash-m / G-d and the Torah. Also it causes confusion in the children.

Recently I read that the Divorce rate among Orthodox Jews is about 10% while the Divorce rate of Intermarried couples is over 40%.

But back to the subject.

Improve Yourself Get a Better Mate

I give this advice to Jewish singles. Before you get married – reinforce yourself in Torah & Mitzvot. The more your raise yourself spiritually and in terms of middot / character traits the better mate you will merit. A man may want to chose a woman that is higher level in Torah than himself. Although men can influence woman to raise their spiritual strivings – usually a woman influences a man more than vice versa. A woman can bring up or down.

There is a story about a pious man who was married to a pious woman. They had no children. They divorced. He went and married a wicked woman. She made him wicked. She went and married a wicked man and made him righteous. To teach you that a woman influences the spirituality of the spouse more than vice versa.

Staying married

If a person has a particular attitude it may lead to an unsuccessful marriage. The attitude is “You are here to serve me.” It might reveal itself in several forms. I want you to clean the house. I want you to make the money. I am the one you should please. You are here as an object for my happiness. The attitude to marital problems.

So what is the proper attitude – Let’s serve Hash-m together. Let’s bring up a healthy family following Torah & Mitzvot. Let me do all that I can to make my wife or husband happy. I want to do things that make my mate happy. I want to spend time with them. I want to connect. I want to have peace. I must be humble.

Here are some messages I heard from Rabbis:

Attraction is Not Primary

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l – has a book on Shidduchim / matchmaking. They asked him how important is attraction. He said something to the effect – that it is secondary. I would add that as long as the person is not repulsive to you – or their looks pushes you away – it is not a reason to reject someone.

Rabbi Kanievsky wrote about Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home:

ובספר “אורחות יושר” (למרן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א) כתב: “…ובאמת כל המריבות בבתים ושאין שלום בית שמצוי מאד בזמנינו רובן ככולן באין ע”י גאוה ואם כל אחד היה מחזיק בענוה ולא היה איכפת לו על כבודו ועל גאותו היה רוב המחלוקות מסתדרים בשלום דוק ותשכח שהענוה אמיתית היא רפואה בדוקה ואמיתי לרוב הבעיות שיש בזמנינו והשי”ת יערה עלינו רוח טהרה ממרום שנזכה לענוה אמיתית”.

And in the book “Orchot Yosher” (by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) he wrote: “… and really all The quarrels in the houses and the lack of peace in a house that is very common in our time, most of them are due to Pride. and if everyone held humility and did not care about his dignity and pride, he would settle Most disputes with peace. and forgotten is that true humility is proven medicine to most of the problems that exist in our time and Hash-mת May He be Blessed, shine upon us a spirit of purity from on High that we will merit to achieve true humility. “

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – on torahanytime.com he mentions that most times when couples come to see him – they say the same thing. The wife complains the husband doesn’t love her. The husband thinks that love is bringing the money home. She says “My father pays my bills also.” Love is establishing a true connection together.

The basis of the Torah is to help a person establish a connection between family, friends, oneself and Hash-m. Like R. Akiva said “VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha” – You shall love your fellow like yourself is a foundation of the Torah.

Rabbi Yosef Palacchi on torahanytime.com brings the Pele Yoetz – a sefer book on great Torah advice – talks about having a strong love for one’s mate.

Here is a quote from the Yanuka – Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri in a Recent issue of Ami Magazine (ISSUE 564, AMI MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 2022, 12 NISAN 5782)

MESSAGES FOR BNEI CHUTZ LAARETZ
Again, Reb Yanky taps me on the shoulder, so I finish by asking the Yenuka for a message for the Jews in America. Throughout our conversation, Rav Shlomo Yehudah has emphasized the importance of achdus (unity) and harmony. This is something that comes through in his learning, too: he is fluent in a wide variety of limudim (Torah learning), from the writings of the Gaon through the Tanya and even Rebbe Nachman, and often tries to harmonize their teachings. The Yenuka continues now with his message of shalom (peace) and unity, saying, “People should try to look out for each other. People should help each other in business as well as in other areas.

I stress this more for bnei chutz laaretz because they live among non-Jews. The main thing is to lift your eyes toward the heavens and connect to Hashem.” Rav Shlomo Yehudah is quiet for a moment and then adds another message.

“There is a problem with shidduchim (matchmaking) today. I don’t think the hashkafah (Jewish outlook) of a boy and a girl have to be exactly lined up. For example, I am a grandchild of the Arizal and my wife is a granddaughter of the Kedushat Levi. Of course, there are gedarim (boundaries) if he wants to live a certain lifestyle and she doesn’t, then it won’t work-but it shouldn’t matter if a girl is a little more chasidic than a bachur, (young man) or if he adheres
to teachings of the Gaon and she enjoys Tanya,” the Yenuka says with a smile.
“The important thing in shidduchim is that they get along and have free-flowing conversations. If two people don’t have an easy time conversing, there is no future. An easy and comfortable feeling and flowing conversation are the things that
count.”

The Yenuka was married at 20 years of age and today has a son and three daughters. “Bachurim should get married at 18,” he says. “Waiting around creates an unnecessary nisayon (ethical trial). Some say that a bachur should get married later, that he should first learn for several years without distractions. This is only correct in a few select cas-
es. I have read the same from Ray Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. Most boys learn just
as well when they are married. There are those matmidim who learn yomam valay-
lah, and for them, learning for longer as a bachur is beneficial. For all others, it can
cause harm.”

A Secret to Save a Marriage on the Rocks

Many years ago, I spoke with a man who was in the process of divorce. He had some kind of argument and he mentioned the word “Divorce.” The woman didn’t take kindly to it. The woman changed her attitude from one of tolerance to one of vengeance. One word triggered her.

Is Divorce always the man’s fault? I think that a man can usually save a marriage. Is it his fault? His wife also does damage. That could also be the man’s fault because he could have did more research or soul searching before he married his wife. He could have looked into how she deals with people (and vice versa) and made a decision with his mind rather than his heart or desires.

A man recently wrote a book on the subject. The article about is is called “This is How your Marriage Ends.” He mentions some of the concepts above.

A man is usually less insulted by slights than a woman. So taking a slight to his honor – may be easier for him than a slight to woman. Also they get insulted in different ways. A woman considers a man who does not consider her needs – as a slight – even if he said nothing. If the man does nothing – it is not nothing. A man who wants to save or maintain his marriage is obligated to help around the house.

A man who answers the question on a date for marriage – will you help around the house – with a snide remark, or a hesitating yes or a not really – is starting off on the wrong foot.

A man who seeks to feel where the woman is coming from is starting on the right foot. Even though a man may consider trivial what a woman considers as important. He should understand that like a child is so upset for a candy that he or she did not get – it behooves him to take seriously her wants and needs – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Yaakov / Jacob Avinu spends much time convincing his wives that it was time to leave their father’s house and go to Israel. Until they felt it in their hearts – he kept on explaining.

Empathy and feeling for a wife’s challenges will help a man maintain a healthy marriage. This can be done by understanding her. He can repeat what she says like – if she says “I had a hard day at work.” He can say “You look like you had a hard day today.” so that she will feel that the husband understands where she is coming from. Parroting words – while including feeling her travails with your heart – will reinforce a marriage.

Let her insults slide off you. Don’t respond to her insults with yours. You are interested in calming the situation. The person who is in emotional control has the upper hand. Your goal is not to win a fight or to show your right. Your goal is to have peace at home.

We mentioned in another article that – having peace with a wife is a positive Torah commandment. A wise man will think “Is it better for me to respond to her insult? or is it better to refrain and accomplish a positive commandment from the Torah

If You Go in My Statutes – Making a 180 on a Ship / You’re Closer to Torah than You Think

Im Behukotai Telechu / If you go in my statutes. Last week’s Parasha / weekly Torah reading was – Behukotai. Behukotai / My statutes – Rashi says is “Learning Torah” because the next part of the verse says “and if you will observe my Mitzvot”. The next verse says – if you do so – you will get rain in the proper time and other blessings.

So we list that of primary importance first – First Torah learning, then observing Mitzvot. Obviously both are necessary. Another question is why does it says – telechu /you will go? It should say learn my statutes. Apparently there is a message to improve daily – not to remain stagnant. Some people are the same that they were 20 years ago. The Torah wants us to be better every day.

What are statutes? statutes are laws that are seemingly incomprehensible. So why does the Torah use these words for learning Torah? A question of Rabbi Yisrael Salantar.

Rabbi Solomonovich explained in a recent Dvar Torah / Torah speech – that Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch said that – a Hok / statute comes from the word Hek / bosom – denoting something close to the heart. He mentions that to one person something may be incomprehensible one but beloved by others.

He gave the example of an American person going to Europe. He hears that over  billion people are watching the “World Cup” soccer match. He asks “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Then a European person comes to the United States and hears that hundred’s of millions of people are watching the “Super Bowl” American football game. He says to himself “Don’t these people have better things to do with their time than watching people kick a ball into goal?”

Both don’t understand the other’s appreciation of the game. Yet they understand the appreciation of their own country’s favorite sport.

Similarly to an outsider coming into the Beit Midrash / House of Torah study – they ask “what are these people doing here studying?” Do they want to become Rabbis? The outsider does not understand why people study Torah. But the insider understands that it brings light to their soul. It helps them connect to others and to G-d. It helps them to grow spiritually and to connect to real Spirituality – meaning becoming closer to the creator of the world – Hash-m. 

A Jew is closer to spirituality than they might think. They may think that approaching orthodox Torah Judaism is far from them – yet it is not.

Once a couple was having a Jewish wedding on a boat in Paris – on the Seine River. The boat rode off onto the river. They were about to have the wedding. The Rabbi asked who are the witnesses for the wedding. In order for the wedding to take place two Kosher witnesses are required – they must not gamble, they must be Shomer Shabbat / Observant of Shabbat according to the Jewish code of law / the Shulchan Aruch and be male. One witness fit the description, the other did not. He searched the ship to find someone else to be a Kosher witness. He did not find one. He had an idea. He asked someone he trusted if he was willing to accept to become “Shomer Shabbat”. The man was hesitant. He explained “If the the couple does not have two Kosher witnesses – they will not be able to be married.” The man agreed to become Shomer Shabbat to allow them to get married.

A Jew is closer to Torah than one might think.

6 Rules for Good Relations – With Spouse, Kids & Friends

I walked in to the Inauguration Reception for HaChaim VeHashalom Beit Midrash / House of [Torah] Study. I see a Rabbi that I faintly recognize. It was Rabbi Bousu – the Grandson of the Baba Sali. He was discussing the subject of “Shalom Bayit” with some men. I listen in. “It is a positive commandment from the Torah to have peace with your spouse! It’s not enough to just do some kind things to her. You should try to assure that she is happy. If she is happy you will be happy. Think of ways to make her happy. Pray to find things and Do things to make her happy. If you do so you will have success!” said Rabbi Bousu. He mentioned why a person will have success in business, materially, spiritually and learning Torah. “Because where there is peace – the Shechina [Divine Presence] dwells. Where the Shechina dwells there is success.

I asked him the source : He said it was in Sefer Chareidim. I looked it up – but was not able to find the source he said. But I tried to figure out what it was on my one. This is what I found:

סֵפֶר חֲרֵדִים – פֶּרֶק ד – מ”ו
[תְּהִלִּים פֶּרֶק-לד-טו] סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ: – ‫דְּאוֹרָיְתָא‬‫ הִיא‬ ‫דַּאֲפִלּוּ‬ ‫בִּשְׁעַת‬ ‫מִלְחָמָה‬ ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫י‬ת’‬ ‫לְהַקְדִּים ‬‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬ ‫ {דְּבָרִים כ:י} כִּי-תִּקְרַב אֶל-עִיר לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם: ‫וּמִנָּאֶה‬ ‫סְמָ”ג‬ ‫בְּמִצְוַת‬ ‫עָשָׂה‬‫ וְכָל‬ מָקוֹם ‫שֶׁיֵּשׁ‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬ ‫אֵין‬ ‫הַשָּׂטָן‬ ‫יָכוֹל‬ ‫לְקַטְרֵג‬ ‫שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר‬‫ [הוֹשֵׁעַ ד:יז]  חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרַיִם הַנַּח-לוֹ: ‫צִוָּה‬ ‫הקב”ה‬ ‫לִמְחוֹת ‬‫שְׁמוֹ‬ ‫הַגָּדוֹל‬ ‫שֶׁנִּכְתַּב‬ ‫בְּקָדוֹשׁ’‬ ‫עַל‬ ‫הַמַּיִם‬ ‫לָשִׂים‬ ‫שָׁלוֹם‬‫ בֵּין‬ ‫אִישׁ‬ ‫לְאִשְׁתּוֹ‬ ‫וְהָרוֹצֶה‬ ‫לִזְכּוֹת‬ ‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫זוֹ‬ ‫יִזְהָר ‬‫בְּמִצְוָה‬ ‫אַחֶרֶת‬ ‫וְהוּא [אָבוֹת א:ג]‬ ‫וֶהֱוֵי דָּן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת ‫תָּמִיד‪,‬‬‫מִמִּנְיָן‬ ‫תרי”ג‬ ‫‪:‬‬

Sefer Haredi – Chapter 4 – 46.
[Psalms Chapter 34:15] Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it: It is a Torah Commandment that even during the time of war Hash-m commanded to start off by offering peace as it says “When you approach to a city to battle it – call out for peace.” (Devarim/Deut 20:10) And the Smag [Sefer Mitzvot Gedolot] counts this as Positive [Torah] commandments. And any place that there is peace – the Satan cannot accuse – as it says: [Hosea 4:17] Ephraim joined to idols – let him be: [Athough they were sinning – G-d said let them be – because they maintained peaceful relations] The Holy One Blessed Be He commanded to erase His Great Name written in Holiness with water [in Sota Ritual] to place peace between a man and his wife. And one who wants to merit this mitzvah – should be careful of another Mitzvah [Pirkei Avot 1: 3] “And judge every man favorably” [lit, on a scale of merit] always – from the count of 613 Mitzvot.

Rule # 1 – Be proactive in pursuing peace – meaning be yielding – seeking peace not arguments.

Rule # 2 – Judge people favorably

I heard and interview with Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – z”l. In an interview he was asked “What is the most important thing that one should do for a healthy family?” His answer: Give them time.

The children want to connect with the parents and the spouses also want to. The greatest detriment to this is : Technology. My family wants to connect – instead I am on my cell phone, computer, watching videos. A big turn-off. They want to connect and you would rather connect with that video or whatsapp message.

Rule # 3 – Search for ways to make others happy.

Rule # 4. Give them time and be there for them.

Rule # 5 – Help out and Be present.

Rabbi Eliyahu Benhaim – said “Better than giving your wife a diamond ring – offer her to do the dishes.”

Rule # 6 – Be happy. Smile and make others happy.

Show a Bright face not a sad face. A face is part of the public domain – don’t “damage” people with your scour.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky on Shidduchim / Matchmaking

This Sefer from Artscroll Publishers clarifies Daat Torah / the Torah Opinion on Shidduchim / Matchmaking. A person who has questions about a whether accepting a shidduch / potential match suggestion or not may be better off consulting Daat Torah from a Gadol / great Rabbi than relying on one’s own preferences. I heard many stories of people who listened to Daat Torah – over their own preferences – and they ended up in a happy marriage. May it be the will of Hash-m to help all those searching for their Bashert / destined one or Zivug / match find the right mate soon. Amen.

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We mourn the loss of Gadol HaDor / Great Rabbi of the Generation Rav Chaim Kanievsky. We are at a loss of the words for the tremendous loss to the Jewish people as a whole and the individual families of Klal Yisrael. He was a source of Daat Torah, Wisdom, Beauty & Kindness. We will surely miss him.

The Separate Wedding – Do Good for Yourself & the Dead

A Kosher phone. Kosher food. Kosher thoughts.

In Torah we – are careful what we ingest. Vegans & Vegetarians are careful because they don’t want to hurt animals. We eat Kosher – that is careful not to hurt animals – in the sense that animals are slaughtered without feeling pain. But in Kosher food – we also refrain from hurting our souls.

We do not eat non-kosher not because it is not healthy. Non kosher food may be very healthy. We do not eat it because we are concerned with our souls. Non-kosher food is detrimental to our souls. The Torah wants us to be refined. Eating an unrefined animal may cause us to acquire some of the unrefined characteristics of that animal.

When we have a wedding we make sure the food is Kosher for the guests. But more than that we are careful to not to cause things detrimental to the soul of others. In Torah-observant weddings there is music, dancing, food and holiness.

The bride and groom are entering into holy matrimony. One of the ways we keep this wedding holy is to separate the men and the women. We hold dancing separately as to not cause promiscuity and incite improper thoughts among the guests.

The sages say that having a separate-dancing wedding helps the couple. It brings holiness to the couple’s relationship. It prevents them from having problems later in life.

If you think of it it makes sense having separate dancing at a wedding & Bar Mitzvah. For the bar mitzvah – we celebrate the boy becoming a man – being responsible to observe the Mitzvot of Hash-m. Yes dance. But to dance mixed is to turn a meaningful event into a disco. That’s inappropriate. The same applies to the wedding. Why turn a holy event into a cheap discotheque?

Torah says that the departed relatives of the bride and the groom attend a kosher wedding. Let them enjoy the wedding.

His Soul is Bound with His Soul – How to Connect with People in Judaism

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Yehuda was pleading before the ruler of Egypt (Parasha Vayigash). Tzafenat Paneach (who was actually Yehuda’s Brother Yosef) wanted to take Yehuda’s brother, Binyamin, as a slave. Yehuda, son of Leah, was ready to give his life in this world and the next to save his brother from same father – Yaakov / Jacob – but another mother – Rachel. He told the ruler – you cannot take my brother. If you do so his elderly father will be brought down to the grave – he says:

And now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us; . (Bereshit 44:30)

The Torah tells you the essence of all. Here the Torah teaches the definition of Love. The text says in Hebrew “Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho” – “and his soul is connected with his soul.” Targum Yonathan (the Aramaic translation of the Torah) translates Keshura – bound or connected as haviva – beloved. Meaning he translates that “And His Soul is Beloved like His Soul”

Thus Love is equated to connection.

Rabbi Nechemia Grama spoke about the subject of Connecting with children entitled – Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho.

He asked for a one word definition of love. The response was “Connection.” He made a distinction between fulfilling a child’s physical needs – and the child’s soul’s needs.

He asked children What is the difference between their mother and their live in cleaning lady?

One child said “The cleaning lady gets paid to clean the house. My mother doesn’t”

Another “You can fire the cleaning lady – you can’t fire my mother.”

The point is that – children need to feel the relationship.

If a child that thinks his mother is an alternate cleaning lady – it may mean that his mother (or father) may be lacking in the connection department. A child should know and feel that their parents love them.

Soul Connection

When we make a physical connection between objects there are two parts. When we connect with another person – what are we connecting with? We are connecting one soul with another soul.

One Question he asked was “Why does a child do nothing significant in the first 5 years of life?” You feed them, you carry them, you play with them – but they accomplish little or nothing. He explained that one reason is to give a parent opportunities to connect with the child those 5 years.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe says a 3 month child can distinguish between a smiling look and angry look. Who knows what is more important to a child – is it the food that you give to them or the orat hapanim (illumination of the face) – connection that you give to them. it is clear a child that grows without the orot hapanim – is like a plant without sunlight.

Is Connection more important than food?

He told a story of children survivors after Holocaust. In the freedom camps there were many starving children standing on a long line. One American soldier was giving out chocolate to children. Kids waited patiently in line for their portion of chocolate.
Another soldier saw a kid passing, called him over to him and gave them a hug. The entire line of children went off the chocolate line and went on the hugging line.

How to connect

The rabbi mentioned that it is not the activity that causes connection. There are some activities that are more apt to cause connections – but it is not the activity – it is the interaction. Thus any activity can be used to create a connection.

He mentioned that a woman used to put the coat on her child just like she would put it on a coat rack. Then she started using the opportunity to connect with her child.

Suffering Loneliness

A person can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely or empty. The lack of connection causes loneliness or emptiness.

Certain problems can be caused by this lack of connection. He mentioned fear, lack of self esteem, lack of self-value, lack of sense of security, lack of calmness, and other concerns.

Connection Benefits

A child that is connected will want to be an eved hashem / Servant of G-d. How do we develop a ratzon / will to be an eved hashem? Rabbi Chaim Friedlander explains how to achieve it – Only if we can make a kesher hanafshi / Soul Connection. The kesher hanafshi with rebbi – will make a person want to learn. The parent who has a connection – the child will naturally want to make parent happy.