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 Sound of the Shofar – The Morse Code Message

I heard this story from Rabbi Farhi of the Safra Synagogue in Manhattan.

A rabbi sounded the shofar / the rams horn for a group of people apparently for Rosh Hashana. Among them was a Sefardic Israeli man, muscular built, no yarmulke. He heard the sound and burst into tears.

The rabbi asked him why are you so emotional when you heard the Shofar?

The Morse Code Specialist

The man told him that in the Israeli Army he was a Morse code specialist. After traveling the world – looking for meaning – he saw a help-wanted ad in the newspaper for a Morse Code specialist. He had to arrive for the interview process – between 10 am – 12 pm. He arrived at about 11:50. The waiting room was full of applicants. He sat listening to the background music. He got up and walked to the interview room. People yelled – hey, wait in line we were here before you. He burst into the room.

After some time the interviewer came out and said – “Thank you for all coming but we found our candidate for the position. You may all go home now.”

“What? All that waiting for nothing” they thought. “And the hutzpa of this guy to burst into the room before us.”

The man explained to the rabbi how he got the job. In the waiting room they played background music. The man realized that the beat to the song was a Morse code message. It said “Anyone who hears this enter into the interview room.” Thus he heard the message from the beat. There was a message behind the music.

The Message Behind the Music

“When I heard the Shofar the sound resonated in me. It was a message that penetrated my heart telling me to do Tehuva – it resonated deep into my soul – and I burst out crying.”

Our Daily Messages

We hear Hash-m’s / G-d’s messages in the background daily – the observant listens and reacts. We see the beauty of the world, the beauty of our children, the blessings we have – does it resonate or do we ignore the message?

It’s our choice.

The Yield Sign & Judaism

The Shabbat / Sabbath between Rosh Hashana / the New Year & Yom Kippur / the day of atonement is called Shabbat Shuva. The Shabbat of Return.

Hash-m gives us Seven days between Rosh Hashana & Kippur to fix our faults for that day of the year. What does G-d want from us? If we didn’t put on Tephillin, we start putting it on. If we didn’t go to synagogue on time – we try to come on time. Hash-m basically wants us to advance one step further. Take the next Mitzvah upon yourself.

Balance of Good & Evil for Freedom of Choice

In this world – evil & good exist. They balance each other out. G-d did this to allow a person full freedom of choice. One can do miraculous deeds through purity – and one can do magical deeds through impurity – black magic. If only good had the power to do miraculous deeds – people would abandon evil. If only people who did good would become wealthy – people would become good – but not for the right reasons. They would be good to become rich – not because Hash-m told them to do good.

The Quick Fall

The Jews they were prompted to do the sin of the golden calf – attributing divine powers to a physical object – because the Satan / Evil Force showed them that their leader Moshe Rabeinu / Moses was deceased. They were so despondent they fell quickly to follow after a foreign idol.

A person can fall two ways – the Evil Inclination introduces anti-ethical and anti-Torah ideas little by little. Thus he chips away at a person’s morality – until he or she falls.

Another way is for a person to become despondent and fall very quickly to do evil deeds.

The Quick Rise

On the other side of the coin – a person can rise very quickly. He can become very inspired or motivated to follow Torah ideals.

Or little by little – through learning Torah, Listening to Torah lectures, attending Torah classes at an Orthodox synagogue – he or she grows slowly.

The Steady Path of Self Improvement and Self Growth

Either method to rise is good. Yet the Torah prefers a person to rise slowly. This helps a person stay the course and continue in a steady path of growth.

Yielding to others (Being Mevater) – for things that go not against Torah is a good thing. We yield to others at times – to create peace. We yield our will to the will of Hash-m – that’s how we grow. Like it says in Pirkei Avot (2:4) – on Doing the Will of Hash·m:

He [Raban Gamliel] used to say, make His [G·d’s / Hash·m’s] will as your will in order that He will make your will as His will. Nullify your will before His will in order that He will nullify the will of others because of your will.

God gives us a tremendous opportunity. Let’s use it to grow.

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.

 

The Faster Computer – Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the CPU

I won the auction. The computer’s chip was twice as fast as mine. It had twice the memory. It had a powerful graphics card. Wow.

I bring it home and turn it on. The fan spins a bit then stops. My uncle who sees it says to replace the computer motherboard. So I say ok – let me use some of the parts. The memory does not fit my old computer. The chip also. At least the graphics card will work in my computer. I test it and find my graphics card to be faster.

Yes – I saw glory. A faster computer. But it just ended up as a waste of time.

OK. So what can I learn? Sometimes we covet something that belongs to someone else. We think – If I have it, I will be happy. It turns out that your own situation is better than what you imagined.

In Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers 4:1 it says “Who is the rich person – the one who is happy with what he has.”

It also says in Pirkei Avot 2:7 “The more possessions – more worries.”

OK. I’ll be happy with my good old Dell Desktop computer.

“The American Dream” – Will it Really Make You Happy? or Two Things that Really Make You Happy

Does American Dream Bring Happiness?

We were discussing “The American Dream” – Buy a House, a Car and Live there with Family – at the Shabbat Table. Sounds attractive. It’s good to have a house. It’s good to have a car. It’s good to have a family. Will they make you happy?

What You Do with What You Have Makes You Happy

Perhaps. But we mentioned previously that it is not necessarily what you have that makes you happy – it is what you do with what you have that gives you satisfaction. If someone does acts of kindness with their car – carpool, drives kids to pick apples or peaches, drives an old woman to do shopping – the kindness makes you happy – not owning the car or the house.

The Secret to True Happiness / Your Soul is the Source of Your Satisfaction

Why? Because we are in essence a soul that seeks a relationship with the creator – Hash-m. The soul wants to do the will of G-d. When we do – we become closer to him – that gives our soul satisfaction.

Simple.

Dwelling in Israel Makes You Happy

In Last week’s Parasha / Weekly Torah Reading – Ki Tavo it says “VeHaya Ki Tavo El Haaretz”. “Behold when you come to the Land.” In Hebrew grammar there is a Vav HaHipuch. The letter Vav in front of a word – usually means “and”. Sometimes the Vav changes the past to the future. Haya – means “it was” (past) – VeHaya means “it will be” (future). The word Vehaya starting a verse – usually refers to happiness. Why Because we want the past to be in the future – that’s when one is happy. When will someone be Happy – ki tavo el haaretz / when you go to the land – Israel. When a person settles in the land of Israel – they attain a higher level of happiness.

The Soul’s Connection to Israel – Connecting to Happiness

Why? One reason is Apparently because souls come through Israel before entering the body. So when a person goes to Israel – the soul feels a connection to its place of origin. Also Israel is a holy place – the soul feels comfortable in a place of holiness. There are other reasons as well.

Torah Study Makes You Happy

Further in the Parasha it says : “And you will rejoice with all the Good that G-d gave you …” Some Commentators – like the Baal Haturim explains that the word HaTov / the good refers to Torah. The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh – says that if a person would know the satisfaction of learning Torah –  he would become astounded to the sweetness it brings. Torah Study makes you happy. We can understand the reason being similar to the reason above. Torah gives the soul spiritual satisfaction and a closer connection to Hash-m.

Gratitude to the One Who Gives

This week’s parasha – Ki Tavo – talks of the first fruits / Bikurim. Farmers bring the first fruits that blossom – of the 7 species special to Eretz Yisrael / the Land of Israel – to the Beit HaMikdash / the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim / Jerusalem.

He says a text and he gives the fruits to the Cohen. The rich people who would bring fancy baskets of gold and silver – the Cohen would return the basket. Yet the Cohen would not return the baskets – made of reeds – of the poor people. Why?

  1. The poor people worked hard to make the basket – Hash-m appreciates the hard work of the common man for a Mitzvah.
  2. The poor people – may have put the best fruits on top and the lesser quality fruits on the bottom – thus we didn’t want to embarrass him by taking out the fruits.
  3. The Cohen was sending a message that I’ll take this basket – so that, with the help of G-d – you will return next year with a gold basket.

The Mitzvah of first fruits is to show that all that we have we owe our first and foremost gratitude to Hash-m. We also do the redemption of first born boys and first born animals showing our gratitude that all we have is a Gift from G-d.

Composing Yourself at Stop Signs

You are in a rush. You’re traveling down the big boulevard – encountering a series of non-synchronized stoplights.

You now consider the Yellow light to mean – “speed up” instead of “slow down”.  Not prudent – but you are late.

The stop lights in life allow us to recompose our thoughts. We may treat it as a minor annoyance – but stopping in traffic or in an elevator gives us opportunities to calm down – to think of new plans – to call in to the office to say we are running late. Perhaps we hit a snag in life – it may be a message – to rethink your attitude towards the situation.

Don’t lose your composure based on the situation. Hash-m wants us to be in control – not the situation to control us.

It is not worth it to arrive 5 minutes earlier if it entails endangering people.

Use these moments to rethink the situation – perhaps G-d wants you to stop and think.

Waste Two Minutes – Get Rejected – Save Two Hours or Get a “No” – Get Up and Go.

People Hate Rejection

People think – “If I am Rejected – it is a reflection on me.” Possible – because people usually buy from who they like. So good sales people are personal sales people. A good sales person looks at the interest of the client and tries to fulfill that need. It is demand pull not sales push.

OK – you didn’t make the sale. Perhaps the person couldn’t afford a $40,000 car. That’s not a reflection on you – that you are unworthy. It is that this person didn’t have the income to afford – that kind of car. Don’t take it out on yourself.

Does No mean No?

Rabbi Yiyzi Greenman has a seminar. He says “No” does not mean No. It means No for now. Maybe a “No” means “at this time I cannot commit” but ask me later.

So if you get a “no” – get up and go.

Perhaps rejection for an item you were selling is not a reflection on you but – What about if a person rejected you as a potential spouse? Is that a reflection on you? Possible. Perhaps you have some self improvement to do – go out and buy your Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers and better yourself.

But sometimes it is two great people that don’t go together.

In the Torah world – people take dating seriously. Meaning their main concern is finding if the person is a suitable mate for marriage. They treat dating like a long term bond. They have resumes and references.

People call references just as if one one would call those of a potential employee. They don’t go out to have a dead end relationship. Once a Yeshiva Boy – learning Torah – was of marriageable age. He had a “friend” among his references – that apparently was jealous – that spread negative information to those seeking him as potential mate for their daughter.

Upset – he asked his rabbi – why his “friend” was doing this. He responded “It takes a lot of time, and energy to date – Perhaps – Hash-m doesn’t want you to take the time to date so you may concentrate on your Torah studies.” A short time later – he found a suitable marriage mate – that didn’t call that “friend”.

The rejections of his potential mates saved him much valuable time.

Rushed to Avoid Doing Good

I’m in a rush. I don’t have time to take to walk over to that poor person to give him a quarter or so. I am in that rushed state of mind and don’t notice that the bus I’m taking is not stopping at this stop today.

At times we are rushed and avoid doing good or thinking out if a decision is good according to Torah or not. In the end – we lose – time, money, whatever. It happens to me – what can I do. I write to help others – and myself – learn from my mistakes.

Do Good – Save Time

Don’t be Left Out from doing good. Strengthen yourself and do the good and save your time in this world and the next. You don’t lose by doing a mitzvah in this world – this time is saved for your reward in the next world.

Love that Daily Email. Let Me Unsubscribe.

I was getting an interesting daily email. It wrote the headlines of news in Israel. I would look for it & peruse through it several minutes a day.

So I cancelled it.

I figured I could be spending my time more productively. minutes become hours – hours become days.

Spend your time wisely – money comes – money goes – time just goes – it doesn’t come back.